Balancing Modern & Traditional Elements in Weddings

The long history of weddings was, until recently, completely dominated by tradition and etiquette. Before modern media, couples knew what to do, when to do it, and how because it had always been done the same way, passed down from generation to generation. Gradually, however, we are replacing “must” in weddings with “may.” Couples still wish to honor the past, but in a contemporary context with the priority of creating their own meaningful experiences.

In this evolving world, it is our challenge to help couples strike a balance between modern and traditional wedding elements, and to create something new and significant for all. 

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A focus on relevance

The current generation of couples is still influenced by their cultural backgrounds and religious roots. In fact, their efforts to personalize their weddings often start with these as they seek to honor their families and roots. They may incorporate spiritual readings and rites in their ceremonies, wear traditional wedding clothing, or infuse their menus with flavors and dishes from home.

However, where tradition is exclusive or overly restrictive, it may be deemed irrelevant and either left out or replaced. In most cases, couples are examining their practices and reconsidering the value of each part of the wedding day. To make “the cut,” elements must contribute a connection to the past, a reflection of the present, or an expression of hope for the future.

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Attention span

Of course, in this fast-paced global culture, time is ever a consideration. The instant gratification generation’s notorious lack of patience results in shorter ceremonies, quicker transitions, and more dynamic events. However, guests can take comfort in knowing that if something is included, it means so much to the couple that they didn’t skip it to save time.

The influence of popular culture

One cannot deny the influence that celebrities and high profile couples have had on modern engaged couples. Even the royals seem to get farther and farther away from time-honored traditions with each wedding of the younger generation. Their choices are impactful, empowering other couples to leave behind the restrictive past and forge their own bright futures.

The challenge we face as professionals is, ultimately, to strike a balance between the old and new, and help couples create something meaningful that symbolizes their unique story and the timeless concept of love.

Emily Sullivan will be speaking at Catersource 2019. Click here to view the education schedule.

Emily Sullivan

Emily Sullivan is the owner of Emily Sullivan Events, a full-service wedding planning company based in New Orleans and serving couples everywhere.