Boho wedding reception, photo courtesy of Boho Luxe Market.

Breaking Traditions: 5 Wedding Traditions to Break, and 6 to Keep or Tweak when Celebrating your Marriage.

It seems like we might finally be returning to some semblance of normality, and with that we’re welcoming back weddings in all their glory. From the 11th to the 13th of February, the Boho Luxe Bride Expo will be running alongside the Boho Luxe Market Melbourne, which Robb & Lulu Australia will be present at.

Your wedding should be one of the most memorable days of your life, and there are a variety of different ways to celebrate the nuptials with your significant other. Yet, the format of weddings and their hallowed traditions have changed rapidly over the past few years so that weddings today allow a lot more flexibility than they may have previously. We’ve pulled our heads together and come up with a small, by no means complete, list of 5 traditions we think you should throw away for your special day, and 5 traditions that you should keep or tweak.

Dreamy boho wedding reception. Photo courtesy of Boho Wedding Blog.

Break:

1) The Father Giving away the Bride

This tradition is top of our list precisely because it is one of the longest-running and most obviously patriarchal wedding traditions. Before women were granted basic rights such as the right to vote, they were considered the property of their fathers, and thus marriage was essentially a business transaction between two men with the woman as the property to be exchanged.

Thankfully we’ve moved well beyond these days, and women are certainly recognised as strong and powerful individuals now. While we certainly won’t argue with allowing your father to walk you down the aisle if it’s particularly important to you, we think that the idea of being “given” away by anyone screams massive 18th Century vibes. 

Recognising that oftentimes both parents are actively involved in shaping their children’s lives and personalities, or that there might be another family member or friend who has been a considerable influence, we think that this is a role for more than just the father of the bride. Why not get both parents, of both the bride and groom involved in the ceremony? After all, at its heart, a wedding is a day to celebrate the formal unification of two families.

2) Bride and Groom Getting Ready Separately

This is another one of those traditions that hasn’t quite managed to translate to the contemporary context. Traditionally, the superstition went that if the groom saw the bride dressed before she walked down the aisle, the marriage would be struck by bad luck. Moreover, it feeds into the allusive imagery of the pure bride, leaving her father’s home for the first time and being seen by those beyond her family’s immediate circle.

Considering that most couples will live together before getting engaged, let alone married, we think this is one tradition that can definitely be broken. Besides the obvious reasoning behind ditching this tradition, we also think there is a beautiful intimacy in getting ready together. This is your life partner. Take your time appreciating each other’s innate beauty, and your love for one another. Help each other get dressed, and reassure each other before taking the plunge.

We’d even suggest having a quiet drink together before the ceremony proper. Make sure you relish this day that you’ve both put much effort into planning — there’s nothing worse than getting to the end of an amazing event before realising that you haven’t had a chance to enjoy your day.

3) The Bride Taking the Groom’s Name

As with point 1, there are some traditions that are best left in the 18th Century, and this is one of them. Certainly, things can get challenging when considering children, and wanting a unifying family name, however let’s begin by dismantling the obvious patriarchy behind the bride taking the groom’s name.

As mentioned above, we live in a patronymic society: all surnames are derived from the name of the father, typically a simply repetition of his surname. However patriarchal society as we know it is a relatively new conception, and we only began to transition from a matriarchy around 10,000 years ago with the beginning of mass human movement, and development of agriculture in the Holocene. Before this time, societies were typically matriarchal: women lead, but there was also a greater sense of equality between the sexes.

Instead of taking his name, why not consider the possibility of him taking yours? You could both opt for a hyphenated version of both of your names, or create a new name to both take. The matter of the name offers a blank slate of possibility. This is an opportunity for you to define your future together, as a unified team, so why not take this as a chance to create your own unique niche together.

4) Stupidly Expensive Dresses that can only be Worn Once

The outfit is often considered the most important part of the whole day, taking months of searching, dieting and fittings to ensure that the bride looks absolutely spectacular. Often there will be a second or third dress for the reception, not to mention the bridal shower/hen’s party outfit.

In 2021, the average price of a wedding dress in Australia was $2,637. That’s a fairly substantial amount of money to spend on a dress you’re only likely to wear once, which certainly doesn’t fit into conventional definitions of sustainability. Instead, why not consider hiring a dress for the day and then having an elegant outfit for the reception that you absolutely love, and know you’ll wear again.

If the idea of hiring a dress isn’t appealing, you could also opt for a simpler, boho luxe vibe with a basic dress accented by simple accessories. We love the versatility of our Rhodes linen midi dress. This women’s midi dress is accented by a ruffle detail that falls mid-calf, making this women’s dress the perfect piece to transition from day to night. For a boho take on the traditional bridal aesthetic, opt for the Rhode’s white linen dress. Accessorise with a simple flower halo for the perfect boho-chic look, featuring a midi dress you’ll be able to wear time and time again.

For a twist on tradition, try the Rhodes linen midi dress in white plaid. Our in-house plaid print offers a delicate variation on the quintessential white linen dress. As a wedding dress, this women’s linen dress conjures images of a dreamy boho luxe picnic reception, and a gorgeous day surrounded by family and friends luxuriating in simple elegance.

The Rhodes linen midi dress is also available in pale yellow, and navy blue — stunning options for simple and flattering bridal party dresses. Another cute, wearable and flattering option for both bridal shower and bridal party outfits is our Romana linen smock dress. Featuring a sweet baby doll smock cut, this women’s linen dress is perfect for hot balmy days while slightly longer puffed sleeves ensure effortless versatility when transitioning from day to night. Available in white, pink and pale yellow, this women’s smock dress offers a playful alternative to quintessential long bridal options, and will ensure that everyone is comfortable and smiling throughout the entire celebration.

5) Gift Registry

Gift registries used to be great when the wedding marked the first time a couple would set up a home together. However, couples now typically live with each other before getting married and hence have most required household goods and appliances. There are a few alternatives to receiving multiple products you already own, or won’t use. Some of our favourite ideas are:

1) Have a wishing well

Weddings are an increasingly expensive affair, with great cost going into ensuring that the day is a perfect celebration enjoyed by all who attend. With the significant expenses going into the day itself, there isn’t always much left for a honeymoon. Why not have a wishing well so that guests can leave a token of appreciation, or a contribution towards a connubial holiday.

2) Donate to charity

We’re all lucky enough to live privileged lives — privileged enough to be discussing what wedding traditions should be maintained for your nuptials. Yet there are many who do not have that same privilege, or are not fortunate enough to be healthy enough to enjoy pleasures such as weddings. Some of our favourite charities are: 

An Australian operation that buys back land and then works in partnership with traditional custodians to restore it to its former glory. This not-for-profit is actively regenerating the Australian landscape to maximise its climate resilience, and ensure that our endemic flora and fauna have a space to thrive.

You’re lucky enough to be marrying your life partner. Someone who makes sure you’re always loved, and will always protect you from harm. Yet domestic violence causes the death of one Australian woman per week, on average. White Ribbon Australia aims to ameliorate the current statistics so that Australian women can live without the threat of gendered abuse. Your donations go towards future research into best preventative measures, as well as education and training for workplaces and schools.

Nearly half a million Australians live with dementia, yet little continues to be known about its causes and about the best preventative measures and treatments. Dementia Australia supports, and advocates for, those impacted by this disease via their research and policy recommendations to governance bodies. 

Keep or Tweak: 

1) Something Borrowed

There is a simple elegance in the tradition of “something old, something borrowed, something blue, something new.” As we mentioned before, one of the more unsustainable aspects of a wedding is the dress that can only be worn once. Borrowing a simple accessory from a loved one brings with it a beautiful cyclical link between the two of you.

2) Parents and/or Family Members in the Celebration

Although we’re not a fan of the whole “father giving away the daughter” tradition, we can’t see any reason to dismiss the involvement of parents, or significant family members in the overall celebration. A new trend emerging that recognises the important role of both parents in raising the couple, is in having them walk down the aisle together. This can be a lovely moment for all involved, and provides the opportunity to include a ceremonial recognition of this relationship.

However, if being accompanied down the aisle isn’t for you, asking a parent of special family member to give a speech can be another beautiful means of recognising their importance in your life 

3) The Celebratory Meal and Drinks

We absolutely think that you should keep a celebratory meal and drinks after the formalities have concluded! Why not change it up and opt for a smaller, private ceremony and have a larger celebration with your broader group of friends and family? The meal and drinks are your opportunity to let your hair down after the stress of the formalities is over. It’s also an opportunity for you to both relish in your newly cemented couple status, with those closest to you.

With plenty of organic winery restaurants dotted all across Australia, there is absolutely no excuse not to indulge in a divine meal paired with the perfect tipple. Some of our favourite organic wineries with accompanying restaurants, around Melbourne are:

This family-owned vineyard was one of the first farms to obtain organic certification in Australia. Offering a range of certified organic wines and ciders, Captain’s Creek has a small kitchen creating simple dishes with primarily local produce. There is also a dedicated functions menu available for bookings over 40 people.

Nestled between the Bunyip and Strzelecki Ranges, this quaint micro-winery produces organic wines in small batches, and pairs them back beautifully with traditional Italian dishes and antipasto made predominantly with produce grown in the kitchen garden. A feed-me set menu is available for bookings of 8 or more people, but you could equally choose pieces from the à la carte menu to curate your perfect meal.

It would be remiss of us not to include a suggestion from one of the most renowned winery regions of Victoria — the Mornington Peninsula. Polperro has an ethos of organic and biodynamic practices that pervades all aspects of its operations from the vineyard to the restaurant table. As above, an ever-changing menu showcases local, seasonal produce and is designed with wine pairings in mind.

4) The First Dance

The first dance is a rite of passage that would certainly have held more significance in the past, when partnered dancing was a more significant social activity. An up and coming trend that we love is having a private first dance, before having a dance with your guests. Weddings have a reputation for being a stressful day, with couples struggling to have a moment to each other. Having a private first dance provides the couple with an opportunity to have a moment together, revelling in their love for each other without having the eyes of all their guest on them. A welcome reprieve from the chaos, and a chance to reflect on the nuptials.

5) Bridal Parties — Make them Gender Inclusive!

These days it’s common for girls to have close guy friends, and vice versa. So why should bridal parties still be dictated by gender conformity? We don’t think they should. If you have a guy best friend, there is no reason why you shouldn’t ask him to be your man of honour!

However, if you have closer girlfriends and you want them to be involved in your bridal party, we certainly won’t stop you. As we mentioned earlier, our Rhodes linen midi dress makes a beautiful boho luxe alternative to traditional bridal gowns, but this women’s midi dress can also easily work as a flattering bridesmaid option. Pre-wedding, many brides buy matching robes for their bridal party. Instead of opting for a robe, why not choose matching waffle sets? Robb & Lulu has waffles in an array of colours, and across pants, shorts, tees and sweats. Not only are these women’s organic cotton threads luxuriously soft, but they’re sustainable in terms of production but also in terms of their longevity. Come see Robb & Lulu this weekend at the Boho Luxe Market to unlock an exclusive deal on their waffle sets. Buy a minimum of two sets, and receive the bride’s set free — you know your bride tribe will love you!

6) Confetti

Confetti is synonymous with celebration, yet many people don’t consider the damage it can cause the environment. Traditional confetti is made from PVC, a plastic by-product that takes centuries to degrade. Not only is PVC confetti virtually unable to breakdown, the bright colours also pose a risk to local wildlife who may be attracted to the colours and attempt to eat the confetti. Thus, conventional confetti belies a dark underside to its cheery appearance.

However, inroads are being made in eco-friendly alternatives to conventional confetti so that you and your guests can partake in a joyous atmosphere. Local farm Oz Fresh Herbs has created a stunning natural alternative out of dried flower petals. With options available in purple and pink pastels, to pale orange, and cornflower blue, there’s something for every aesthetic. These beauties can be bundled up in large cloth bags, individual biodegradable bags, or left loose so that guests can take it by the handful. This confetti is the perfect final touch on the ultimate boho luxe wedding.

Dried larkspur petals in rustic basket.Larkspur flowers growing in field.Dried calendular and cornflower petals

Robb & Lulu Australia will be attending the Boho Luxe Market Melbourne, alongside the Boho Luxe Bride event at The Timber Yard, Port Melbourne from the 11th of February to the 13th.