This generation is not afraid to change it up. My daughter is no exception. But when you mix generations, stuff happens. I had so much fun at my daughter and son-in-law’s wedding this past weekend, I’m not ready to let it go. I mean you plan, and you plan, and you plan for three weeks, and then it’s over in a heartbeat. What’s a mom to do? Keep talking about it for sure. But since the house is empty, I have no one but the cat to talk to, so I must write.
My sister-in-law and I talk about how Generation Y (the millennials) are not just minimalists with physical property, but they’re minimizing their traditions. They don’t care about the same things as their parents and grandparents. Many no longer worry about offending relatives or the older generation, and they no longer do something just because someone said they should. They do what they want. That’s not to say they’re a selfish generation (as a whole), but cultural norms are shifting.
Whether this is because of a loss of cultural identity related to globalization, or society’s emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and the importance of being uniquely you, it’s hard to say. But the fact is, traditions no longer outline holidays and special events. Regarding Tony and Mel’s wedding, I can’t say I’m sorry. Their special day was a breath of fresh air. Here’s why:
- It was small. Close family. This enabled everyone to spend quality time together. We all sat around one table and could converse easily, but there was enough noise it gave the feel of a celebration.
- The food was unique (for a wedding). Mel wanted soup, salad, and bread sticks. A nice diversion, and one of her favorites. And it was homemade which somehow made the meal feel more intimate. With such a small crowd, we could break out the good dishes. We were two setting shy of having enough, so we called the two mismatched pieces the bride and groom settings. Notice Mr. and Mrs. Gnome. Mel was adverse to traditional bride and groom decorations, but she loves gnomes. You have to admit they are adorable. I made a door decoration to match the centerpiece.
- The house was comfortable. This was probably my favorite non-traditional item because it allowed Mel and I to experience the food and decor over several days as we prepared. I love a good church wedding, but I have to admit staying in my house slippers was nice, too.
- Casual clothes. At a small wedding, there’s no need to impress the masses. No new outfit required. The bride and groom’s smiles are what we remember, not their clothes (or anyone else’s). And you can crop slippers, socked feet, and casual red shoes out of pictures. (Wait. I think she meant to wear those shoes <shrug>).
- Inexpensive. Want to start a marriage stress free? Don’t go into debt for invitations/Rsvp’s, napkins, table favors, etc. No one is keeping those things. Maybe this is why I’m breathing easy—no outstanding wedding debt for anyone. Hopefully people went home with a full belly and happy hearts.
But some traditions are fun.
And that’s why we keep them (or force them upon others). Not because we hope to maintain a specific cultural identity or social norm. It’s because we like it. Here are three traditions Mel wasn’t able to bust.
- Wedding Cake. Tony’s mom and dad brought a cake. Nothing fancy, but certainly beautiful and delicious. His mom made the best cake topper EVER–a senior prom picture stuck in the cake with toothpicks (love it so much!!). Mel rolled her eyes at the thought of feeding Tony cake, but that made it even more fun.
- The Limousine. This wouldn’t have happened except Mel’s step-grandpa (Roger—the kindest man on this earth) owns a limo business. He had asked Mel if she wanted him to drive. She said no; it felt a little too stereotypical and was an unnecessary expense. When Roger showed up with the limo anyway, he told Mel there was no obligation, and he wouldn’t take payment. When Mel saw her new in-law’s excitement to experience something new, she was happy. Most of the family piled in the limo with champagne, and they had a blast. This proved we should never take our traditions for granted. What is familiar to us might be a new and fun experience for someone else.
- Kissing. While we were eating, Mel made the mistake of admitting she was glad we made them partake in some traditions. “Really?” I said. “Did everyone hear that? Mel admits some traditions are fun.” Then I tapped the side of my wineglass and others followed suit. We didn’t torture them . . . too much.
What are some of your favorite wedding traditions?
Are there any you could do without?