The New Rules for Weddings

by | Apr 1, 2021 | News


For the most part, rules can be helpful. They give us boundaries to operate within, expectations to abide by, and their intention is to keep people safe and chaos at bay. Many rules for weddings, however, are anything but helpful. They stem from archaic traditions or superstitions, contributing towards unrealistic expectations or pressures on the people involved. Short of saying “there are no rules, do what you want”, we’ve put together some common notions and alternative considerations to help you plan your wedding.

Image: Girl and the Wolf


Invitations must be printed and posted, along with RSVP cards and thank you notes.

In our digital age, it’s perfectly acceptable to send a wedding invitation via email or an online invitation platform. It can save postage costs, be an easy way track online RSVPs, and allows quick distribution of thank-you’s post-wedding. Of course, if you want to print a hard-copy invitation then go for it – you know we love finding those in the mail!

You must imitate every wedding-related rom-com ever with an outlandish hens/bucks night followed by a formal rehearsal dinner.

There are no medals for the wildest or booziest parties that end up in the emergency department. By all means, gather the girls or your mates, but in the words of Ron Burgundy, keep it classy folks. As for highly expensive and unnecessary rehearsal dinners? Do away with the formalities. After your rehearsal – which is a good thing to have – grab a casual bite to eat and enjoy the company of your bridal party and/or close family.

It’s bad luck to see each other before the wedding.

This is one of those rules for weddings steeped in the age of arranged marriages. Betrothed couples weren’t allowed to see each other in the lead up to the wedding in case the groom found the bride unattractive and called off the wedding. These days, couples tend to hold off seeing each other on the day until the ceremony. However, an increasing number are opting for a “first look”. Whether shared between the two of you, or including the bridal party, a first look gives the chance to connect privately before the ceremony and even capture a sweet snap or two.

Ceremony at Factory51


You must get married in a church with the bride’s family seated on the left and the groom’s on the right.

The options for ceremony locations are almost endless! Whether it’s a church, chapel, garden, barn, warehouse, or beach, you can find a venue to suit your personality and preferences. We recommend considering parking, ease of access, and back-up weather options when considering your ceremony location. If you do want to get married in a chapel, church, or cathedral, check out our Brisbane round-up here. As for which side to be seated on? It’s not important! Bringing together mutual friends and family and blending them together to witness your commitment is what matters.

The bride must be escorted down the aisle by her father.

Yes, we all love a special father-daughter moment, but sometimes there’s reason for why a bride’s father may not escort her down the aisle. If the idea of walking down solo isn’t appealing, consider these alternative companions: your mother; your brother/s or uncle or grandfather; your children; a father-figure; a significant person; or even your furry friend. Most people would be honoured to have the privilege of supporting you in this way.

You have to have an even number of female bridesmaids and male groomsmen.

I think it’s fair to say that selecting members for the bridal party simply to fill numbers doesn’t send the best message. If you have one best mate and she has four, don’t stress about it. Quality over quantity every time! Gone are the days of having to have even numbers and same-sex posses. Simply have the people who are the dearest to you by your side regardless of number or gender. If you’re struggling to decide, you may want to do away with the entourage altogether and just assign two witnesses for the paperwork.

Image: William Gordon Photography


You need to have canapés followed by a formal 3-course sit-down dinner.

Enter a reception and you’ll most likely find a grazing table or antipasto platter in the place of waitstaff serving canapés. Along with the visual appeal, being readily able to access food has many couples opting for this style during pre-dinner drinks. Three-course dinners are definitely still popular, along with cocktail-style parties and the odd buffet. However, share feasting is the ultimate way to bring people together to celebrate. It bonds people, no-one leaves hungry, and it streamlines the order of events.

Only the Father of the Bride, Groom, and Best Man may give a speech.

Speeches are no longer limited to the menfolk. If you want the bride, bridesmaid/s, or mother/s of the bride/groom to speak, then feel free to include them! Often, they will bring their own anecdotal stories and words of wisdom. Consider who you want to speak at your wedding, and then work out the length of time overall (see tips for timing speeches here). You may wish to have speeches in one session or broken up through the night. Smaller weddings may even be happy to open the floor.

You must have a 3-tiered white fondant fruit cake, and save the top tier for your one-year anniversary.

History has taken us from the multi-tiered white fondant fruit cake, to a white chocolate mud cake, to individual cupcakes. The evolution has continued through the popularity of naked cakes to stacked wheels of cheese to artistic masterpieces that look too good to eat. So, whether you’re going for a cake, dessert table, or donut wall, we recommend edibility first and foremost! As for saving that top tier, we’re not sure anything tastes great after being frozen for a year… but that’s your call!

The New Rules for Weddings

As you can see, the shoulds, oughts, and musts of weddings have slowly dated over time, enabling freedom of choice and expression of personality. However, if you are finding decisions about rules for weddings tricky, our Functions Manager Ellie would be more than happy to chat with you. Feel free to contact her today.


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