[caption id="attachment_943" align="aligncenter" width="391"]Photo via http://ow.ly/TsmF8 Photo via http://ow.ly/TsmF8[/caption]

 

When I was preparing for my wedding, I was really excited about keeping with some great wedding traditions. But upon planning, I realized that there are many silly traditions that makes me simply want to say, "just stop." Now, don't get me wrong: I had many traditional ideas in my wedding ceremony and reception that I was able to share with my friends and family. But there are still many things that lots of couples are getting hung up on that you really don't have to do.

Go Ahead and Look

Traditionally, the bride and groom aren't supposed to see each other before the ceremony, as it is supposed to cause bad luck. This is a tradition that doesn't have to be followed if you don't want to. A sweet idea is to meet with your bride or groom moments before the ceremony in what is called a first look with only the photographer to get some very sweet shots. Use this time to tell your almost-spouse how much you can't wait to say "I do." Share a sweet good-luck kiss during your last moments of being unmarried. Share a laugh to get your nerves under control.

Why Not Bridesmen or Groomswomen?

Who says it's not OK to have a guy on your "team" or a girl on his? You don't have to have only girls as your bridesmaids. If you have a twin brother, he should stand on your side. If your best friend growing up was a guy, make him your bridesman. If he has a special lady besides you in his life, she should be a groomswoman.

Veil Optional

When you picture a bride, you picture a long white dress and a veil. Today, with brides taking things in a more modern direction, more and more of them are ditching the veil and using a beautiful antique hair clip or a romantic headband instead.

[caption id="attachment_946" align="aligncenter" width="280"]Photo via http://ow.ly/Tss7N Photo via http://ow.ly/Tss7N[/caption]

Choose Your Escort

Yes, traditionally, you dad is supposed to walk you down the aisle. This is a tradition that is still OK to use, but it doesn't have to be the standard by any means. Sometimes Dad isn't the one that should do the giving away. Maybe your mom should walk you down the aisle or even a brother or someone else that has played a special role in your upbringing. And don't be afraid to walk down the aisle alone. That's special, too.

Don't Do it By the Book

In richer or poorer, in sickness and in health... . We can probably all say these vows by heart by simply watching a couple of good romantic comedies. But those don't have to be the vows that you and your spouse recite at your ceremony. Write your own and give your spouse a special message straight from your heart.

Colorful Stones

Diamonds are forever, but so are rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, if you like those better. The diamond engagement ring is something that has become a popular tradition, but that doesn't mean that you can't have a different stone for your ring finger. Just ask Prince William and Kate.

[caption id="attachment_945" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Photo via http://ow.ly/TsrVA Photo via http://ow.ly/TsrVA[/caption]

Skip the Cake-Smashing

This originated from an old tradition that would bring good luck but has become something that has gotten completely out of hand over the years. If you and everyone at your reception are drunk, then give it a go. If you are trying to be civilized, remember how much money you spent on your cake, your wedding gown, and your makeup before you go allowing him to shove a bunch of icing all over your face.

Skip the Trinkets

You spend a lot of money on your wedding, and it's mostly all for you to remember your special day. Chances are good that your guests don't need a small token to remember your day as well. Wedding favors can take up a lot of time and money, and you don't really need to send your guests away with something that they most likely won't use again. To thank your guests for coming, consider making a donation to charity in their name instead.

Who Pays?

Traditionally, the bride's family pays for the wedding and the groom's family pays for the rehearsal dinner. This is a huge financial responsibility for them to handle. In this day and age, things are expensive, so it's only fair to spread the responsibility around a bit. Maybe the groom's family wouldn't mind taking on some of the wedding responsibilities, such as the DJ or the venue.

Toss the Tosses

The bouquet and garter tosses can be a sweet tradition, but if your single guests have had a bit too much to drink, it can get out of hand. Your sweet little old granny doesn't want to see the maid of honor and your second cousin brawling it out on the floor while tearing up the flowers that you paid way too much for. There are alternatives, such as the bride giving a single flower from her bouquet to each single lady at the reception.

Register Sensibly

You may already own the kitchenware that you want to use on a daily basis. You also may already have all of the cookware and silverware that you'll ever need. And will you really use that fine china or crystal stemware? Try registering for home décor or other household items that will come in handy that you don't already own. Other good ideas for your registry include luggage, art, and small furniture items.

Don't Choose Sides

You may choose to go without "sides" for your ceremony seating. After all, it can be embarrassing when the groom has 150 friends and family attending and the bride has only 35. You can allow your ushers to usher guests to both sides regardless of who invited them. Better yet, depending on your wedding ceremony venue, arrange the chairs so that guests can't choose a side. I always like to see a sign that says something about how we're all family now so pick a seat, not a side!

Coordinate, Don't Match

Your bridesmaids don't have to all have the exact same dresses. When you choose a color for your wedding day, allow your girls to choose coordinating colors or different shades of the same hue, or choose one color but let them pick whatever style of dress flatters them the best. Your girls will appreciate it, as everyone has different budgets, complexions, and body types. This will allow them to buy the dress that best suits them. Instead, have matching bouquets, matching jewelry, or matching headbands or hair clips.

[caption id="attachment_944" align="aligncenter" width="367"]Photo via http://ow.ly/TsrND Photo via http://ow.ly/TsrND[/caption]

One Ring Style to Bind Them?

Many wedding bands are sold in sets so the bride and groom can have matching rings. This is a tradition that doesn't have to be kept. The bride and groom may have different lifestyles or jobs and need different styles of rings: One may work with their hands and need a sturdier band, while the other wants one that is more comfortable on their finger. Or maybe they just have different styles or like different metals. You can still find ways to make them match in some way without making them identical. For instance, have coordinating engravings done on the insides of the rings.

Walk to Your Own Beat

Dum dum da-dum... . You don't have to walk down the aisle to Wagner's traditional Bridal Chorus, also known as "the wedding march." Choose a song that is special to you and your spouse or just simply a romantic song. If you are using a quartet or a professional solo musician, they may have other great options for you to use.

White-Only? Not Hardly

It is a special day, and it needs a special dress, but you don't have to wear a big, puffy white dress. Throw some color into your gown by using a colored shrug or sash or a soft overlay over the white dress. If you are throwing caution to the wind completely, wear a dress of a different color! Blush and baby blue dresses are just as pretty as white ones, or you even go with a red dress worn at a December wedding. It's your day: Wear the color that fits your personality the best.