When Shuva Rahim and Scott Lewis married a few years ago, they skipped a lot of wedding formalities like speeches and dances, replacing those moments with dinner and conversation. They incorporated literature and outside cultures in their Muslim-Christian wedding. Plus they saw each other before the ceremony.
"We did a few things in reverse order," says Rahim, who is also a wedding photographer. "For example, a month and a half before the wedding, we went on our honeymoon and took a trip to Scotland. It was our best trip to date."
The decision to skip some typical wedding customs is gaining in popularity, as more couples forgo traditions such as the garter toss or cake cutting.
"You can break any wedding rule you want to nowadays, as long as you don't
offend or hurt anyone intentionally in the process," says Sandy Malone, blogger and star of TLC's "Wedding Island" and Fox's "Bodas Increibles."
For example, Malone says it's not expected anymore that a bride ask her sisters or sisters-in-law to be bridesmaids, "if you're not close to them or you don't have a large wedding party, but be sure to let them know what you're doing early in the planning so there are no unreasonable expectations."
Take a look at some traditions that wedding professionals recommend forgetting.
As a bride and groom, you don't necessarily have to dress formally.
"Typically, most weddings are a formal affair and requires a certain style of dress," says Danielle Farrell, event planner with The Betty Brigade, a personal assistance and concierge service. "However, if that isn't what you want to do, then don't do it."
Take shoes for example: Some grooms wear sneakers and many brides don flip flops.
*Break Gender Rules
If your best friend is a man, why can't he be your represent you in the bridal party? Don't get hung up on the idea that ladies can only support the bride and guys have to stand next to the groom. Mixing gender roles is OK. The groom's sister can definitely be the "Best Woman" in the wedding party.
*Skip the Sit-down Dinner
Plated meals can be pricey. Plus, they're so scheduled that someone is always "done way before the last table is served," says Johnna Guzman of Purple Fire Productions.
Try getting more interactive with your food options instead. "Chef stations and creative food bars are much more fun and way less restrictive," says Guzman.
These days, couples don't want overly posed pictures. Instead they're looking for more relaxed photo styles and willing to break with the tradition of not seeing each other before the wedding. The result? First look photos of the bride and groom shot before the ceremony.
"I am a huge fan of the first look," says Leann Moore of Whimsical Floral Design. "The most incredible photos come from this private moment between the couple without all the eyes on them."
*Toss the Tradition
Instead of having a garter toss, more and more couples are tossing away that tradition.
"Every single one of my brides has vetoed this awkward moment," says Guzman.
*Don't Worry About Wedding White
Wedding colors may traditionally be white and ivory but those aren't the only color choices.
"There is a plethora of fresh new colored wedding gowns," says Moore, noting a light blue chiffon gown.
Many designers have added color including lavender, red, silver and blush to their bridal fashions.
*Avoid Strict Venues
Frustrated because your venue won't stray from the standard menu? You're not alone. Many couples are ditching venues and vendors that are too rigid.
"My clients look for flexible, fun spaces where we have more freedom to create and design versus traditional, expensive venues with rules," says Guzman.
*Forget the Cake
Who says you have to have wedding cake? You can serve cupcakes, cookies, pastries and candies for a sweet treat. Some couples even host an ice cream sundae bar.
"You don't have to do anything you don't want to," says Farrell. "It's your day!"