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Tradition is a way to preserve past values and ceremonies that are still significant today. Holding onto traditions will never go away, especially when the tradition is a big life event itself. A wedding is a tradition found in countless cultures worldwide, with each culture containing its unique subset of traditions for a wedding.

Like anything in life, weddings follow a formula. Western weddings can all tend to follow similar formulas. The ceremony, the types of locations, and the procession of events can all be quite similar because they are rooted in tradition. Recently, there has been an increased interest in breaking away from tradition. Some people have expressed a desire to embrace the possibilities that come from stepping away from tradition. To them, it is about creating a wedding that is uniquely representative of the couple getting married.

Understand Why You Want a Non-traditional Wedding

Traditions represent something deeper in cultures and communities. Like weddings around the world, western weddings have specific elements, and these elements have a history to them. While it may not be a priest or a pastor every time, most western weddings still have a wedding officiator. Choosing to opt-out of having a priest or pastor officiate is already taking a step away from tradition. Why do couples choose to opt-out of this tradition? Maybe the couple is not religious, or maybe each individual practices a separate religion. Either way, a couple chooses not to participate in a particular wedding tradition because it does not represent them.

Before planning a non-traditional wedding, it is necessary to understand why you do not want to follow the tradition as a couple. What elements of a traditional wedding do not represent you or your future spouse? It is beneficial to understand why you feel that urge to be different, rather than simply wanting to be different without a clear vision of what you really want. By understanding which specific traditional elements do not match up with you and your future spouse, you can begin to deconstruct those traditions and construct them anew.

4 Traditional Wedding Elements to Change

The significant components of a wedding consist of the location, the timeline of events, the attire, and the food. These four elements tend to follow specific formulas. Locations tend to be either churches or event venues. The timeline of a wedding tends to be similar at each wedding. First comes the ceremony, with the reception to follow. Wedding attire is typically the same from one wedding to another wedding, with slight individual variations. Even the food served at weddings tends to be the same. You should look at these four elements and decide what it is about them with which you do not align. This is an excellent way to begin deconstructing tradition to plan a wedding that best represents you and your future spouse.

Look at Non-Traditional Wedding Venues or Locations

Your wedding venue sets the tone of the entire wedding. If you want a whole new take on a wedding, switching up the location or venue is a perfect place to start. Find inspiration from your interests and your relationship to select the perfect non-traditional location.

Think of your significant other’s passions, like art or movies. Instead of a church or traditional wedding hall, consider an art gallery, museum, movie theater, library, greenhouse, or a warehouse. The possibilities are endless once you break away from the traditional restrictions of what qualifies as a wedding venue.

Think About Shaking Up the Timeline

Guests arrive, bride and groom have their first look, the ceremony begins, a cocktail hour follows, and on it goes. That is usually the sequence of events for a traditional western wedding. You do not have to follow that formula. Instead of having the cocktail after the ceremony, have it beforehand. Instead of having an evening or afternoon wedding, have a morning wedding. Switch up cocktail hour with mimosas and brunch. The way your wedding plays out is entirely up to you. Highlight the moments you care about most in the order you desire.

Get Creative with the Attire

It gets more and more common for brides to wear non-white dresses on their wedding day. The groom can wear a more creative take on the classic tux. Do not switch up your attire alone. Give your guests a chance to be creative as well. Come up with a fun theme that gives guests the space to have fun with their outfits. You should take your non-traditional wedding venue into consideration and adjust your big day outfit to fit the tone. Wear a dress or outfit that represents you and your partner as you walk down the aisle. Have your guests dress up in their non-traditional attire to show their love and support.

It’s All About the Food

Whether or not you do a traditional wedding, food is always a vital element of the celebration. It is common to have buffets or prepared plates during the dining portion of a wedding. By now, you have chosen to forego a traditional wedding. When it comes to the food, be creative with the kinds of food you serve and the way the food is presented.

Instead of the classic chicken or steak dish, you can serve catering from your favorite local restaurant. Instead of a buffet, you can have food trucks. The dining portion of your celebration can be a potluck or a classic cookout. You do not have to stick to the traditional wedding cake. Instead of a traditional wedding cake, have a cupcake display, cotton candy, or funnel cake. The point is to have fun and express yourself because your wedding is about celebrating you and your partner.

Plan Your Wedding at Windows on the Water

At Windows on the Water, we recognize that your wedding location is a focal point of one of the most important days of your life. We understand the significance of selecting the perfect location that best represents you and your partner. Our beautiful lakeside grounds will be the perfect backdrop for your wedding. We offer open-air and tent weddings, and our wedding packages are customizable to fit your non-traditional wedding needs. Our expert wedding planners have years of experience planning weddings. They will guide you through the process and help you create the wedding of your dreams.

For more information, call (609) 208-9475 or fill out our contact form.