Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

November 2021

10 Commonly Followed Wedding Traditions That Couples Can Break Away From For Their Big Day

Three years ago, we wrote about the 10 commonly practiced traditions that couples can choose to forgo for their wedding day. Today, we’re back with a second instalment, with more wedding traditions that are okay to break away from.

As you know, weddings are made up of numerous traditions that were passed down from the generations before us decades and centuries ago. Some of these traditions are directly tied to our cultural roots while others are borne out of superstition or trends. Even though the times and trends have changed over the years, modern day couples are still expected to follow these centuries-old wedding traditions even if they bear no relevance or significance in the modern world or for them.

In this second instalment on wedding traditions that are okay for couples to break away with, we’ve listed out 10 wedding traditions that couples can leave out of their big day if they bear no relevance for them or their wedding day.

1. You need an elaborate gown for the wedding

Samantha and Jarred’s “Love You To The Moon And Back” Minimony at Open Farm Community by Justrealle Photography

Who says you need to put on a formal and elaborate dress to get married? While that may be the trend for brides back in the day, modern brides are opting for simpler dresses that offer an elegant yet minimalist look for their big day.

If your wedding is an intimate affair or taking place at a less informal venue such as a restaurant or event space, you may even want to skip the wedding dress and pick an outfit that complements your personality and venue. More brides are also opting to don a modern cheongsam instead of a traditional white wedding gown, paying homage to our Chinese heritage by adding an oriental vibe to their celebrations.

At the end of the day, whether you choose to wear a formal and embellished wedding dress or opt for something less conventional and informal is up to you. If your wedding dream is to float down the aisle in an embellished ballgown, then go ahead and do so. But if that idea doesn’t rock your boat, don’t feel compelled to put one on just because every other bride is doing so. It is your wedding day, so you get to choose what you want to wear on the biggest day of your life.

2. Your wedding dress has to have lace on it

Reaiah and Jeremy’s Intimate and Heartfelt Wedding at Conrad Centennial Singapore by Smittenpixels Photography

Somewhere along the way, lace became synonymous with wedding dresses. Whether we’re talking about Guipure lace, embroidered lace or Chantilly lace, brides just can’t seem to leave this delicate and romantic fabric out of their wedding dresses.

If lace of any kind isn’t quite your cup of tea, you don’t have to include it on your wedding dress. There are so many fabrics out there that are just as beautiful as lace, so don’t be afraid to veer off the common path and opt for a less common fabric for your wedding dress.

3. You have to wear a ballgown for your wedding

Yolande and Choon Kiat’s Intimate Rooftop Wedding at Artemis by Pixioo

Gone are the days where brides are expected to walk down the aisle in a big, fluffy ballgown that would rival Cinderella’s. Modern brides today are leaning more towards sleek and minimalist gowns with little or no details at all for their once-in-a-lifetime.

Smaller gowns have the same grandeur and elegance as big, ballgowns, regardless of the size of your wedding, so don’t be afraid to opt for a slim, mermaid silhouette or a svelte A-line dress for your wedding day.

4. You have to be in a dress

Phyllis and Leslie’s Lush, Light-Filled Wedding at PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering by Kai from Kai Picture

Again, it is your wedding day. Don’t let what brides before you dictate what you should wear for your once-in-a-lifetime. Just because they choose to put a dress doesn’t mean you have to, especially if dresses are not your thing. There are plenty of bridal separates and pants options for modern brides to choose from.

If you feel more you in a top-and-pants or jumpsuit, then by all means wear that for your big day. After all, you’re supposed to love and feel comfortable in your wedding outfit.

5. You need to wear bridal or high-heeled shoes

Janice and Gerald’s Magical Harry Potter Wedding in Orchidville by Click! Photography

It used to be a thing for brides to wear bridal shoes in white, cream or nude to complement or blend into their wedding dress. Today, brides are allowed to wear whatever coloured shoe they fancy for their big day. Go for a bold coloured shoe for a pop of colour against your white gown, or opt for one in a neutral shade like blush if your gown is in a bold colour.

High-heeled shoes are hands-down every bride’s choice of footwear on their big day. It lengthens their form, making them look taller instantly, and gives them that oomph with every step they take. But, if you are not accustomed to walking in them, wearing them may work against you. You may end up tripping in them, spend too much time looking at your feet while trying your hardest not to trip or worse, end up with angry, painful blisters at the end of the day. Yikes!

I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but it is your wedding day, so you get to choose what you want to wear on your feet. You deserve to celebrate your once-in-a-lifetime in the way and style that you are most comfortable with, so if sneakers or boots are more aligned to your style of dressing and personality, then by all means go for it! Not only will your feet be oh-so-comfy the entire day, you’ll also be able to wear them after the wedding.

6. You don’t need a wedding stylist or planner; you can do it on your own

Azelle and Daniel’s Modern Traditional Wedding with Blooming Pink Florals at The Clifford Pier by Antelope Studios

Inspired by all the wedding boards on Pinterest and the stories about brides who styled and decorated their wedding on their own, you feel confident that you can do it too, without the help of a wedding stylist or planner. After all, if they can, so can you.

Before you jump on the “I DIY-ed and planned my own wedding” bandwagon, here’s a few questions to ask yourself. “Am I good with handicraft?”, “Do I have the time to style and decorate my wedding venue?”, “Do I have help with the styling and decorating?”, “Are there any savings if I styled and planned my own wedding, as compared to hiring a professional stylist and/or planner?”.

If you answered “no” to most of these questions, then my advice is for you to skip the DIY and hire a professional, especially if you are planning on having an elaborate set-up for your wedding. Professional wedding stylists and planners are experienced with handling a big-scale event like weddings and have a team of specialists behind them to help with the coordination, planning and styling.

While wedding stylists or planners may not come cheap (you are paying for their experience, expertise, skill and the materials needed to style your wedding), you’re definitely able to find one who meets your needs and budget with a little research. With a stylist and/or planner, you don’t have to worry about the coordination and logistics of your big day, and can spend your time elsewhere on other wedding matters or on yourself. So, do set aside some of your wedding budget for a wedding stylist and/or planner; we promise, you won’t regret it.

7. You have to use pastel shades for your wedding

Michelle and William’s Beautiful and Intimate Botanico Wedding by The Beautiful Moment Photography

Who said weddings have to be decked out in sweet, pastel colours? While I love a wedding in sweet shades (I had one!), it’s completely okay if you want the opposite for your big day. Bold and dark shades can be just as beautiful, romantic and elegant as the more popular pastel tones, so don’t shy away from them.

Go for happy, vibrant shades to add a pop of colour and fun to your celebration or opt for deep, autumn-winter tones for a touch of elegance and grandeur to the occasion. Can’t decide on a colour palette? Let the real couples in our Real Weddings stories inspire you!

8. Your groom has to wear a suit in conventional colours (like black, blue, white)

Sheena and Vivegan’s Stellar at 1-Altitude Wedding with Bold Florals by Thomas Tan Photography

Unlike brides, grooms tend to be a little more conservative when it comes to picking their wedding suit, gravitating towards safe colours like black, midnight blue, white or beige.

Well, that was yesteryear. Modern day grooms are starting to be more adventurous in their choice of wedding suits, opting for unconventional colours like burgundy or patterned suits to add a touch of colour and fun to the celebration.

If your groom can pull off a full coloured or patterned suit, then by all means wear one and ditch the conventional ones. Alternatively, if your man is not comfortable with veering too far off the common path, he can consider sporting patterns or colours on parts of his wedding suit, such as the inner lining of his jacket, his pocket square and even in his tie or socks, instead of sporting it on the entire suit.

9. You have to walk down the aisle with your father

Shauna and Rainer’s Dreamy and Intimate Wedding at Spago by Annabel Law Productions

The bride’s father (and in some cases, her mother) walking her down the aisle towards her husband-to-be is a common sight in most, if not all, weddings around the world. But, why not walk down the aisle together with the man you’ll be promising the rest of your life to? After all, you’ll be walking through life’s ups and downs with him, why not start doing it on the first day you’ll be pronounced “Mr and Mrs”?

While being “given away” by your father is a special father-daughter moment and treasured tradition that usually isn’t broken, you can look for other ways to honour your parents and create a new wedding tradition for your families.

10. You need to have a gatecrash planned for your wedding

Cleo and Paul’s Minimalist and Ethereal Art Gallery Wedding by Iki Company

The gatecrash is a big part of Chinese weddings. Traditionally, the gatecrash served as a test of the groom’s sincerity in marrying his bride. He would have to go through various tests before appearing in front of the bride. Today, the gatecrash is more symbolic and continues to be included in the celebration for the fun of it.

However, if you are not a fan of the idea of making your groom and his groomsmen sweat it out and consume not-so-delicious concoctions, or if you are pressed for time on your wedding day, you might want to consider skipping the gatecrash.

Instead, you might want to swop the gatecrash for a first-look with your groom, followed by a photoshoot with your bridal party. First looks are intimate, memorable and oh-so-personal, even if you’ve seen each other in your wedding outfits during your try-on sessions at the bridal boutique and have spent the last few years in each other’s company. It’ll be the first time you’ll see each other all dressed up in your wedding finery, and it is definitely a moment you’ll want to capture in photos.

Make the moment even more intimate by penning a letter to one another and read it out during your first look, so your wedding photographer can immortalise this precious moment for you to look back on after the wedding.

We’ve said it once (and many times in this article), and we’ll say it again – it is okay for you to step off the commonly taken path and make your own way. It is your wedding day and you shouldn’t be made to do anything you don’t want to do or believe in. So, if you don’t feel for any of these wedding traditions, then you should have a choice to leave it out of your wedding. However, if it is a tradition that is tied to your culture (like the Chinese tea ceremony or Guo Da Li), it is best for you and your groom to discuss it with your families to seek their understanding, permission and approval before you go ahead and leave it out.

But hey, if it is about whether you should wear a white wedding dress or have an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, then go ahead and break away from these traditions and make your own.

Feature image from Lalu and Chris’ Bright and Colourful Sapa-Inspired Backyard Wedding by Alvelyn Alko

All content from this article, including images, cannot be reproduced without credits or written permission from SingaporeBrides.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram for the latest article and promotion updates!