Your Something New—How to Make Tradition
By Louis Baragona, Associate Real Weddings Editor, The Knot
There are certain traditions we’ve been taught as compulsory traditions when it comes to weddings. You know the ones: Something borrowed. Something blue. White dress. Black tux. Bride. Groom.
But what happens when the rules or “traditions” don’t include you? When there’s no bride involved or even if a white dress just isn’t your thing?
Especially when conventional tradition doesn’t include you or your wedding visions, you can twist it or make something entirely new—and there are so many ways to do it. At The Knot, we’re constantly seeing couples make their own traditions, and there’s nothing we love more, because the ultimate rule with weddings nowadays? You do you.
The Knot’s “Make Tradition” campaign was born for that exact reason. The group of millennials getting married today is the most diverse group yet, and they want a wedding that incorporates who they are. Make Tradition was created to reflect those diverse identities, styles, cultures, fashion, and love stories. We empower our couples to plan their weddings their way, and while some couples may embrace existing traditions, others may opt to redefine what those traditions look like for them, and that’s ok— in fact, we encourage it.
As gay people, making our own traditions is something we’ve had to do for centuries, before coming out was beyond conversation and legal marriage was a reality. Now, more than ever, couples are taking matters into their hands, breaking the rules, and making traditions of their very own, serving as inspiration for all to-be-weds to follow.
When it comes to one’s engagement, a bended-knee or engagement ring isn’t always the name of the game. Instead, couples like Allison and Sam and Danny and Vinnie are popping the question with watches or other keepsakes. Why? Well, in Allison and Sam’s case, “a ring just isn’t our thing.” Personalization and preference are at the heart of #maketradition. If the usual isn’t “your thing” either, you can surprise your partner with something they love—a watch, a necklace, or maybe even just a trip somewhere they’ve been dying to go.
One of the ways in which binary gender is most often enforced with weddings is through fashion. Couples are switching things up with their looks. Kathleen and Kayla embraced their love for colorful attire and Hawaiian shirts with matching parrot shirts for their surprise wedding. Jennifer picked a vibrant, eye-catching purple suit, while Marisa added a Latin-inspired twist to her blue look with colorful embroidery. Cameron and Daniel completed their looks with sparkling touches (a necklace and bowtie respectively). Your wedding day fashion is just one of the many details that you can go as wild as you’d like with as much color, pattern, and tailoring as you want, free of binary confines.
And when it comes time for the big day, feel free to remove any moments that just don’t fit for you and your partner. Don’t want to have one person walk down the aisle first? Why not walk together like Kevin and Zak who escorted their moms down the aisle at the same time. “It was fun to walk as one family,” Zak said. Or maybe have a ceremony in the round with two aisles for you two to meet in the middle. Another ceremony element that’s highly customizable are your vows—think about what’s most important to you and your partner and share them that way, whether that’s in private or maybe even in song. Angela and Brittany chose to honor their community and their values by signing a community manifesto along with their vows. Throughout your entire wedding day, don’t be scared to honor your families, cultural identities, or your roots in ways that speak to you as a couple.
Even the traditional wedding cake can be subject to a bit of queer affirmation. When looking for cake toppers, Clay and Mike noticed there weren’t many playful options for same-sex couples, including LEGOS, which only come in heterosexual pairs. “A friend bought two LEGO sets and replaced all of the bride pieces with groom pieces,” Clay says. “We knew it had to go on our cake!” Sometimes you’ve gotta work with what you have, because we can have our cake and eat it too. Get creative in a space that doesn’t always allow you options. Plus your wedding food is a great element to personalize beyond the cake, whether by incorporating food from your family’s heritage or even food from the restaurant where you two had your first date—the options are endless.
Just remember: have fun. The ultimate rule of making tradition is that it should speak to you, so just as we as queer people have defined ourselves, our identities, and our rights for ourselves, we can also do the same with our big days. Consider it our something new.