Wedding trends that turn nuptials on their heads.
From incinerating gowns to re-creating scenes from Dirty Dancing, couples are revamping the traditions of the big day.
The New Registry
Do you really need another colander? Admit it—what you actually want is airfare to Cyprus. And with couples marrying later—often after they've shacked up and purchased the nesting essentials—wedding registries have gotten creative.
Nowadays, guests can help finance honeymoons, entertainment centers, wine cellars, and even sporting goods. Couples can also register for small items like DVDs, books, and CDs—some get as specific as a box set of The Twilight Zone.
Go-to department stores are busy rewriting their rules: Bloomingdale's, for one, offers "registry strategists" to guide you through the process, plus an online thank-you card manager to help you out in the aftermath.
Additionally, websites like Honeyluna.com allow guests to contribute money for parts of the honeymoon, including airfare, accommodations, guided tours, and meals. Felicite.com lets couples register with any merchant, and offers a "partial purchase" feature, so guests can put money toward a big gift (like new mountain bikes).
The First Dance: From Romantic to Rockin'
Lately, couples are replacing standard-issue high-school-gym first dances with livelier, crowd-friendly performances, and then posting their star turn online for all to see: Take Norm, 29, and Julia, 27, who got hitched in 2006.
Their traditional slow dance segued into Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel." "We wanted our wedding to be a great party…it was important to us to have everyone on the dance floor the entire night," the couple says. So they set the tone. See it for yourself here!
Then there's the "nobody puts baby in a corner" reenactment: Julia, 32, and James, 34, re-choreographed the final song from Dirty Dancing at their 2005 wedding—right down to the famous leap. "I'm just glad I found a wonderful man who was willing to fulfill my seventh-grade fantasy," says Julia. (Watch her dream come to life here.)
Here Comes the…Bridesguys?
Ten years ago, your best guy pal would end up as a groomsman, while your hubby-to-be's baby sister stepped up as your maid of honor (even though you had just met her a month ago). But today's bridal party follows no such rules.
Some couples are opting for all-male bridesmaids (bridesguys?) or all-female groomsmen (groomsmaids?). Others go for a completely co-ed lineup, with a "best woman" taking her rightful place next to the groom's rowdy fraternity brothers.
Fashion-wise, the key to making it work is to avoid forcing a unified look. Instead, try matching bridesmens' pocket squares to bridesmaids' dresses, or pick a cohesive color palette for the entire party.
Trashing the Dress
Okay, here's one trend that'll either make you rejoice or recoil: Post-nuptials, brides lately are donning their wedding dresses to soak in ponds, roll in the sand, and splatter them with paint Pollock-style. Photographer Mark Eric's website, Trashthedress.com, documents the trend—which he says is more about relieving stress than destroying beautiful gowns.
Kayla, 18, says she "trashed" her dress in a pond because after all the wedding-day stress, she wanted to let go and get some fun pictures. And after seeing how outdated her mother's old dress looked, she decided to forgo the tradition of saving her gown for a future daughter.
"I paid $900 for it. Why just put it in a closet?" she says. And besides, brides say, it's another way to prove your commitment by declaring, "I'll never need this gown again."
The Bride Wore Green
From invitations to honeymoons, many couples are seeing green in an effort to make their weddings as earth-friendly as possible. With these options, you can have a wedding that's low-impact on the planet, but high-impact for your guests:
- Choose to create a gown out of organic materials (try Rawganique.com or Getconscious.com), or buy a vintage dress to wear as-is or alter for fit and style. (We like Preownedweddingdresses.com.)
- Arrange hybrid carpools for guests, or offset travel pollution (and ease your conscience) by donating money to planet-friendly organizations.
- Print invitations on recycled paper, decorate with fruits and greenery instead of flowers grown with pesticides, and seek out a caterer who serves locally grown organic food at the reception.
- Consult an environmentally friendly travel agent, like the Better World Club, when planning your honeymoon.
- Lastly, even the rings—those enduring symbols of love—can stay green. We suggest Greenkarat.com or Nodirtygold.org.
Tango's Take: Whether you break the rules or stick with tradition, make sure your day represents what you love.
Photo courtesy of Paul Johnson Photography.