An alternative to the alternative

We are not unique in wanting a ‘unique wedding’. It  sometimes seems like we are all competing to have the most unique, most inventive, most creatively inspired day to reflect us as individuals.
The desire to have individual and unusual weddings presumably evolved as a backlash to the ‘cooky cutter’ weddings of the 80′s and 90′s and before. When everything had to be done exactly as at everyone elses wedding. Bridesmaid dresses HAD to match. The men HAD to wear morning suits. You HAD to provide a three course sit down dinner with coffee to follow. Aunty Brenda HAD to be invited even though you hadn’t seen her in 20 years.
So we all rebelled. We put our girls in non matching dresses and our boys in grey two piece suits. Hog roasts and bbq’s and afternoon teas usurped the sit down dinner. Invites went only to those friends and family who really meant something to us.
The first people who did this truly were unique. They made a stand against the wedding industry, who told us that by doing this these brides would draw the wrath of the wedding gods.
But now, are we really being unique or creative by having cupcakes, or outdoor games, or a non ballgown shaped dress? Or are we all just helping to create the new ‘cooky cutter’ wedding? When we look down on people for having a receiving line, or boys in morning suits, or a plain white wedding cake, are we really being just as dictated to by the wedding industry as the people 20 years ago were who looked down on brides for NOT having these things?
I agree with showing off your own style and making the day your own. And I certainly didn’t want a ‘traditional’ wedding, and all of the trappings that come with that (and neither do I need a chocolate fountain or a magician to make my wedding day more entertaining, but I’ll leave that for another post). But now neither do I want the ‘traditional alternative’ wedding which seems to have become the norm. 
I am pretty sure that just as we look at weddings from the eighties in horror and laugh at the big dresses and moustaches,  in 2030 our children will look back on weddings from today and laugh about our lace wedding dresses and messy hair with flowers, and photobooths with moustaches on sticks*. Just like everything else, weddings are ruled by trends, and will, unless you try really REALLY hard, never be timeless.
So between the two of us we have taken the parts of traditional and ‘alternative’ weddings that we like, and thrown out any that we don’t. We will be having speeches, but we won’t be having a receiving line, because we’d rather make an effort to speak to everyone throughout the day The men will be in morning suits, because the man wanted to feel dressed up (he wears a suit everyday) but they won’t be wearing cravats. We won’t have a cake to cut because that means nothing to us, but we’ll probably have a first dance. My bridesmaids will have matching dresses as there are only two of them and they both loved the same dress, but they are accessorising themselves.
So what I really want to say is, have the day YOU want. The two of you that is. Don’t feel pressure to have the big traditional wedding. But equally don’t feel pressure to do the ‘alternative’ wedding thing either. Take the pieces that mean something to you and weave them into your day. Don’t feel that you have to have the coolest wedding, or the most unique wedding, and especially not the most blogworthy wedding. If you want a church wedding followed by a reception in the local hotel. GO FOR IT. If you want a bbq on the beach. GO FOR IT. But just make sure you do it because that’s what you want, and not because it’s what other people tell you you should want.
* all of which we will be having by the way – don’t want you to think I’M laughing at them. I do know that my children will laught at them though.
Categories: Wedding Planning, Wedding Pretty
8 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted August 11, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi! As both a bride to be and a wedding designer, I have a bit of a "one odd out" take on this. I think that the couple should use the wedding design and planning process as a wonderful moment of mutual knowledge. Kind of a pre-Cana program. Discuss what matters to you, why, how. What things, colors, elements make you happy. Merge your worlds (THAT is what a wedding ceremony is, isn't it???). Design your wedding (color, decor, elements, theme, traditions, music, food, make-up, attire, and so forth) according to what the both of you like and cherish the most. It's the ONLY way to have a wedding that is both unique and authentic. If you are yourself and you march at the beat of your own drum, well, you will FOR SURE have a wedding that is unique and authentic. Of course, if you aren't authentic, like to fake, are in fake relationships, etc, then this way of getting it done is not feasible ;)

  2. Posted August 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    You're right about it being virtually impossible to have a truly "timeless" wedding, but I think that's okay. The idea of marriage is timeless, but each individual act of marriage will forever be anchored in the moment it takes place.

    So what if the haircuts and dresses and entertainment take on comedy value twenty years down the line? As long as you're being absolutely true in that moment – the moment when you commit your whole self to another person for the rest of your life – everything else is just so much fluff.

  3. Posted August 12, 2010 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Very well written as ever Fliss. I'd have loved to have met S 10 years ago but from a style of wedding day I'm so glad I didin't. I love that today we can make it our own day and not be so tied to convention. I also know my perspective has changed from being this side of married. Yes all the finery (in what ever shape you choose) does make the day but what I really take from our weddng day nearly one year on? Our vows, our wedding rings and having a few photographs of the two of us beaming in our home.

  4. Posted August 12, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    It's like you are reading my mind. I have been trying to write something similar for ages.

    So true.

    Our wedding will be a true representation of "us" and hopefully not trendy! If it is so what!?

  5. Posted August 13, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    This post is so true!!

    Well written Fliss xx

  6. Posted August 15, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Hey Fliss,

    Loved this post, I have been thinking about this also.

    It became apparent to me when we got engaged I HAD to have cupcakes… now, after seeing them at 468* weddings, I won't have cupcakes at my wedding. Not that there's anything wrong with them, but I get quite bored of ideas if I see them too often.

    So yeah, I'm gonna focus on what I fancy.
    Easier said than done though I reckon.


  7. Posted August 23, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Trends come and go, but I think it's important to get across how happy you are. If you need 100 white doves released from a church yard or a fish and chip supper, it'll work if YOU (the Bride and groom) are happy with it. You wouldn't believe the amount of bridal stuff I've read lately that seems to mention the love aspect and the guy himself as a bit of an after thought. Have what you want and screw everyone else, I'm totally with you on that one!

  8. Posted October 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for this, I've been subconsciously having the "different" vs. "traditional" argument with myself, and it's reassuring to realise that it's totally normal to have something in between – which is what we have come up with! Lucie

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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