It used to be that the majority of weddings took place in churches or synagogues. A priest or rabbi would perform the ceremony, the husband and wife would kiss and a huge party would follow. However, formal weddings are no longer the only way to go. Mixed marriages, gay marriages and other non-traditional unions have changed weddings, ceremonies and celebrations. Here are a few of the ways wedding traditions have been tweaked and modernized.

Interdenominational Ceremonies. When the wedding involves two people from different faiths, you may want to include aspects from traditional religious weddings that don’t offend members of the other faith. For example, in a Protestant-Jewish mixed marriage, you may want to light three candles that are traditional in a Protestant wedding. Protestants regularly light three candles, and candle lighting is already a regular part of the Jewish ceremony and it would not offend the Jewish guests.


The Gown. In a traditional wedding, brides will spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for a white wedding gown that they will wear only once in their life. The white color indicates the bride’s innocence. But if you’re mixing it up forget about the traditional gown and find a dress that is more practical and may not be white. With budgetary issues impacting nearly every couple, this can be a huge money saver.

“Consider having the wedding party strike a pose just before they enter or even dance their way down the aisle.”
– Chris Easter, editor-in-chief of and author of “Be The Man”

Music. Weddings are almost always associated with traditional songs like “Here Comes the Bride” and cheesy wedding bands. That type of music may satisfy some couples on their wedding days, but many couples want music that means something personal to them. If dancing the hora is a must, have your band jazz it up with a big band version. Or, a playful first dance may be the song that Uma Thurman and John Travolta danced to in the twist contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s in the classic movie “Pulp Fiction.” Set the pace for a great wedding and a happy life together with “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred. The Wedding March? Not at your wedding.

Wedding Day Focus. No matter what the religion, ethnic or social group, nearly every wedding focuses on the bride. “It’s her day,” is the traditional reason given and the groom often seems an afterthought. Well, it takes two to tango and the groom plays just as big a role in the marriage even if the wedding belongs to the bride. Change the wedding day focus to include the bride AND the groom. Perhaps the bride wants to sing a song to show her devotion to her new husband and that way they can share the wedding-day attention.

-Steve Silverman