Weddings are filled with tradition, with pre-defined ideas for the format, what people should wear and the involvement of guests in the big day.

As times have changed, we’ve seen that some customs just don’t work for contemporary couples. While many traditions are timeless and remain an important aspect of a wedding, certain things are evolving.

Here are 12 ways modern weddings are redefining traditions.

Ceremony Locations

When most people think ‘traditional wedding’, they probably picture a church ceremony. With nearly half of the Australian population not affiliated with a religion, it’s become more common to have a ceremony take place in other locations such as private grounds, beaches, hotels and gardens.

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The Modern Wedding Party

Traditionally the bride would choose their closest female friends to be bridesmaids, and grooms select their best male friends to be their groomsmen. It’s becoming more common for the bride and groom to choose friends of the opposite gender to be in their wedding party. It’s great to see more people choosing those that are most important to them to be with on the big day, regardless of gender. Couples are also choosing a more intimate wedding party, rather than large groups.

Bringing a Plus-One

Traditionally a wedding invitation would be addressed to a partnership. These days couples may want to have a small and intimate wedding or have a tighter budget, so unless your wedding invitation specifically says you can bring a plus one, don’t ask! On the other hand, modern plus-ones don’t just mean a person’s partner – a friend of mine went to a wedding with her female friend as a plus-one.

Who Pays For The Wedding

Traditionally the bride’s family would pay for the wedding, but the idea of dowry has become obsolete. Times have certainly changed with the majority of couples at least sharing the wedding costs with their families, or paying it for themselves entirely.

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Who To Invite To A Wedding

When parents did foot the bill, it gave them more control over the guestlist and people would find their mum’s tennis partner’s husband they’d never met suddenly watching one of the most intimate moments of their life. We’re seeing more and more couples choose to have complete control over their guest-lists and keeping it to close friends and family.

What To Give As A Wedding Gift

Traditionally wedding guests would give the newlywed couple gifts to deck out their new home together. Nowadays with people already living together before marriage, they usually have all the homewares they need. Often couples will be saving up to buy a home or for their honeymoon, meaning cash is the preferred gift. For this reason, the bride and groom may set up a wishing well or letter box, giving guests the opportunity to gift money towards these big items.

For those that do have a list of items they’d like, they can create an online gift registry. Details of which should be on the wedding invitation. The couple may not reference gifts at all, possibly due to feeling awkward about asking for money! Today the general consensus is if there’s no gift registry, give cash.

Wedding Hashtags and Filters

In recent times we’ve seen the arrival of wedding hashtags. Some couples create a personalised wedding hashtag, enabling guests to share photos from the day on social media. Using a hashtag makes it easy to search for all the images people have shared.

Additionally, people have taken modern to a whole other level with customised Snapchat filters their guests can use for the photos they take. This idea of branding the wedding helps create a theme and adds excitement to the big day.

Unplugged Ceremonies

On the other end of the spectrum from wedding hashtags is the ‘unplugged wedding’. An unplugged wedding is when the bride and groom request that guests refrain from using their phones to take photos during the ceremony. You can see the reasoning behind it – to ensure your guests are really present. It will also help the official photographer who won’t have to dodge a sea of phones blocking the view. It’s a tricky one though, with everyone having a phone these days it would be easy for people to forget the couple’s request.

Making It Facebook Official

It’s good manners to wait until the bride and groom post their own photos from their special day before you tag them or post anything on their pages. They’ll appreciate being able to share their special moment themselves. True story – I know of someone who posted a lovely big congratulatory post (along with photos they’d been sent from the couple) to social media only to find out the couple had eloped and hadn’t even had a chance to tell all their family and friends yet! So please, wait until you see the couple share details publicly before you congratulate them.

Digital Wedding Invitations and RSVPs

In today’s digital world, we can connect with loved ones and friends via so many different ways. While snail mail is still the most common method of sending and RSVPing to wedding invites, people are increasingly opting to do so digitally. It’s not uncommon to receive a digital save-the-date or wedding invitation. Or people may choose to do a traditional posted invitation, but request that people RSVP via text, email, their wedding website or even Facebook event!

Wedding Websites

A wedding website is a great way to share important information about the big day. Many couples are creating a website (there are many free providers) informing guests of location info, meal choices and providing a way to RSVP digitally.

Should I Change My Last Name?

This is a question many modern brides are asking themselves. For most people their name is an important part of their identify they’ve grown up with and the expectation for a woman to give up her last name has certainly changed. We’re seeing people choose to keep their own name or create a hyphenated name that they share with their husband and/or children. I’ve even heard of men taking the woman’s last name.

Your Thoughts

Are you thinking of having a modern wedding or keeping with tradition? Let us know in the comments!

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