10 Unique Wedding Traditions to Start on Your Wedding Day

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Over the years, wedding traditions seem to have gotten a bad reputation. Bridesmaids may not want to wear the same dress and you might not want to register for fine china. Perhaps using “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” or walking down the aisle to Wagner’s Bridal Chorus isn’t your cup of tea.

As more couples dream of ways to make their wedding day stand out, the idea of traditions may seem a bit outdated. Whether you consider yourself a traditional bride or not, traditions are a special and meaningful part of your wedding day. But how do you make outdated traditions feel fresh and modern?

Put your own special twist on it.

Unique Wedding Traditions You Can Start

Today, I want to share 10 unique wedding traditions you can start on your wedding day. And who knows, you may even inspire future generations to do some of the same things you do.

framed wedding photos on a table with navy tablecloth and a candle
Photo by Ben Tran Photography

1. Take a picture of love through the generations.

Your wedding day is a celebration of the adventure you and your groom are starting. But it’s also the perfect time to celebrate the love your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents share. Have your wedding photographer snap a few pictures of love through the generations. Here are a few ideas of some sweet ways to document the generations of love:

  • Take a picture of the ladies’ showing their wedding rings

  • Line up the couples on a staircase facing each other and have them kiss

  • Have the ladies stand next to the bride holding a picture of them in their wedding dress

2. Let your grandmother fluff your dress before the ceremony starts.

Your dad gets to walk you down the aisle. Your mom gets to dance with you at the reception. Throughout the wedding day, your parents get their moment in the spotlight. If you’re lucky enough to have your grandmother at your wedding, why not give her a moment to shine. Give her the honor of fluffing your dress when you arrive at the ceremony before you walk down the aisle. It’s sure to be a moment that lasts forever.

bride holding a bouquet looking at the groom
Photo by Ben Tran Photography

3. Honor a loved one by using a flower named after them in your bouquet.

There are lots of ways to honor those no longer with you at your wedding. A beautiful way to remember them is to incorporate flowers bearing their name into your bouquet. Include a note in the program to let guests. You can also carry a separate flower bearing their name and place it on a reserved chair at the ceremony.

4. Serve your favorite snack before or after the ceremony.

It seems like no matter what time of day your wedding takes place, guests inevitably get the muchies beforehand. Whether it’s soft pretzels or gummy bears, serve your favorite snack before the ceremony starts. This is a great way to help kids (and adults) be a little less restless during the ceremony.

Brides Tip: Have a mini pre-ceremony cocktail hour. Serve your favorite snack alongside glasses of champagne or a signature cocktail to help break the ice between guests and get the party started!

baguette slice on top of a salad on a white plate
Photo by Lauren Fair Associates

5. Serve a family recipe at the reception.

If grandma’s chocolate chip cookies or your dad’s nachos are a staple at any family event, incorporate those into your wedding day menu. If your grandfather was famous for making brandy soaked cherries, serve them in an old fashioned cocktail named after him. For something individual like cookies, send it home with guests as a favor. It’s a wedding tradition everyone is sure to love!

6. Create a first anniversary box.

Gather meaningful items like a bottle of wine, ticket stubs from your first date or photos and place the items in a box. Before the ceremony, add a love note you’ve written to each other and then seal the box during the ceremony. Then on your first anniversary, cut yourself a slice of wedding cake, open the anniversary box and reminisce about your big day.

Brides Tip: Have guests that aren’t able to attend the wedding write you letters. Before you seal it, add those letters to the box so you can read them on your first anniversary.

white lace wedding gown on a hanger next to a window
Photo by Lauren Fair Associates

7. Use a matrimonial rug.

If you’re doing an outdoor ceremony, having a rug to stand on is a must. Practically speaking, a matrimonial rug gives you a firm place to stand during the ceremony. It protects your dress and prevents your heels from sinking into the ground. More importantly, it represents the foundation you two are building for your marriage.

Instead of renting a rug, find a new rug you both love and use it in your home after the wedding. You can pass it on to the next family member to use at their wedding or get them their own rug to use.

8. Have a wedding dress display at your reception.

Wedding dresses have certainly evolved over the years and you may not have the same fashion style your mom did when she got married. But that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate her wedding dress into your wedding. Instead of wearing it or using part of it to wrap your bouquet, surprise her by displaying it at your reception. Make it a generational thing and display your grandmother’s dress. Displaying her wedding dress is a beautiful way to honor her if she’s no longer here.

Brides Tip: Now that you’re family, include your new mother-in-law in the surprise and display her dress as well.

bottle of Jameson on a stool next to a groom glass
Photo by Lauren Fair Associates

9. Play your family’s song.

Anytime “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” comes on, my family stops what they’re doing to dance and sing along. If you have a similar song that your family loves, surprise them by playing it at the reception. It’s the perfect way to break the ice and get everyone out on the dance floor.

10. Bury a good luck drink at your ceremony venue.

Spending a few years below the Mason-Dixon line, I was immersed in the wedding traditions of the South. One of the oh-so-classic Southern wedding traditions is called bury the bourbon. To prevent rain on your wedding day, you bury a bottle of bourbon upside down at your ceremony venue one month before your wedding. (As a wedding planner, you bet I’m doing everything I can to prevent rain from happening on a couple’s wedding day.) Then after your ceremony, you dig it up and drink a toast with your wedding party to celebrate becoming Mr. & Mrs.

Bourbon is the drink of choice for many Southerners, which is probably why the tradition is to bury bourbon. But I think this tradition works no matter what you use. So go ahead and bury whatever you like to drink to celebrate a special occasion.

Brides Tip: Keep this unique wedding tradition going. Buy the next family member or friend that gets married a bottle of their favorite drink to bury.

how to incorporate unique wedding trends into your wedding day
Photo by Lauren Fair Associates

Unique Wedding Traditions for Future Generations

Many couples forget they can choose which traditions to use and which ones to skip. Incorporate the ones that are meaningful to you and don’t be afraid to start your own. While traditions can feel out of place in the modern world, there’s a way to make them feel fresh and relevant. Those cherished age-old traditions can work beautifully alongside more modern ones to create a wedding that’s unique to you.

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10 unique wedding traditions to personalize your wedding day
unique wedding traditions to start on your wedding day

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Hello, I’m Jenna!

A PHILADELPHIA-BASED WEDDING COORDINATOR

Welcome to the JTE blog, where I share my favorite weddings and insider tips to make your wedding day simply swoon-worthy. Grab a cup of coffee (cream and sugar for me, please) and enjoy a virtual peek into my color-coded planning binder.

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