Wedding Traditions

Planning a wedding or an event of any kind is tough and I can’t even sugarcoat it. You’re planning for an event that basically marks one of the biggest milestones in your life, and that’s getting married. And naturally, you’re not the only one who has dreamed of that day ever since you were born — your parents have, too, believe it or not! And this is where the conflict begin when it comes to being traditional or “modern” when it comes to your wedding.

The Expectations

Odds are that you’ve been paying attention to wedding trends ever since you’ve become aware of websites that showcase them, if not before when you would leaf through bridal magazines at the book store or library with your friends when you were younger and you would imagine what your wedding would look like when it happens. I know I used to do that a lot with my friends. You have a vision and a plan that you’ve worked hard to come up with, albeit those ideas being potentially unrealistic and unachievable.

Just like you, they’ve been thinking about the day their little one would go off and get married. However, it is possible that they have different plans for you when it comes to your wedding. For example, they aren’t so easily convinced when it comes to the newer trends for dresses, colours, the idea of destination weddings (“but how will we invite all our friends?”). And they may not be so forgiving when it comes to letting go of some of the more traditional aspects of the wedding, such as the white dress,  the church ceremony, or the banquet hall reception.

The Compromise

In the end, you want your wedding planning process to be forgiving and as smooth as possible, and for everyone to enjoy your wedding as much as you know you and your partner will. If the differences in opinions are much too great, here’s a list of what I suggest each side does:

  1. Write down what aspects they feel is most important to them in the wedding;
  2. Write down alternatives to each options they could be okay with (for example, toss the banquet hall reception for an outdoor location to compromise for a destination wedding);
  3. Talk out each point with the parents, and come up with a reasonable alternative to each disagreement.

Some of the most common disagreements I have come across with friends and clients were some of the simplest details, and here’s how you can come up with a reasonable solution that could make both sides happy.

The Colour of the Dress

Some of the more popular options these days are to choose a bridal gown that is not white. This is a huge shocker to the older generation who is so used to the idea that a wedding involves a white dress. The best compromise is to go with an off-white/ivory /champagne colour dress, or a pale pink or blue that would still put the focus on the bride rather than take it away from her (which is so important to the older generation – hence the no-white rule for women attending a wedding).

The Silhouette of the Dress

This is from personal experience, where my mom wanted a ball gown/princess silhouette dress style, but I wanted something with less poof. I eventually went with the style that my mom liked most (because seriously, if your mom isn’t happy with your dress, are you? But maybe that was just me.) But I ended up playing with the silhouette until it matched that I was more comfortable with. Instead of using a ballgown slip under the dress, I used an A-line one that reduced the poof but kept it princess-y enough for my mom.


This applies more to Muslim weddings in which the bride is a hijabi, or covers her hair with a scarf or veil. In this case, it is so common for the parents to demand a women-only wedding, where non-related men are not allowed to attend the wedding so as to allow the hijabi bride to get her hair and makeup done as she would like, rather than have to remain conservative out of respect for her hijab. However, this varies between cultures. Some Arab cultures prefer a mixed wedding (where men and women attend the same wedding) rather than having a split wedding (where men and women attend the same wedding in two separate halls). The argument here is that the bride might want to spend time at the wedding with her new husband, but because of the split wedding rule, she may not be able to. The best compromise here is to allow the bride time with her groom either at the beginning of the wedding reception, or at the end, to take pictures, cut the cake, and have a first dance, while guests are told to be covered and only blood-related men can be present while the bride is uncovered.

Do What Makes You Happy

In the end, you as the bride and groom have to love the wedding you’re planning and paying for. The best you can do is try to come up with the solution that makes you happy and won’t have you regretting what you didn’t get to do. If there’s something you’re absolutely set on doing, try to explain to those who oppose it why it’s important to you, and ask them to understand that this is your day, and that they should try to respect your wishes.

All opinions are entirely my own based on my own experiences within the field. If you have any questions or comments and opinions that are different from mine, please post them below in the comment section. I would love to see what other people did and what worked for them. 


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