After I got engaged, I had a planning block. How was I going to plan a wedding when I didn’t even really like going to weddings? I always thought it was awkward during the reception when no one wants to dance, but you are forced to. I thought it was awkward having to socialize with people you barely even know dressed up in a stuffy and too proper of a situation. The food is hardly ever good, and I never wanna eat the cake. I always thought it was weird that if your significant other is part of the wedding party, you have to sit separately from them during the reception dinner. Plus, it felt like weddings are all the same.
Ray and I are a non-traditional couple, but we wanted to give our traditional parents the experience of a conventional wedding. What made everything easier was a change of mindset of what we were about to do. We didn’t want a “wedding”, but we have always dreamt of traveling with our closest family and friends to a beautiful outdoor and out of the country location. Our families aren’t travel bugs like us, so it’s not always easy to get them to leave the state. What better way to convince them to have an adventure than to invite them to Squamish, Canada for our wedding! Canada is beautiful and close to enough for the flight to be cheap, but far enough to be outside of the country! It’s a great compromise!
To read more about how you can change your mindset for planning your wedding, read "Change your Outlook on Weddings to Make Wedding Planning Less Stressful".
So how did we make ourselves comfortable with a traditional wedding? How did we compromise a traditional wedding that we wanted our parents to experience, but still stay true to ourselves? We broke some of the traditions and made it our own, and we can tell you how to break yours!
The vow – Ray and I don’t consider ourselves to be a “couple”. We don’t own each other. We never tell each other what to do. We are best friends who love to hang out and do everything together! So when my guncle (the lovable gay uncle) closed the ceremony, he didn’t say “I pronounce you husband and wife.” Instead, we opted for, “I now pronounce you adventure buddies for life”. It’s also a great way to manifest a forever happy marriage, isn’t it?
Filling up a dance floor – To make sure the dance floor is always full, Ray and I were set on having a live band. Side One band keeps the energy high and is very inviting! They had everybody going all night! We were lucky to have them, and I highly suggest a live band if you decide that a full dance floor is most important to you! Months later, my uncle is still talking about the wedding band!
On top of that, my family used to love line dances, so I had my aunt teach line dances. I asked her to teach Uptown Funk, and she also chose to teach Earth, Wind, and Fire’s September and Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.
It helps that I have friends and family who LOVES to dance! The dance floor was always full because of the strong energy between the band and our guests. They filled even more when the line dance songs came on! Side One band’s energy was unstoppable, and they were great at audience participation! The line dances were a surprise to them, so it filled them up with energy! I asked them to play September (because our wedding was on the 21st night of September, and disco is my favorite genre) and Uptown Funk, but I was happily surprised they played Blurred Lines! Everyone’s energy flowed well together for the dance floor to be naturally lively.
On the other hand, if neither you nor your significant other like to dance, then forget the dance floor altogether! Replace it with backyard games, board games, etc! There’s plenty of ways to have fun than just dancing!
Socializing and dressing down – I thought it was awkward having to socialize with people you barely know dressed up in a stuffy and too proper of a situation. I wanted to make sure everyone had gotten some amount of socializing with each other through our 3 day wedding weekend. We had a barbecue the night before the wedding where my aunt taught the line dances. We also had a bonfire filled with wonderful stories as the night closed before the wedding day.
I love getting dressed once in a blue moon, but if it was my way, barefoot and in my PJs is my favorite way to be. I told everyone to throw off their heels and change into something comfortable after the bouquet toss, and be ready to break it down on the dance floor! I also believe this allowed everyone to get comfortable and keep the dance lasting all night long! If you’re like me and all about comfort, then drop those high heels! You can even make it a costume party, any theme you’d like your guests to dress as!
Food choices – I’ll be honest, Ray and I never did a taste test because we couldn’t go back to Canada before the wedding to do so. We trusted the venue’s catering company, chose the canapes, chose the family style serving (which allowed the guests to chat even more), and the different foods being served for dinner from their menu. The food was high class, so we got lucky here! As far as the tradition of cake, Ray and I don’t even like cake, so we didn’t have one! We chose a table with a variety of desserts. If we could, we would’ve served our favorite desserts from all the different restaurants we’ve been to! But that is impossible in our situation for many reasons, so we opted out of this one!
If you don’t like cake or any of the normal wedding traditions, just take it out! Alternatively, if you love to cook, you can have a cookout at your wedding! I’m sure you will love to feed your friends and family and show off a little while you’re at it! You can also have a potluck and ask your aunties and any foodie friends to share their specialty with the rest of the guests. Ask for this instead of a wedding gift, and it will be a great way for your guests to bond over food!
Seating arrangements – I always thought it was weird that if your significant other is part of the wedding party, you have to sit separately from them during the reception dinner. I also always thought it was weird that your parents are not honored enough during the wedding. Ray and I opted against a head table to be paraded in front of the guests. We sat at a long table with his family by his side and my family by my side. We wanted to honor our families who we proudly got married for. Our wedding party sat with their friends and significant others!
You don’t have to do ANY of the wedding traditions. You can make your own! If neither of you like dancing, then why even have a dance floor? If you love to cook, cook for your friends and family! If you love to craft, create romantic projects with your friends and family! See what is important for you as a couple, and go from there! Profess your love for each other in a personal and unique way, and you will remember and love celebrating that day forever!