How to add tradition to your wedding

Adding something small to remember those you've lost and gained will be a highlight later on.

Adding something small to remember those you’ve lost and gained will be a highlight later on.

A wedding is often filled with sentimental touches – traditional and non-traditional. Today, many couples find imaginative ways to incorporate new and time-tested customs to their day. Here’s how to add tradition to your wedding in your own way and in older ways.

Honoring the Past
Weddings are often filled with rituals and emotions that interlace the past with the present. Many couples wish to honor family members who are no longer with them or who may be unable to attend. You can do this by adding photo charms of loved ones to your bridal bouquet; they can be visibly displayed on the arrangement or discreetly hidden within.

Some brides wrap the stems of their bouquet with a piece of lace from their mother’s or grandmother’s wedding dress. Or you may place a piece of that vintage lace in a locket or use it to create your traditional garter.
An old handkerchief that belonged to a past male or female family member can become part of your occasion. Embroider it with your wedding date or a sentimental message. It can be carried by the bride, incorporated into the bouquet, or tucked into the groom’s or father-of-the-bride’s pocket.

A wedding is often a time for you to reflect on your formative years and acknowledge how important your families have been in your lives. Placing early and current photos of your parents and grandparents (especially wedding photos) on adorned tables at your wedding or reception is popular.

Wedding pictures of Brittany Moss’s and Christopher Styga’s parents and grandparents will be displayed on a decorated table at their July 2016 ceremony. “My maternal grandparents still have the wedding topper that was on their 1954 wedding cake,” says Brittany. “We’ll display this under a glass cloche on the table with other family pictures.” If past-generation wedding dresses are well preserved, they can be displayed on forms at the wedding or reception.

Dates, Messages and More
Words are an intimate means of expression. A personal message embroidered on the back of the groom’s or father’s ties creates a sentimental remembrance. Some brides are embroidering their wedding date on the inside hem of their bridal gown.

Traditionally, many couples have had their wedding date engraved on the inside of their bands. You may want to be more creative and have the title of your favorite song, a meaningful quote, or words of endearment inscribed into your rings.

In this age of digital communication, a hand-written love letter given to each other prior to the ceremony is a rare keepsake that you will treasure for years. Have your photographer capture the moments you read them.
Create time capsules prior to your wedding. Individually, write your personal predictions for one, 10, 25, 40, and 50 years from your wedding date and place them in containers to be opened on that appropriate anniversary. Include your dreams for the milestone years — where you think your relationship, career and home will be.

That First Look
Photographers can capture your once-in-a-lifetime shots with creative sentimentality. Plan to have the moment you lay eyes on your future mate (before the ceremony in a private setting) snapped by your photographer. Similarly, schedule an intimate moment to have your father see his “little girl” in her wedding dress for the first time.

Let the Guests Get to Know You
Many wedding guests know one member of the wedding party better than the other. Place photos around the reception area of both of you as babies, children, teens, college students, and as a dating couple. Display a photo timeline beginning with when you met. Show the things you have done, and the places you have traveled together.
Whether it’s something old or something new, the sentimental touches you add to your wedding enhance your memorable day.

“Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Sixpence in Her Shoe.”

This is an old English rhyme that was often recited during the Victorian era and has been passed on to become a superstitious wedding ritual. It is thought that if the bride wears or carries each of the first four items (ignoring the sixpence, which is primarily a British custom) on her wedding day, she will have the good fortunes they represent. Something old signifies continuity, something new is for the future, something borrowed symbolizes happiness, and something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity

Shar Peters

Shar Peters has been freelance writing for more than 20 years. She lives in Peachtree City with her husband, Charlie, and their two dogs. Shar loves to travel, and with children and grandchildren living in six different states, there is always someone to visit, something to do, and a guaranteed new adventure in store.

January 7, 2016

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