8 Wedding Rules You Can Feel Free to Break

A bride and groom embracing with the ocean in the background.

Are you stuck on which old school wedding rules you ought to follow and which ones you should…not? When it comes to weddings, not all traditions are made equally. In fact, there are some wedding rules that are definitely OK to break. If you’ve been wondering which ones you can say no to, then this is the list for you—because you deserve the wedding that’s more you than not.

1. Only the father can walk the bride down the aisle

False! With so many different types of families and relationships existing these days, including those that might not have a father figure present, there is no hard and fast rule that says the dad is the only one who can walk the bride down the aisle. It could definitely be her mom or grandfather—or no one. Feel free to forgo this archaic rule and choose whomever you want!

2. You have to feed each other cake

A bride and groom in vintage clothing, kissing and holding a small wedding cake.

It’s a funny thing to do, but feeding each other a piece of your wedding cake—or more like smashing it into each other’s faces—doesn’t need to happen. It’s typically awkward and, let’s be honest, a waste of delicious cake. So you can definitely skip this one and savor each bite instead.

3. You need to toss the bouquet (and/or garter)

Tossing the bouquet is the sort of thing that makes most women feel bad about themselves and their relationship status—except for the woman who actually catches it. Why feed into this age old tradition that pits women against each other, especially if you don’t like it? As for the “throwing of the garter” spectacle, this is clearly a personal choice. If it doesn’t feel comfortable to either the bride or groom, then don’t do it. The men will live.

4. You should exchange rings

A married couple holding hands with matching tattoos on the inside of their wrists.

Let’s face it—some people just don’t like jewelry. Just because for years rings have been a staple of weddings doesn’t mean it has to be your thing. Maybe you and your partner choose to have matching tattoos, or maybe you choose something else entirely that holds special significance and symbolism to you. Or maybe you forgo matching anything, and realize that the bond and connection you share can’t really be defined by a material thing, anyway.

5. You need to have a gift registry

Be honest: when was the last time you made a casserole or held a dinner party that required the “good” china? The reality is that we don’t usually need half of the things we put on a wedding gift registry; they usually end up being things we think we ought to have rather than things we really need. And with so many people marrying well into their 20s and 30s, chances are that between you and your partner you already have what you need to host the perfect dinner party, anyway. Instead of a traditional gift registry, you can create a honeymoon fund or request a contribution to your first home. For most, that would be way more practical than a gravy boat!

6. The bride wears a white, long wedding dress

An Indian bride wearing a pink dress and standing in front of a classic white car with her groom.

Nope! There are so many other options from cut to color that are just as beautiful as the traditional white wedding dress. Whether it’s a pretty pastel pink or an elegant cream shade, the bride definitely doesn’t have to wear white on her wedding. And when it comes to length, don’t feel hemmed into one silhouette (pun intended). If the bride wants to wear a knee-length gown or even rock a bikini at her destination wedding, she can!

7. You must have an equal bridesmaid to groomsman ratio

Just because the bride wants her six best friends to be bridesmaids doesn’t mean the groom must try to do the same, or vice versa. Not only are wedding parties personal and hold a lot of weight and responsibility, but not everyone has the same amount of special people in their lives who are able to fill those roles. Neither the groom nor bride should feel obligated to ask people in their circle to be in the wedding party just to even out the numbers. It’s tacky and it doesn’t make anyone feel comfortable, so don’t do it.

8. Your honeymoon should be extravagant

A newlywed couple on their honeymoon kissing on bikes.

If you’d rather invest your finances in something else besides a honeymoon, do so. Booking a staycation at a nearby hotel or even at your own home can be equally romantic and private. You don’t need to have the big getaway if it doesn’t work for you or your budget.

The bottom line? Your wedding should reflect your life and your values. Do what feels good for both of you. Stick to the traditions that work for you and let go of the rest. After all, this is your moment. You don’t have to play by the rules!

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