A bouquet throwing, white dress wearing, cake cutting celebration is what makes up the traditional white wedding in the UK. But according to new research, these romantic traditions are a thing of the past.
If you’re a bride thinking of ditching the bouquet toss or a groom planning a quirky proposal, statistics suggest that you’re not alone on this one. Only 37% of today’s newlyweds stick to a traditional wedding plan.
Gone are the days of low-key receptions and traditional church services as we see more beach weddings and Vegas-style ceremonies. Make-shift venues and exotic locations are among the common themes, offering much more freedom for couples and wedding planners. From rodeo bulls and popcorn machines, to jumping out of planes and dipping in the ocean for your perfect wedding shot, the list is endless.
A survey carried out by London property and lettings agent Chestertons shows that wedding traditions are dying out since their peak in the sixties. Some traditions such as wearing a veil down the aisle date back to Roman weddings when the bride would ‘hide’ from the evil spirits who were jealous of her happiness. It seems the novelty of such traditions has disappeared in recent years as couples tailor their day to create a unique and bespoke experience. Some couples follow the classic wedding style, adding a touch of modern colouring, but many newlyweds admit to contradicting the wedding concept all together.
Since 2010, just 37% of grooms asked the father-of-the-bride for permission to wed, followed by 36% of grooms who proposed to their wife on one knee. Only 36% of couples cut the cake together on the day, just 15% of grooms carry their bride over the threshold and only 7% of couples wait to share a home together after being wed.
Since the sixties, wedding traditions have become less popular. Couples who tied the knot between 1960 and 1964 celebrated more traditionally with 70% cutting the cake together, 61% heading straight off on honeymoon and 65% of brides wearing something old, new, borrowed and blue.
Here are the most popular wedding traditions for those who have married since 2010:
1) Asking the father-of-the-bride for permission (37%)
2) Proposing on one knee (36%)
3) Cutting the cake together (36%)
4) Throwing the bouquet (33%)
5) Wearing a white wedding dress (31%)
The statistics show that just 37% of modern couples adhere to wedding traditions. Bristol was ranked the least traditional city in the UK with 15% of couples upholding none of the traditional wedding customs:
1) Bristol (15%)
2) Newcastle (12%)
3) Southampton (12%)
4) Glasgow (11%)
5) Sheffield (10%)
6) Belfast (9%)
7) Manchester (9%)
8) Cardiff (7%)
Nick Barnes, Head of Research at Chestertons said: “It’s a shame that the things we typically associate with weddings are starting to die out as other options, such as overseas ceremonies or more modern venues, grow in popularity. However, certain traditions such as not living together until getting married, or allowing the father-of-the-bride to foot the bill, are no longer practical and demonstrate the way our lifestyles and financial capabilities have changed since the fifties.”
Jo Bryant, an etiquette consultant who specialises in weddings, adds: “The survey results show that most couples no longer want a standard, traditional wedding. Instead, they are looking for new ways to personalise their day by breaking with or modernising certain traditions. Most couples are living together before they get engaged. The bridegroom is usually familiar with the bride’s family and the concept of a new marital home is no longer relevant. Traditions such as asking the bride’s father for her hand or carrying the bride over the threshold are therefore naturally receding.”
In 2014, Victoria Tidmarsh, 26, from York, married her husband Ryan in a traditional church ceremony. She adds: “We did everything traditionally on the day, in terms of carrying over the threshold, cutting the cake and throwing the bouquet, though I’d say we are among the minority of our friends who are engaged or married. The only thing that was slightly away from tradition was that we didn’t have a receiving line. We felt this element was a little too dated, and as we had a lot of guests it seemed a waste of everybody’s time! We made sure we made time to greet and thank everyone throughout the afternoon and evening instead.”