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20 Traditions to Forget on Your Wedding Day

Wedding etiquette is great, but some classic rules are dated or not worth the money. See which traditions you can totally ignore when planning your big day.

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Photo: GettyImages/asiseeit

You Can't See Each Other Before the Wedding

One of the biggest things people debate when planning a wedding is whether or not to do a first look. There really is something romantic about not seeing each other before the wedding ceremony, but I have to say that I did a first look and it was my favorite part of the day. What people don’t tell you is that your wedding day goes by in the blink of an eye. You’re rushed around so much, getting ready and making sure you say hello to everyone and posing for this or posing for that and I found the first look to be incredibly special and also absolutely necessary. It was great to have that time before all the guests arrived to just be together and be present. Most of the day went by so quickly that I only remember flashes, but I remember the moments walking up behind my wife, tapping her on the shoulder and her turning around so vividly. I am so glad we carved out that time to make those memories and it shows in our wedding portraits. My favorite shots of the two of us were taken during the first look.

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Photo: GettyImages/sjharmon

You Have to Wear Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

I really got hung up on this superstition when I was planning my wedding accessories. For various reasons, I didn’t have family heirlooms to wear for my "something old" or "something borrowed" so I turned to vintage shopping. I scored some gorgeous T-straps on Poshmark that worked beautifully with my Art Deco-inspired dress. And I didn’t want to wear something blue so I used a vintage handkerchief with tiny blue flowers during the ceremony for happy tears. I created my own good luck charms in my own way. But remember, it’s just an old English rhyme and you don’t have to follow all of it (or any of it) as a style guide.

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Photo: GettyImages/Neustockimages

You Must be Walked Down the Aisle

It’s your big day and there is no wrong or right way to do a ceremony processional. I walked down the aisle alone because I felt more comfortable that way and, as a modern woman, didn't feel the need for anyone to symbolically give me away. But if you do want someone to walk with you, remember that it doesn’t have to be your father. Traditional Jewish wedding processionals have both the mother and father escort a bride or a groom. I’ve also seen the maid of honor or a best friend walk a bride down the aisle. And, in the last couple of years, I’ve seen couples walk in together or meet each other halfway down the aisle.

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You Have to Sit on a Specific Side

I’ve always thought that the idea of deliberately dividing up your wedding guests is a little odd since a wedding is about coming together. These rules about left or right side can be problematic for same-sex couples, couples who share friends or especially couples where one person has a lot more family than the other. These days, couples are shaking up ceremony arrangements. They’re getting married in the round where guests encircle them with love or having guests sit down at the reception tables for the ceremony. If you’re having a more traditional ceremony with chairs on the left and the right, you can have ushers tell guests or display a sign that lets them know to pick a seat, not a side.

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