20 Things You Don’t Have To Do At Your Wedding

Over the last few weeks I’ve answered a couple wedding-related questions in my “Dear Wendy” column that left me wondering why people are still following outdated “rules” when planning a wedding. One person who wrote me worried that her fiancé would have more guests on “his side” than she’d have on hers; the letter I posted yesterday incited a debate about the etiquette of organizing a wedding party. As someone who got married last summer, I know there can be a lot of outside pressure on the people planning the wedding and it’s easy to lose sight of what’s most important and meaningful to them, so after the jump, a helpful reminder of 20 things you do not have to do at your wedding (no matter what the mother-of-the-bride might say!).1. Serve cake.
Go with cupcakes if you want. Or pie! Or an assortment of baked goods.

2. Exchange rings.
Maybe matching tattoos are more your thing. That’s cool.

3. Do silly dances.
The dollar dance may make you a little beer money for the honeymoon, but if you feel like a dork doing it, don’t!

4. Have your dad walk you down the aisle.
You could have your mom walk you down the aisle instead, or both of them, or neither of them. (I went to a wedding last weekend where the bride and groom walked each other down the aisle) Here’s a thought: you could walk down the aisle all by yourself like a big girl!

5. Walk down an aisle at all.
Maybe there isn’t even an “aisle” where you’re getting married or you’d rather just start at the spot you’re exchanging your vows. Go for it.

6. Wear white.
Any color of the rainbow is appropriate if it makes you feel beautiful; it’s your day, after all.

7. Separate the bride’s guests from the groom’s guests.
You’re combining your lives so, really, it’s OK to combine the guest list, too.

8. Have just one Maid of Honor or Best Man.
Do you have two best friends or a friend and sibling you’re equally close to? Make them both MoHs! Or don’t have a Maid of Honor at all. Or make everyone general bridesmaids. I mean, who really cares?

9. Have only women in the bridal party and men in the groom party.
If he’s your gay BFF, why is he a groomsman representing your fiancé? Get him over on your side where he belongs. He doesn’t have to wear a dress!

10. Have equal number of men and women in the wedding party.
It’s not going to throw off the balance of the universe if you have three woman in the wedding party and seven men. Who knows — maybe the bridal party will thank you for increased odds of getting laid after the reception.

11. Have a wedding party at all.
Your friends will probably thank you.

12. Toss your bouquet.
It’s awkward for the single girls anyway.

13. Include extended family members you hardly know.
Your grandmother’s second cousin who lives in Boca will get over it if she’s not invited. Whether your grandmother will get over it, though, is a different story …

14. Toast with champagne.
Nothing wrong with clinking your flask full of gin (not in my book, anyway).

15. Be thin.
Despite what Slim Fast might have you believe, you don’t need to drop a pound to look gorgeous on your wedding day.

16. Wear makeup that makes you feel like a plastic doll.
Don’t let anyone talk you into wearing anything — including makeup — you aren’t comfortable with. You may look stunning to everyone else, but if you aren’t feeling it, it’s not worth it.

17. Have a sit-down dinner reception.
If it’s not in your budget or it’s just not “you,” you can have a cocktail hour instead, or lunch reception, or even a potluck (I’ve heard of people asking their guests to bring a dish to share in lieu of a wedding gift).

18. Have live music.
Plug your iPod into some speakers and save yourself hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars on musicians. It won’t affect the dance party.

19. Carry flowers.
Ditch the bouquet altogether if you want, or go with something more creative, like a vintage brooch bouquet (so cool!).

20. Spend more than you can comfortably afford.
Stick to your budget and you’ll start your marriage off on strong financial footing.

And 5 things that never go out of style at weddings:

  1. Greeting each guest personally and thanking them for coming.
  2. Having seats for those who can’t stand for extended periods of time.
  3. Supplying refreshments that everyone can enjoy (remembering any dietary restrictions guests may have).
  4. Sending prompt and personalized thank you notes for gifts.
  5. Sticking to your guns and throwing a ceremony that best reflects you.
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