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Issue 8: Three Months To Go!
How to Incorporate Wedding Traditions

All brides, whether your style is trendy or classic, can find a way to include some sentimental wedding traditions on your special day.

The traditions or customs you choose will set the tone for your event, with options from fun and casual to formal and sentimental. Keep in mind that today's weddings are highly personal and there is almost always room for flexibility and adaptation. It is your day to celebrate your way.

Start with your bridal style, then look to your ceremony and reception for time-honored ideas.

ATTIRE
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions relating to traditional bridal fashion:

Wondering if you can wear a white gown? Sure! There was a time when white wedding dresses were reserved exclusively for first-time marriages, however today it is appropriate for any bride to wear a white or ivory gown. A new trend has emerged that makes the question even easier: wedding gowns with a splash of color.

Can't decide between a comfortably chic or formally fancy frock for the big day? Double your fun by choosing two different dresses for your ceremony and reception, making it easy to dance the night away. It's the latest trend in celebrity weddings, but you can get the look for much less. Our extensive selection has so many gorgeous gowns - at fabulous prices - that you'll be happy you don't have to pick just one! Check out our online collection of little white dresses from DB Studio.

How about a veil? There's a reason the wedding veil has symbolized romance and mystique for over a thousand years. While there is no rule that says you have to wear a veil, it is virtually guaranteed to make you look and feel like a bride. Try on varying lengths and styles to find a look that's right for you. If you decide to forgo the veil, you've still got plenty of alternatives such as tiaras, headbands, hair jewelry or flowers. See our Headpiece & Veil Style Guide.

Do bridesmaids have to wear the same dresses? If you want a truly unified look and your bridesmaids all look great in the same style, then go for it. If your bridesmaids are different shapes and sizes, try a modern interpretation that allows them to express their individuality. Choose your color scheme and let your bridesmaids select styles they like best.

Do I need "something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue"? The combination of items in this wedding rhyme is thought to bring good luck and fortune to your wedding day. Even if you're not superstitious, why not have some fun with the idea? A new, blue garter will cover two requirements, so all that's left is to find something old to borrow. Ask a close friend or family member to do the honor.

CEREMONY
Whether your ceremony is secular or religious, elaborate or informal, there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate tradition in the celebration.

Wedding programs are a popular addition to today's ceremonies. Perhaps they've developed such a following because they single-handedly perform many functions. Programs identify and honor those participating in the event, while also providing an opportunity for the couple to add a personal touch and express themselves with the creative design. Guests find the wedding program helpful and informative because it allows them to learn about participants and follow the events of the day (procession, readings, songs, etc.). Finally, wedding programs serve as sentimental keepsakes.

Traditionally brides were escorted down the aisle by their father because the veil made it difficult for the bride to walk alone. Today, it is a sentimental custom that allows your father to proudly present his daughter to the adoring groom. If your father is unavailable, select an escort who has supported and guided you in your life. Some brides choose to have both their mother and father accompany them down the aisle.

While decorative candles have long been associated with elegant wedding décor, a meaningful variation of this tradition has also emerged. Incorporate the lighting of a unity candle or unity sand ceremony in your celebration to symbolize the joining of your families. It's also a great way to include mothers or important family members in the ceremony.

While the exchange of wedding rings dates back to ancient civilizations, the significance has basically remained the same: the never-ending circle represents eternity and symbolizes the couple's endless love. Maybe that's why this is one of the most universal and treasured of all wedding practices.

Flower girls and ring bearers are a joyful addition to any wedding. Your flower girl can sprinkle flower petals as she walks down the aisle. Or pair her with your ring bearer to make a charming entrance and a great photo opportunity. Another way to incorporate children is to have them ring wedding bells.

The custom of throwing rice is one of the oldest wedding traditions, dating back to the time when rice was a symbol of prosperity, health, and fertility. Today rice is typically replaced with environmentally safe options such as birdseed, flower petals, or bubbles. The tossing celebration is a fun way for guests to commemorate your sendoff and it makes a great photo opportunity.

The traditional receiving line originated because it was believed that the newly married couple had powers of luck and prosperity that could be passed to the guests. Sounds good to us! Today it is also an ideal way to make sure you have a chance to personally interact with each of your guests. This is especially important if you have a large wedding and reception (you won't believe how quickly your wedding day goes by, so savor every moment).

View our collection of ceremony essentials for creative ceremony ideas.

Get in on the latest ceremony and reception trend that is also sweet and sentimental, wedding wishing bells!

RECEPTION
Your wedding reception is a time for you and your husband to celebrate your joy with loved ones.

Make sure you have a lasting record of your guests by including a guest book. There are many ways to incorporate this tradition. Place the guest book (and pen) at the entrance to the ceremony or reception and assign an attendant to request signatures. If you are having a smaller or informal celebration, opt for a more candid approach. Ask your guest book attendant to visit each table to encourage photos (with disposable cameras or a Polaroid) and give guests the opportunity to write a personal message.

Dancing and music create a festive atmosphere. Choose meaningful songs for your first dance as husband and wife, along with a sentimental selection for the father/daughter and mother/son dances. It's always nice to incorporate cultural dances, as well as an anniversary dance to honor other married couples.

It is customary for the best man to give a toast at the wedding. Today the father of the bride, maid of honor, and bride and groom may also offer a short speech of their own. Personalized toasting glasses are a wonderful way to cherish the memory for years to come.

Wedding cakes were originally introduced as a sign of fertility and good luck. The modern ritual of cutting the cake together symbolizes your shared future and the start of your life together as one. Purchase a keepsake cake topper, cake knife and serving set and save the top tier of the wedding cake to share on your first anniversary.

Iconic "wedding bell" favors are a charming way to encourage romance at the reception, with your guests playfully ringing the bells to prompt you and your husband to kiss. Not sure that's your style? Everybody loves candy and pretty packages, so why not order coordinating personalized favor boxes and fill them you're your favorite goodies. Or let your guests know you're a green couple with eco-friendly favors. Feeling sentimental? Choose small frames and insert photos of each guest or couple; these can even double as place cards. Visit David's Reception & Favors for more favor ideas.

Tossing the bridal bouquet is a lighthearted and festive tradition. The female guest who catches the bouquet is thought to be the next to get married. Some couples choose to equal the playing field with a similar ritual for the men in which a garter is tossed. If you plan to incorporate this event, make sure you have an extra bouquet and garter for tossing so you can keep the real ones for yourself.

The basic idea is to do some research and decide which traditions are most meaningful to you, your groom and your newly combined family.

Shop online for creative ideas for all your wedding day essentials