How to Start a New Tradition at Your Wedding

We asked top wedding professionals for their favorite ways they’ve seen couples incorporate new traditions into their weddings. 

wedding ceremony
Photo: Jocelyn Filley Photography

We’re entering an era when more and more couples are looking to embrace and reignite tradition in their wedding ceremonies. But how can couples who don’t have a long history of wedding traditions in their family find a way to highlight traditions at their own weddings? Here’s what the wedding pros had to say:

"Start by thinking about your family traditions first. What are the memories you have as a family at large gatherings, and how can you entwine them into your wedding weekend and festivities leading up to the big day? I’ve seen couples really struggle on how to include this into the already packed wedding day, easily forgetting that sometimes the shower, rehearsal dinner, or morning after brunch might be a great place to integrate the new tradition into their wedding celebration." —Shannon Tarrant, Wedding Venue Map

"Start a tradition by recognizing and honoring the chosen family. Chosen family does not need to be blood relatives but rather people who have supported you and your fiancee throughout the years. Starting a new tradition by recognizing a chosen family sends a powerful message about the value of love and support. This is especially helpful when the couple does not have strong family support. This tradition can create a more meaningful wedding ceremony honoring the people who stand behind the couple." —Mary Angelini, Key Moment Films

"Many couples are choosing to incorporate more of their cultural identity into their wedding day. In the form of cultural attire, I had one couple do a special first look together at the getting-ready location. After arriving at the wedding venue, the couple changed and did a first look in their traditional wedding attire as well. This cultural wedding attire first look could also happen during cocktail hour before the couple joins their guests for fun." —Sarah Blessinger, Kindred Weddings and Events

"Skipping out on the bouquet toss and garter tosses! Instead of making these a thing, they are making more personal statements, like reading their vows during the toasts and giving space to honor those who have passed. I think it is important to remember how many people have lost loved ones in recent years, and they may have wanted them there on their day. The more you can bring them in to celebrate — a moment, a photograph, or a piece of art — the more you feel connected to your history and your future." —Jen Sulak, Weirdo Weddings

"This may be a bit too modern for many, but getting ready together as a couple is a new tradition that supports the idea that in a partnership. It symbolizes equality for the wedding day — and marriage. Gay and lesbian couples started this tradition to symbolize equality and create a sense of togetherness. We are seeing a shift in couples outside of the LGBTQ community getting ready together, too. This new tradition symbolizes the focus on equality in the relationship and the importance of mental health. Couples can find comfort in getting ready together, alleviating stress and anxiety." —Mary Angelini, Key Moment Films

"For couples seeking to intentionally create a practice at their wedding that will develop into a long-lasting tradition, choosing an action or using an item that will transcend trends, seasons, and cultures is valuable. Because wedding trends are ever-changing, creating a tradition based on a trending phenomenon is ineffective since future generations will not value the craze. A tradition requires timelessness and also mandates the wedding season to be flexible. Because future generations or individuals will not determine their wedding date based on tradition, meaningful practice to the family should be applicable regardless of the season." —Sarah Anderson, Twickenham House and Hall

"The most unique tradition I have seen from one of my couples was regarding reception toasts. Instead of inviting their guests to make toasts about the couple, the couple got up and made toasts about every single one of their guests. It was a small enough guest count that they could highlight individuals and groups of friends and their importance in the couple’s relationship. All of their guests got to know more about the other guests, which helped foster more communication and connection within the group." —Sarah Blessinger, Kindred Weddings and Events

At the end of the day, what’s most important and impactful to your guests is having a wedding that reflects who you are as a couple. As Dee Lee from Dee Lee Designs puts it: “Be uniquely you. Do something that everyone will say, ‘OMG, that is so them.’ It allows you to be yourself and have fun with it. You never know what will go viral these days."