Old tradition Large cake

New tradition Gourmet dessert bar

Wedding cakes will always be popular, but some couples choose to have a smaller official cake so they can include gourmet desserts, appealing to a variety of guest preferences. If you choose this route, consider the favorite desserts of your friends and family members. Cheesecake and pie are some of the most popular and delicious desserts that couples offer their guests.

Old tradition Huge wedding party

New tradition Small wedding party … or none

Years ago, when a couple got married, the bride asked her best friend, her sisters, her cousins and her future sisters-in-law to stand with her at the wedding. These days, some couples do away with the huge ensemble and keep the wedding party small … or eliminate it altogether. As Ashley Farthing-Porto of Farthing Events says, “The age of the receiving line is lonnnnnnnng gone.”

Old tradition Two-week honeymoon

New tradition ‘Mini-moon’

Because of work commitments, fewer couples are traveling to faraway locales for extended honeymoons; in exchange, they go for shorter trips to fun-filled cities closer to home, like San Francisco or Nashville.

Old tradition Cost paid by bride’s family

New tradition Shared cost

The old dowry system, in which the bride’s family foots the bill for the entire wedding, is giving way to an egalitarian approach. Couples are getting married later in life (the average ages for first-time brides and grooms are 28 and 29, respectively), so they have more resources to pay for the wedding themselves. Also, grandparents and significant people in the couple’s lives are stepping up to contribute financially.

Photo by Natalie Green

Old tradition Throwing the bouquet

New tradition Sharing the bouquet

Instead of the grabby, sometimes awkward bouquet toss to all the single ladies in the crowd, a bride may want to share her wedding flowers. Or she might give the bouquet to the longest-married couple in attendance … or split the whole arrangement by giving a flower to honor each person who means something special in the couple’s lives.