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  • Writer's pictureTheresa R

Do you really want a non-traditional wedding?

A wedding party laughing with joy after a wedding ceremony

I got married in 1999, in another world that would make 25 years married this year, which really is quite something. It is this world though, which means we divorced in 2011, a mere 11 years in. This isn't a story of woe though, it's a story of choices, if I knew I had options back then, I would have made different choices.

I was really young when I got married (obviously! Don't go trying to work out my age now, haha!) A twenty something year old who thought I was supposed to be married and have a man support and protect me was who I was back then. I was also part of a Church and so was my fiancé, which meant that traditional, Christian vows and values were definitely the order of the day. In fact, I didn't think there was another way.

No judgement now, most weddings back in 1999 were quite traditional, that was normal life, "back in the day"!

We did the whole, no sex before marriage, don't see each other the night before, wear white (though I'm pretty sure my dress was ivory), wear a garter, parents pay for the wedding, say extremely traditional vows which included the words "submit to my husband" and more.

Even then, we had aspects of an evangelical church in our ceremony, such as: Bible verses for the readings and prayers said for us by church members. Don't get me wrong, it was special and lovely and everyone enjoyed it. I distinctly remember the driver telling us afterwards that he really enjoyed attending such a chill and 'happy clappy' church wedding as he'd never seen anything like it.

I remember the day with fondness with some very special memories made. My great granny, who was 92 at the time, had flown from New Zealand specially for my wedding. An absolute queen! My granny had flown in from Zimbabwe. One of my very best friends from South Africa, lots of family members and friends from Portugal and Italy. A melting pot of our best humans coming together to create beautiful memories. I smiled so much my face hurt and we all danced a ceilidh, truly a lovely day!

Why this story though? Well, I didn't fully know then that a traditional wedding wasn't what I really wanted. I had the niggles, everyone does I expect, but I wasn't sure then why that was.

Traditional isn't me. I didn't have the voice to say that then. I also wasn't sure what non-traditional in a wedding looked like either. In fact the only real non-traditional thing was my fiancé had basically organised the whole wedding, including the honeymoon, instead of me!

Traditional isn't me.

I didn't know that a non-traditional wedding / ceremony was an option then either. Celebrants weren't really a thing in the UK then and of course I was part of a Church - so we did things the way we did them.

I would do things very differently nowadays, I am a different person with many a life experience behind me so it makes sense that I would. I cannot change the past and truly, I wouldn't want to. I cherish those memories despite a divorce many years later.

I would also encourage those who are engaged and planning their wedding to think about what they really want. Are you thinking traditional because that's what's always been done, because your family have strong views about it, because you aren't really sure what's the "wrong or right" way to do your ceremony?

There are SO many options nowadays, in fact it's overwhelming how many options there are! (that's another story for another day). The options and examples out there mean you can truly make your wedding day and wedding ceremony your own.

You can start your own tradition. You can do your own thing. You can make informed choices.

Do you want a non-traditional wedding? If the answer is no, that's all good, there's a space for that too.

If the answer is a resounding Yes! Then Go For It! There are really no rules - especially if you use a Celebrant - just saying!

(c) T. Ribeiro

I'd love to know your thoughts on today's post, please leave a comment in the box below or head to my website to find out more about your ceremony: Ribeiro Ceremonies

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