The wonderful thing about wedding traditions is that they don’t have to be traditional – couples can alter and update popular rituals to fit their unique personalities. New wedding traditions and customs are born every day, creating an endless combination of possibilities for celebrating your nuptials. We’ve pulled together a list of the latest wedding traditions and trends that we absolutely adore.
Non-Traditional Wedding Ceremony Setups
A traditional wedding ceremony consists of a focal point – typically an arch or stage – where the vows are exchanged. Usually, your guests are seated in rows facing the officiant. However, an emerging wedding ceremony trend puts a fun spin on the classic setup. Couples are increasingly opting for unique seating arrangements, such as winding paths in lieu of an aisle or circular rows of chairs completely surrounding the ceremony setting. These re-imagined ceremony setups allow for guests to experience the wedding in a new way – often as a more intimate affair.
Ask your wedding team for ideas that will help place all eyes on you!
Circular wedding ceremony at Aliso Viejo, CA
Skip the Wedding Registry
While we think it will always be customary to give a gift to the newlyweds, many couples are choosing to forego the traditional wedding registry. Physical gifts are quickly becoming a thing of the past as couples shift to honeymoon funds, house funds, and even charitable donation requests. Some honeymoon funds even allow for guests to purchase experiences as gifts – such as wine tasting in Paris or snorkeling in the Caribbean. We love the idea of gifting a goat, trees or fresh water for families in need if you want to give back. Alternatively, many home-goods stores help newlyweds collect a generous gift card via contributions from multiple guests that let them choose a single larger item.
Sustainable, eco-friendly weddings
Weddings traditionally feature a lot of single-use elements – from floral arrangements to party favors. Support for sustainability is on the rise as both vendors and couples move towards more eco-conscious details to reduce the carbon footprint of wedding receptions and ceremonies. Brides can now re-sell their dresses through online consignment stores, couples can offer green party favors such as wildflower seed bombs, and florists can donate flowers to be repurposed after a wedding. Check out our complete guide to hosting a sustainable wedding for more earth-friendly ideas.
For a full eco-friendly wedding, investigate a tree planting unity ceremony and sapling favors! Or make a donation to a tree planting charity - knowing that your guests have created a 150 tree forest for you is a gift that lasts beyond a lifetime!
a beautiful tree planting unity ceremony at black forest, co
A Non-Traditional Take on the Traditional Wedding Dress
Traditional white ball gowns are no longer the norm when it comes to bridal attire. Brides are increasingly opting for unique styles to walk down the aisle in – including wedding suits, colorful hues, and even second-hand or borrowed dresses. The best part of this new tradition is that it allows for brides to express their personality while being completely comfortable in their wedding dress.
Skipping Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
One of the latest trends in wedding trends is forgoing bridesmaids and groomsmen altogether. While many enjoy the traditional bridal party, some couples find it takes the spotlight away from the marriage and romance. More and more, brides and grooms are opting to skip having a full-blown bridal party in favor of a single maid of honor/best man by their side.
Another added benefit of saying ‘I do’ with just your bestie by your side is that your friends won’t have to buy or rent a one-time gown or tuxedo to celebrate your big day. This will minimize time spent primping on the day of your wedding, leaving more time to mingle with guests, capture photos, and canoodle with your new spouse.
this beautiful couple invited their best man and maid of honor
to co-officiate their beautiful wedding at mountain view ranch, co
Wedding Ring Alternatives
The traditional American wedding ring setup consists of a wedding band for the couple in addition to a (diamond) engagement ring for the bride. However, there are countless new options available for wedding rings. From silicone wedding bands that are perfect for active couples to ring finger tattoos. Brides and grooms can choose a wedding ring to fit their lifestyle--and personal style--best.
Silicone wedding band by Enso
Larger than an elopement, but smaller than a full-fledged ceremony, the micro wedding is an intimate affair that includes only your closest inner circle of friends and family. Couples are opting for decreased guests lists in exchange for more extravagant destinations and intimate celebrations. At the end of the day, does your mother’s boss really need to celebrate your nuptials with you? If saving your meaningful vows for only your closest family and friends sounds lovely to you, we think it's a great idea! And then ... it's on to the party!
Extra Dance Time
For many guests, the best part of any wedding is dancing the night away. While the dance floor often heats up later in the night, there are a number of traditions that can take place first: first dance, speeches, tossing the bouquet, cutting the cake, and so on. Recently we've seen couples drop some of these traditions in favor of more time spent on the dance floor. When it comes to wedding reception traditions, consider making a list of options with your spouse-to-be and then selecting the ones that are the most important for your celebration.
Incorporating every tradition can create a packed event with a complicated schedule – which is great if you want it! Alternatively, relaxing and keeping only the elements that are truly meaningful to your 21st century lives may be more your style.
Newlyweds enjoying their first dance at The Retreat
A Cell Phone-Free Ceremony
Cellular phones can capture some amazing memories of your wedding day from various perspectives, but they can also be a nightmare for wedding photographer particularly during the wedding ceremony. In light of this, it's become popular to plan a cell phone-free or "unplugged" ceremony to ensure that their photographers can capture an unobstructed view of their special moment. It's also nice for guests to just sit back and enjoy the show! Couples can have an announcement made prior to the ceremony requesting that guests leave their phones behind or set out baskets for guests to store phones in at the entrance to the wedding ceremony.
Encourage your guests to make your wedding a cell phone free zone so they can be fully present!
For the extroverted couple, a group honeymoon – or buddymoon – is a fun spin on the traditional honeymoon. Buddymoons allow for a group of friends or family to travel together following the wedding of one or more couples in the group. One of the perks of a buddymoon is that you'll always have friends around to help you snap photos of your adventures as newlyweds.
The New Take on Wedding Cakes
We love a delicious slice of wedding cake, so we are always thrilled to see couples reimagine the traditional wedding cake in new and interesting ways. From cakes made entirely out of cheese wheels to cupcake and donut displays, there's no shortage of wedding cake alternatives. Check out our essential wedding cake trends guide or head over to our Pinterest board for extra cake inspiration.
A Creative & fun-filled Wedding Donut Display Board
Unity Ceremony Traditions
A unity ceremony is a common ceremony tradition in which a couple performs an action to symbolize the joining of their lives together. Often this takes the form of lighting a candle or pouring sand into a vessel. In recent years, we've begun to see couples get more creative with their unity ceremonies, opting to pour bourbon into a barrel or share a beer flight together. Check out some of our favorite unity ceremony ideas and trends.
a unique beer flight unity ceremony at boulder creek, co
Adding a Twist to Classic Wedding Portraits
When it comes to wedding photography, the world is your oyster. While most couples choose to do all of their photography at the wedding venue, adding in another location can add an extra layer of personality. Couples love to snap pics in front of landmarks, parks, businesses, and locations that have sentimental meaning. One of our couples opted to have candids taken at their favorite frozen yogurt shop – and the result is super cute! Be sure to speak to your wedding photographer in advance to ensure your shoot schedule has enough time for snapping your destination portraits.
Did you know, some couples sneak out for a second photo shoot in all their finery a few days after their wedding? It's nice for them to escape to a local beauty spot and get extra shots when they can concentrate on just each other – plus wearing your wedding outfit one more time is always a good idea!
this happy couple said 'I Do' to frozen yogurt before their wedding at black forest
At Wedgewood Weddings, we love helping couples incorporate traditions new and old into their wedding. Contact our experts to learn more about how we can help you plan a wedding that feels as unique as you do!