Traditions can be strange. We follow them, sometimes without question, throughout some of the biggest moments of our lives. And maybe we do because we know we can rely on traditions throughout times of change and uncertainty. We put our faith in the culture we belong to and let tradition carry us from one page to the next. And on a day as big as your wedding, it’s not uncommon to hold hands with tradition.

“Without tradition, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof,” says Tevye in the opening number of the hit musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” Sometimes it can seem as if traditions have always been here. As if the earth began, and tradition began with it. Though you and I both know, someone, somewhere, at some point had to start these traditions. 

“Without tradition, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof,” says Tevye in the opening number of the hit musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”

We give a bride something blue on her wedding day because in 1871 during the Victorian Era, someone in England wrote a short story that said you should. Today, we carry bouquets of flowers down the aisle, but in ancient Greece and Rome, they carried herbs to ward off evil spirits. In fact, in Roman times, bridesmaids wore identical dresses not for aesthetic purposes or for a photo op, but to act as decoys and confuse evil spirits who might be there to curse the bride and groom.

Obviously, for most of us, our reasons for following a lot of the time-honored wedding rituals are completely different today than they might have been hundreds of years ago. Wedding traditions are rooted in deeply cultural, sometimes religious symbolism. And a lot of us still hold these traditions near and dear to our hearts, because of what they’ve meant to us throughout our modern lives, not what they meant in ancient Greece. So we follow them, and because we are habitual but inventive beings, traditions evolve, change, and new ones are created. In fact, in 2022, a lot of classic wedding traditions have advanced and a lot of new traditions have developed as well. Because, like we already know, traditions are a part of us.

“Unplugged” ceremonies are becoming more common in 2022.

Don’t know what an “unplugged” ceremony is? Well, it’s 2022 and every guest has a smartphone. And if every guest has a smartphone, every guest has a camera as well. These pocket-size devices can be really great at helping guests capture and share precious memories in an instant, but they can also be really great at distracting them from the moment. That’s why there’s been a rise in cell phone-free, “unplugged” wedding services as of late, providing brides and grooms who choose to go this route with a ceremony where all eyes are strictly on them. It also provides better photo opportunities for the official photographer, as no guest’s face will be hidden behind a screen as they try to capture a shot of the bride walking down the aisle. You get fully realized, realtime emotions and reactions captured in the moment. And honestly, isn’t that how it should be?

When it comes down to your wedding day, you can have your cake and hopefully eat it too. But who ever said it had to be cake?

In ancient Rome, the groom would break a loaf of barley bread over the bride’s head and guests would gather the crumbs because they were deemed “lucky.” Eventually, Queen Victoria popularized tall wedding cakes with white, “royal” icing, and now we eat cake at weddings (everybody say: “thank you Queen Victoria”). But in recent years, many couples have been trading in the traditional wedding cake for alternative dessert options. Such options include donuts, ice cream, cookies, a luxe tarte spread, even a cheese board if you’re feeling particularly European. These options are not only delicious but can be more cost effective too, which seems to be the name of the game when it comes to ceremony trends in 2022.

Another way couples are saving money and staying safe in an unprecedented age of Covid, is by having micro-weddings.

Gone are the days where you had the expectation placed on you of inviting every soul you’ve ever met to your wedding. Micro-weddings are larger than elopements, but smaller than full-fledged ceremonies. Considered an intimate affair that includes only your closest inner circle of friends and family, micro-weddings can be safer for those with immunocompromised family members or friends. The truth is, after the pandemic started, weddings shrank significantly and a small guest list allows you to truly focus on the ones you love.

Generations old traditions can be both communal and comforting. There’s nothing wrong with choosing to follow them and carry that torch forward, but there’s also something uniquely special about forming your own traditions, especially with those you love. No matter what traditions you choose to follow or create for yourself on your wedding day, all that matters is who you’re making those decisions with, and who you’re surrounded by when you do it. Some traditions might be steeped in “warding off evil spirits,” or bringing good luck and fortune to the happy couple, but most of us agree the real power they have is nurturing special bonds, and bringing a sense of belonging into the lives of those who follow them. Isn’t that what we all want?