Ever find yourself at a wedding and wondering why the heck the bride's family has to sit on one side and the groom's family on the other? Or why the bride's perfectly airbrushed face is covered with a veil?
Weddings are full of traditions that are outdated, inexplicable and simply odd. We live in a time when everyone wants to be different. But our weddings all look the same and feel as though they belong in the 1920s.
I've been working as a professional bridesmaid for over a year and a half.
“Professional bridesmaid” isn't a nickname I slapped on because I'm "always the bridesmaid" for my dear friends. It's my job. Strangers, from all over the country, hire me to be their bridesmaid.
After sashaying down the aisle and spending a few hundred hours on the phone with over 40 brides last year, I found myself surrounded -- or should I say -- haunted by some pretty bizarre wedding traditions.
I worked with a bride once who insisted that her guest throw rice as her and her new hubby exit the ceremony. When I asked her why she wanted to hold on to that old chestnut so dearly, she simply replied, “It's tradition, and when you want your wedding to go perfectly, you do what others have done again and again so well.”
Weddings shouldn't be perfect. They should be personal. They should be filled with things that have meaning, and those things shouldn't be the same as what your great-grandparents did at their own wedding shindig.
It's time to kick the old-school traditions to the curb. Wondering which ones you should cross off your wedding list ASAP? Here are eight that I give you the A-OK to wave goodbye to.
Not seeing each other before the wedding
Back in the day of arranged marriages, people believed it was bad luck if the bride and groom saw each other before the ceremony. People thought that if they locked eyes before walking down the aisle, they would change their minds and run for the hills.
Nowadays, why should we wait for the first look to be in front of 350 guests? Wedding planners and photographers beg couples to do their first look ahead of time. Why's that? Logistics. If they see each other before the wedding, that means they can get a couple hundred photos together before all the guests arrive and start smooching them hello.
Tossing the bouquet
In the 14th century (anything from the 14th century should long be retired by now), there was a myth that anything the bride touched was lucky. So all the wedding guests would chase after her and tear off a piece of her dress as a good luck charm.
That tradition stopped once brides met Vera Wang and started taking out loans to fund their white gowns. So the tradition morphed into guests just trying to get their hands on the brides' bouquet, in hopes of being the next one to say “I do."
I've caught the bouquet 12 times, and my Tinder account is still very active.
Wearing a veil
This one dates back to Roman times. It was said that when a veil helped brides fight off evil spirits. I don't think wearing a veil these days will prevent your ex-boyfriend from 2 years ago from showing up to crash your ceremony or keep your great-aunt Bertha from blurting out something embarrassing during your vows because her hearing aid is turned off and she doesn't realize she's screaming.
Do away with what looks like a beekeeping hat hanging over your face and instead opt for something more modern -- a headband or a hair clip. As a bride, you spend a lot of dollars paying to get your face airbrushed and fake eyelashes glued to your eyelid. Why hide your wedding glam look for even 20 minutes?
The bride's family shelling out cash for the wedding
This tradition goes back to the days of dowries -- bet that's a word you haven't heard in a very long time. But since the topic of money has a fun way of getting everyone's panties in a twist, just know that the bride's family is no longer responsible for picking up the check. When it comes to who is paying for the party of a lifetime, the bill can be grabbed by both the bride and groom's family, or just the bride and the groom themselves.
Thinking it has to be diamond
Not a huge fan of diamonds? You don't have to get a diamond engagement ring. The whole idea of diamonds being forever was just a giant marketing campaign put on by De Beers diamonds in the 1940s. Before that, brides just wore rings -- sometimes with small locks on them -- indicating that they belonged to their husbands.
So if diamonds aren't your thing, don't feel bad about not saying yes to the stone. If you want a ring (don't get one with a lock … please), you can pick a different kind of stone, like your birthstone, or something that means more to you than what you've been told for centuries means love.
Giving out wedding favors
You're putting on the party of a lifetime. One that will cost you more money than you probably have in your bank account. That alone is the party favor.
If you insist on paying for favors, you'll probably find yourself shelling out a couple hundred bucks on individual packages of coffee beans or bottle openers that most people will be too drunk, too full or too tired to grab on their way home.
Wearing a white dress
You know how people say you shouldn't wear white after Labor Day? Well, maybe you shouldn't wear a white dress to your wedding, either.
The tradition is solely based on brides wearing the color as a symbol of their purity. But times have changed and whether you're walking down the aisle as a virgin or not shouldn't be anyone's business.
You can go bright and bold with your wedding dress color. Wedding dress designers now make dresses that are ombre, pink, black, and blue as alternatives to "virgin white."
When else does a group of adult friends coordinate outfits? It's uncomfortable, limiting and also a little bit strange. Last year I had to wear a purple polyester dress as a bridesmaid and alongside five other women wearing the exact same thing. We looked like we were in a show choir or as extras in a Broadway musical. We didn't look like strong, independent women who have different personalities, thoughts and styles.
The reason for bridesmaids matching goes back to Roman times and those pesky evil spirits again. A party of 10 people who matched the bride and groom was supposed to somehow scare off the demons. The only thing a matching group of bridesmaids is going to scare off these days is your friends from wanting to be a part of your wedding.
Your bridesmaids will love you even more if you don't make them match and even if you let them pick out the dress themselves. You know what they say? Happy bridesmaid, happy bride.