Bride Wars: Is it really that important to follow traditional wedding customs?

We ask two brides to go head to head over a controversial wedding topic. This time we're talking about wedding traditions - do they need to be followed, or is it really your day, your way?

Wedding traditions are a tricky topic; some brides are adamant their father will give them away, and that the cake must be a classic fruit cake, while others are going for a cheese wedding cake and walking down the aisle with their best friend.


Y&YW’s Laura goes head to head with bride-to-be Amanda Pauley on whether traditions are an essential part of getting married.

Will you have a traditional first dance?

“My father will give me away, but not because of the symbolism of being ‘given’ to a husband”

“Although I’m relatively new to the wedding scene, having become engaged only three months ago, I believe that time-honoured traditions can be notable additions to any big day if you embrace them in a way that suits you,” says journalist and bride-to-be Amanda.

“Traditions are not only a way of appreciating a long-established custom from your heritage, but also a way to include your loved ones, giving them important roles that make them feel a valuable part of it all. For example, I’ll definitely have my father giving me away, but not because I agree with the symbolism that a woman is an object to be ‘given’ to her husband (er, no way). I’ll be doing it because I have an amazing father who I want to accompany me on one of the biggest days of my life.”

“It’s a sweet way of including him in the ceremony, and it also prevents me having to walk down the aisle on my own (scary). Plus, it guarantees I have someone there to prevent some likely clumsiness on my part (my biggest fear is tripping up like Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars).”

“My partner and I have also decided to not see each other beforehand. This isn’t because we believe that our marriage will be doomed if we catch a glimpse of each other before the ceremony, but because not seeing one another until the vows are ready to be said is romantic.”

“I’ll even be asking my bridesmaids to wear the same colour dress, but giving the tradition a twist by letting them choose their own styles.”

“While I was raised as a Catholic, I’m an atheist, so I won’t be saying my vows in a church – much to my mother’s dismay. But I’ll honour our Irish roots in other ways, like with a layer of honey fruitcake soaked in whiskey as part of the wedding cake. Traditions can be wonderful and you can adapt them to suit your personality.”

“Customs for the sake of it doesn’t matter to us – I say write your own rules”

“I know a couple who both cringed their way through their first dance. Neither of them wanted to do it, but thought they should, ‘because it’s tradition’ SAYS Y&YW’s sub-editor Laura.

“Many couples can feel obliged to follow customs for fear of causing offence, or just for the sake of it. I say scrap the traditions and write your own rules, and I speak as the daughter of parents who eloped to tie the knot and as the great-granddaughter of a couple who broke with tradition way ahead of their time to join their surnames together. Perhaps breaking with tradition is in my blood?”

“When I was telling friends and family that I’d got engaged, their excitement was contagious, and I was swept along with their questions and expectations about what would be happening: ‘Who will your bridesmaids be?’, ‘What’s going to be your first-dance song?’, ‘Will you change your name?’ To all the questions, I answered that I wasn’t sure – but I eventually realised that what I really meant was, ‘Do I have to do it that way?’”

“The answer is no. What I love about weddings is that everyone wants such different things from their special day, but it should never be confined to a set of outdated traditions just to keep relatives happy.”

“Your wedding is ultimately about you and your partner, no one else. In the process of my own planning journey, I’ve learned a great deal about myself and our relationship. Incorporating customs for the sake of it doesn’t matter to us. We’re making our closest loved ones feel special with a tiny ceremony – a unique memory for just a few of us before we head to our party.”

“I’m looking for fun alternatives to wedding cakes, and next week we’re heading off on our honeymoon before we’ve even finished writing our guest list. So, if white isn’t your colour, don’t wear it for tradition’s sake – try red instead!”


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