Image: One Love Photo


I have expanded this blog into a website that deals with similar themes (Balance, Beauty, Balls!), but addresses life beyond wedding planning. Click HERE to check it out. See you soon!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

#82: What is your relationship to tradition?

When I say wedding traditions what do you think of? What pre-wedding activities come to mind? What does a traditional ceremony feel like? What happens at a traditional wedding reception?

Now...what was your emotional response to these traditions? Did they make you feel excited, comforted, ambivalent, or like you were two seconds from puking? What I'm really trying to ask is: What is your relationship to tradition?

Here's another exercise that will help you carve out an answer: check out's definition of tradition below and be aware of which one grabs you.


1. the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, esp. by word of mouth or by practice: a story that has come down to us by popular tradition.
2. something that is handed down: the traditions of the Eskimos.
3. a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting: The rebellious students wanted to break with tradition.
4. a continuing pattern of culture beliefs or practices.
5. a customary or characteristic method or manner: The winner took a victory lap in the usual track tradition.

Like I said, which one grabs you? Which one creates the biggest emotional response?

These are important questions to ask yourself because wedding planning is the process of picking, choosing, honoring and challenging the traditions of your family and culture.

I'm not here to argue which traditions you should follow, or which you should throw out and why. But as a person whose peers are shocked by her old-fashioned ways (What?! You don't drink or smoke or use curse words beyond the occasional "ass", or have pre-marital bow-chicka-wow-wow with Brian??), and whose church community finds her surprisingly liberal and radical (What?! You support gay marriage?? And you don't think Obama and Oprah have an evil anti-Christian agenda??), I've spent a lifetime weighing which traditions are meaningful to me and which aren't. And this practice of ongoing reflection enabled me to design and enjoy my incredibly meaningful and so-perfect-my-heart-almost-burst wedding ceremony. (Remember the awful time I had during our reception? Well, the ceremony totally offset that snag in the day. Hands down. Thank God.)

So all I'm trying to say is that I advocate reflection on what is meaningful to you and why. Because your wedding is not a competition to see how unique and non-conformist you can be, or how your day stacks up to millions of other fancy parties and white dresses that have gone before you. Your wedding is about finding meaning, making meaning, and feeling joy and gratitude as a result of it all.

I'd love to hear which wedding traditions you are upholding and why they are meaningful to you. Which ones are you scrapping? Which traditions are you tweaking and how?

Photo credit


  1. As you know, I'm currently obsessing over the white dress issue, which barely counts as a tradition it's so new.

    We have cut out: bridesmaids, groomsmen, the giving away of the bride, cutting of and smashing of cake, garter and bouquet toss, fresh flowers, dance party, marriage in a church, premarital abstinence, hiding from the groom before the ceremony.

    We cut them out basically because they did not add anything special or meaningful to us. I find morning snuggles and morning shower to be one of the calmest and safest-feeling times of the day (shy of bedtime snuggles at night), so I didn't want to give that up on a day when I know I will be feeling nervous.

    We are keeping: the flower girl and ring bearer, ceremony readings (that will include readings about marriage equality), love, the kiss, the license, witnesses, food, games, dessert, invitations.

    I had to pad that list a bit because we scrapped a lot of the traditional elements. Tony gets the willies at the thought of a traditional wedding. His first wedding was a big church wedding followed by a big, fancy country club dinner-and-dancing reception that made him feel uncomfortable. Our goal this time was to put together a wedding that felt like us and not like weddings in general.

  2. holla! I love your ring and your reason for choosing it.

  3. Good for you, Sarah! I can't wait to see how your honest, brave, and low-key wedding turns out!

    (Umm...secretly hoping that you post All of your photos. Ahem. Hehe.)


Babbling about weddings is so much more fun when people babble back. :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails