No matter the generation in which you were born, love will always be ageless. Perhaps the only thing better than falling in love is being able to celebrate this in whatever way you choose. Jacqueline Maya explores how millennials in particular are revolutionising the wedding game.
Just as the generations before them, millennials are making their mark on the world, particularly at weddings. Queensland Wedding & Bride researches the many ways in which modern-day couples are updating and personalising wedding traditions.
MEET THE MILLENNIALS
Known for their unapologetic ability to embrace change, millennials – those born roughly between the years 1981 and 1996 – are challenging traditional ideas of what a typical wedding day should entail. While weddings provide couples with a wonderful opportunity to honour and uphold important and sentimental traditions of years gone by, they’re also an occasion to let go of some of those outdated and otherwise ‘stuffy’ customs that no longer seem appropriate within the context of modern world.
The western tradition of wearing a white wedding dress is most commonly credited to Queen Victoria, who married Prince Albert in 1840. However, the history of wearing the colour white dates back even further. Mary, Queen of Scots donned this stylish colour in 1558, and there have been suggestions that other royals have worn white wedding attire prior to this date, as well.
Symbolising purity and new beginnings, wearing a white gown was highly popularised by the Christian faith. However, the colour white was also chosen not only for its religious connotations, but because it was more costly and a lot harder to keep clean, thus being a colour that symbolises high status and wealth. While Billy Idol’s classic hit suggests ‘it’s a nice day for a white wedding’, millennials believe it’s time for a change.
Yes To A New Dress
More brides are opting to wear dresses in colours other than white, in favour of something more personalised and unique. If you’re happy to experiment with colour,
but are after a more subtle look, you can request your dressmaker to dye a few layers of your tulle gown underneath, or dip dye the bottom, which will create a visually stunning effect. While you can certainly wear a coloured wedding dress, you don’t even have to wear a dress at all; jumpsuits and tailored women’s suits are also extremely in vogue at the moment.
If you’re keen to try something a little different, remember to give your bridesmaids the same kind of flexibility in what dress or attire they can wear. Your bridesmaids will most likely have different body shapes and style preferences, so to ensure they feel comfortable and confident in what they’re wearing, give them a colour palette and let them choose their own dresses. Not only will this allow your bridal party to express their different styles and personalities, it will also add a unique touch to your wedding, which will have everyone feeling beautiful.
From wearing luxurious furs and embroidered silks, to adorning themselves in plush velvets and precious gems, the grooms of the Georgian era were just as lavishly dressed as their brides-to-be. While there will always be an occasion to wear a fancy tuxedo or an embellished three-piece suit, your wedding day doesn’t have to be one of those times. If you’re not a fan of the typical classic black suit, or even suits in general, there is a whole range of less formal options to consider that will have you looking and feeling good.
If you’re tying the knot in the countryside, a tweed or houndstooth blazer with a white collared shirt and grey trousers would be an ideal ensemble. However, if you’re getting hitched on the beach, a simple white linen shirt combined with a pair of tan-coloured chinos is a comfortable yet location-appropriate outfit.
Whatever style you choose, make sure it’s one that is comfortable and reflects your personality. With that said, it’s also important you make the same allowances for your groomsmen. From wearing Hawaiian shirts or superhero-themed socks, to sporting Ray Ban Clubmaster sunglasses and a pair of converse shoes, modernising your bridal party’s outfits gives you the chance to display their distinct personalities and tastes, and to have a bit of fun at the same time.
The age-old custom of the bride’s father accompanying her down the aisle is a tradition that dates back to the time of arranged marriages. While arranged marriages are few and far between these days, many brides still feel that walking down the aisle with their dad is a beautiful way for a daughter to honour her father on her wedding day. However, the concept of the nuclear family has completely transformed over the years; many brides don’t have a relationship with their father, or may not have a father figure in their life.
To revamp this tradition, many brides are having their mother, grandparent, or even their dearest friend walk them down the aisle. Weddings can be stressful at the best of times, but above all else, they should be a joyous occasion. Just because something has always been a tradition doesn’t mean it has to be your tradition, and you have no obligation to include them in your wedding if you don’t want to.
SAVING THE LAST DANCE
As the lights begin to dim and the spotlight appears, you and your partner will take each other’s hands, and, for a moment, it may seem that the two of you are the only ones in the room. From Etta James’ rendition of “At Last” to INXS’ “Never Tear Us Apart”, these classic first dance songs have been played at weddings time and time again. To save your guests from having to endure another overplayed wedding song, choose a tune that’s held closely to you and your partner’s hearts instead; it could be the song you heard when you first met, or the song that was playing when you shared your first kiss. Steering clear from popular ballads and iconic love songs in favour of something that’s intrinsically personal to you and your beau will provide you with the opportunity to further personalise your special day, as well as ensure that your guests have a unique and enjoyable experience. Some couples even prepare a choreographed dance with their bridal party for their guests to enjoy. Just remember, there aren’t any rules on what you have to adhere to when it comes to your wedding day.
TOSSING OUT THE BOUQUET
The bouquet and garter toss have been part of weddings since medieval times. It is said that passing on these items would bring good fortune to others, and that whoever catches them will be the next to marry. While these wedding customs may seem harmless, many couples are choosing to give them the chop because they quite often make single guests feel uncomfortable or alienated.
If you love upholding traditions, there are considerate ways in which you can implement modernised versions within your wedding, including presenting the bouquet to a couple you admire such as your parents, grandparents or in-laws. You can also incorporate an anniversary dance into your celebrations, where the DJ or MC for the evening will invite all couples up to the dance floor, and as they call out the anniversary years, the last couple standing who has been married the longest receives the bouquet. Taking careful note of your guest list, along with considering which guests will appreciate such traditions, is key to determining what to include or exclude on your wedding day.
CUTTING THE CAKE
Cakes have been widely used as a way to end a significant celebration or milestone, and while this delicious dessert is a crowd-pleaser for many, for some couples, a cake just doesn’t cut it. If your sweet tooth isn’t partial to the tiered variety, there is a whole range of scrumptious treats that you can use instead. From DIY sundaes and mini cheesecakes, to pies or a tower of macarons, the dessert options are endless, and one of these alternatives could be the cherry on top of your wedding day.
For those without a sweet tooth, cheese towers are a perfect option if you’re more savoury inclined. Your cheese tower can also be beautifully paired with artisanal breads and biscuits, as well as seasonal fruits such as pears, figs and grapes, which are sure to satisfy the sugar-craving guests. However, if having a gorgeous tiered cake at your wedding is non-negotiable, cake designers are able to create faux cake layers using foam, which is perfect for smaller-sized weddings and minimises waste. Couples are also serving smaller cakes as part of a display or even using them as centrepieces.
THREE’S A CROWD
Unless you’ve made a conscious effort to include others in the decision-making process, you and your partner should be the only ones to determine how you want to celebrate your wedding day. While it is a joy to share your special day with family and friends, the decision of how you choose to say ‘I do’ should stay between you and your beloved partner. The choices you make, along with the traditions you choose to incorporate, revamp, or nix altogether, should truly be a reflection of you both as a couple.
Don’t let your wedding day be a cliché! By incorporating a few of these new takes on old traditions, you and your partner are sure to have a wedding that is as special as the love you share together. If you take the time to discuss your respective wedding aspirations with your partner, as well as what you both want the day to signify, not only will your nuptials be an expression of you and your partner’s personal styles and tastes, but with a little bit of luck, it will also encourage and inspire future generations to wed in their own unique way.
EMBRACE THE HASHTAG
With their addiction to all things digital, it’s no surprise that millennials are finding online alternatives to traditional paper-based options such as invitations and thank-you cards. Many modern-day couples are sending their wedding invites out via email and Facebook, and some even have a dedicated wedding website, which features an RSVP page for their guests, as well as an online gift registry.
Similarly, millennials are also incorporating social media into their weddings. In addition to the professional wedding photography, couples are encouraging guests to take their own photos during the entire celebration and upload them to Instagram by using a designated hashtag that’s been created especially by the happy couple. Not only is this a clever way to quickly access those special moments while waiting for your professional photos, it also allows your guests to really feel included and part of your special day. It will also provide you with a wide range of photos that have been captured through the eyes of the people you love, so it’s easy to see why millennials are saying #yestothehashtag.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Shakespeare was right to pose the question then, and it’s still a subject that holds great relevancy today, especially with regards to matrimony. In the past, the custom of a bride taking her husband’s last name was predominantly due to women being denied autonomy and essentially thought of as something in which to be owned. In light of this archaic tradition, many couples are now debating whether there is a need to change their surnames at all.
While many couples are still choosing to take their spouse’s last name, the reasons behind this decision have changed drastically from previous eras, and are for very personal and sentimental reasons. For example, some same-sex couples, who’ve only recently been given the right to become legally married, may find that taking their spouse’s family name solidifies the legitimacy of their marriage.
Whether you hyphenate both surnames or simply use just one, make sure you choose the best option for you and your partner. The best part of living in this modern world is that not only do we now have the ability to choose whom we love, we also have the privilege of deciding how we share this with the world.