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How to Break Wedding Traditions Tactfully

All girls know that they have to have “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” Right? Wedding websites tell us that we have to dance to certain songs. Our parents tell us that we have to have cake, and cut it a certain way. Because that’s how it has always been done, right?

So what do you do, or say, if you find that some of those things aren’t important to you? Start with figuring out who is just suggesting things and who has their heart set on you doing something in specific. Maybe your bridesmaids all assume that they have to find matching dresses that they are magically all going to like and all going to look good in. Maybe that doesn’t matter so much to you, so you change it so they can wear different dresses, but all wear the same color. Most likely the girls will be relieved that they don’t have to wear a dress that they will look uncomfortable in. (Strapless dresses are hard for a lot of people, if you ask me.) But maybe your mother-in-law-to-be thinks that it just isn’t done that way. First step is to figure out a way to talk to her that doesn’t cause more stress for you, or for her. Pull her aside? Take her out to lunch? Visit her for coffee? There is hopefully a way to address the issue so that no one feels cornered.

royal blue bridesmaid dresses that are not the same

Photo Credit : Eliza Truitt Photography

Next step, find a way to say it so that you aren’t attacking her values. “No, this is just the way I want it.” Could easily instead be, “My girls are all different sizes and there is no comfortable way to get them in the same dress (and still smiling once it’s on). If that doesn’t work, then maybe find a way to compromise on something else that she really wants you to do that you don’t necessarily mind so much. She wants you to have her pearls as your “something old” and you find a way to wrap them with the ribbon on your bouquet. Or you invite her best friend. Or whatever will calm the fire that doesn’t get in the way of the most important things.

What if, on the other hand, you butt heads about something that you are absolutely not willing to change, and no amount of compromising will fix it? At that point I suggest the tried-and-true mantra of, “This is our day. This is the day we are celebrating our love. This is what’s important to me. That’s my final answer.” Because, really, that’s the truth. And if the people who are fighting you don’t realize that, then there isn’t much you can do to fix it.

Just remember to take deep breaths before you fight about something, keep in mind what is most important to you and your groom-to-be, and don’t let the little things build up into big things (in your head or in your decision making). It’s too easy to get overwhelmed with a wedding anyway, so having all the people possible on your side helping, instead of cranky that things didn’t go their way, is the best thing you can do. If you don’t know what you want yet, say so, then put your foot down when people get too pushy. Start firm: “I’m not sure if that will work for us yet, but thank you for your suggestion.”

And if all else fails, just have your groom tell them no. If both of you are on the same page and talk about the stressful situations that come up, then he can be your backup if you need it. Don’t forget that he wants you to be as happy (and calm) as possible.

photographed by barbie hullSarah is our new Wedding Wednesday blogger. She is one of our fabulous giver brides from 2012 who walked into Get Hitched Give Hope with the intent on getting married in Jamaica in 2014, and walked out with packages and vendors she fell in love with, and a new plan for a fall 2013 Seattle wedding. Sarah will be bringing us thoughts on the wedding industry and wedding planning from the perspective of a bride who isn’t the traditional “been dreaming of my wedding since I was five” type of girl.


photo by Barbie Hull

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