Wedding Traditions: Do We Still Give a Toss?

by | Ceremony Wisdom, Wisdom


Gary Clementson of Marry us Gary
Image: Dan Evans

We’ve all heard the saying ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ and have scrambled (or not) to catch the bouquet. But when it comes to wedding traditions, it’s hard to know what to keep and what to toss.

What makes a legit wedding?
Wedding traditions have become so entwined in our idea of what a marriage ceremony is, but very little of the fuddy-duddery is actually required to get you married.

All that is legally required from the celebrant is to introduce themselves, use your full legal names once during the ceremony, and rattle off three sentences of legal jargon about what marriage is according to the law in Australia. All that is legally required from the lucky couple is both party’s vow (aka ‘I take thee to be my lawful wedded husband / wedded wife’) and the signing of three documents (witnessed by two chums who are over 18, understood the ceremony, and aren’t too pissed!) That’s it. Everything else is totally up to you. Purple wedding dress, male Maid of Honour, champagne for guests during the ceremony, flash-mob, it’s all allowed!

Where do I sit?
Family members will often ask which side of the aisle to sit on. Traditionally one side of the church was for the friends and family of the bride and the other side was for the groom. But nowadays – it doesn’t matter. Insider tip: if you want to the best view of the bride, find out from the celebrant which side of the altar the she will be standing on, and sit in the chairs diagonally opposite.

Image: Lucie Weddings

Where do I stand?
There is no rule to which side each person has to stand on at the altar. Traditionally the groom was to the left of the celebrant (facing the crowd) so his sword was easily accessible in case anything untoward kicked off, but bar a band of medieval knights rolling into the ceremony on horseback, no need for the cutlery. I’ve got your back.

Who walks down the aisle?
It’s lovely to be walked down the aisle by one of your nearest and dearest but it is definitely not a legal requirement that it be your dad. Long gone are the days of the business transaction style wedding, so let’s try something different. You can be escorted down the aisle by either parent, all parents, a family member, a friend, your pets, little relatives, your fiancé, or even feel free strut down the catwalk solo.

To church or not to church?
In some cases the couple is from two different religious backgrounds and have decided to forgo a church and use a civil celebrant. A top-shelf celebrant will include the elements from both your backgrounds to create a unique and personalised ceremony that celebrates this diversity while keeping the in-laws happy. Above all, it’s about what the couple wants on their special day. Including your cultural traditions will make your ceremony magical, unique and personal to you.

Image: Cocti Cibils

The kiss
This is a tradition you are not going to want to miss. Once you’re pronounced married, it’s kiss time. Go for gold! Take your time to avoid the Quick Nervous Peck, or missing your mark. If it happens, don’t worry! Just go in for another. Everyone loves a good pash, so I’ll let you decide the duration.

Whose name?
At the grand finale of the ceremony, your nearest and dearest welcome you into the world as the newest married couple in Australia. The celebrant can introduce you both to the world as Johnny and Jill, Mr and Mrs Johnson, Mr and Mrs Jillson, Mrs and Mr Jillson-Johnson, Brangelina combinations, Love Squad, whatever you like.

Make sure you work with a celebrant who can incorporate all the traditions you love and give the boring/sexist ones the old heave hoe. Your personality, heritage and love should be celebrated with aplomb, in a tailored ceremony that is unique, and most importantly, authentically you.

Ms Floral Says: This advice is so on the money. Only include the traditions you are comfortable with, give the others a miss, and enjoy your day YOUR way!

About Gary Clementson of Marry Us Gary: G’day lovebirds, my name is Gazza and I’m a cheeky, adventurous, fun-loving and relaxed marriage celebrant and wedding MC.

I deliver a wedding experience that will have you and your guests smiling, laughing, and shedding a happy tear or two. I can tailor a ceremony to suit any venue or request. I also offer an MC service, if you want to continue the good times into the night.


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