I was going to spend this post talking about the little details that really finish your wedding day off, but I just couldn’t focus on it. While I was trying to write about details, I seemed to end every paragraph by saying “of course, you don’t have to do this at all, you can do something totally different”.

That got me thinking. Why do weddings happen the way that they do? What happens when we say bollocks to tradition, and do things our own way instead? I reckon that tradition itself isn’t a good enough reason – “that’s the way it’s always been” isn’t a good enough reason to carry on always doing things that way, especially if the tradition means nothing to you.

I thought I’d spend today writing about the usual wedding stuff everyone expects – the dress, the cake, the flowers, the ceremony – and how couples have experimented with them and done things differently. I’m not saying tradition is wrong, but I am saying that just doing something for the sake of it is a bit silly (unless you really don’t care, of course).

Tradition 1:

Religious Ceremony or Registry Office

Yeah they’re two ways of achieving the same thing. But did you know you can get a registrar to attend pretty much anywhere you want them to (for a fee, obvs)? Another route to the same thing is to have a celebrant. You have to get the legal bit out of the way before hand (literally just paperwork and witnesses), but then you can have a ceremony whenever and wherever you want.

If you book a celebrant you can completely personalise your ceremony. Vows and rings still happen, but the door is open for you to do loads more. You can find out all about celebrants and what they do over here.

Oh, and if you want to do something open air then it means you get to commission or hire an awesome structure, like these beauts from All Bunched Up.

Tradition 2:

“You gotta have group shots”

There’s a scene in Seinfeld where Elaine’s friend has had a baby, and she’s talking about what she’s doing and says “I’m going to see the baby, because you know, ya gotta go see the baby.” Jerry shrugs in agreement “ya gotta see the baby,” he concurs. Neither of them like kids.

I’m kind of conflicted on this one. I wrote about this recently because I think there’s a tendency to either go for no group shots whatsoever, or have a gazillion group shots and no time left for mingling.

The fact is this one is really up to you. If you don’t like group shots you don’t have to have them. Most modern wedding photographers don’t do some of the really tacky stuff that was popular 20 years ago, so they’ll respect your decision either way. Personally, I reckon that a few group shots is more than enough. They’re a really strange tradition – everyone gets there in their finest clothes and stands stock still, with a grin on their face, and stares directly into the camera. Bit Victorian, no? What if, instead of that, you just told the photographer who the important guests and relatives are, then we take loads of candids and make sure these people feature in them? Authentic moments with all your fave people, while everyone gets to relax and have a drink. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

peak district wedding photographer

Tradition 3:

A three course sit down meal with proper place settings

To start you’ll have a bowl of soup, then it’s chicken, followed by chocolate terrine. Sounds delicious. Nowt wrong with it. I eat soup on the daily at this time of year.


You could have….

Fish and chips. Burritos. Hand-stretched pizza, still hot from a clay oven. Bangers and mash. Gourmet burgers. Vietnamese street food.

Can you see where I’m going with this? Can you tell I’ve not had my lunch yet?

One Fab Day has loads of practical tips for non-traditional wedding eats on this post.

Tradition 4:

Dads giving their daughters away.

On an individual basis I think fine, anyone can walk down an aisle with whoever they choose to accompany them. If that’s a dad walking his daughter down the aisle then cool, if it’s a choice they’ve made. And obviously, there are sentimental reasons for carrying this tradition on. 

But until parents start giving away their sons, I’ll maintain that this is batshit bonkers.


(Sorry for swearing Mum).

Tradition 5:

wearing heels when you don’t normally wear heels.

It is my professional opinion, as a wedding photographer and fellow human, that you should never, ever wear anything you don’t like, that hurts, or that makes you walk like you’ve done a whoopsie. Personally, heels make all three of those things happen. 

We all know that when it comes to doing anything except sitting down, flats rule. Pretty girly flats, converse, docs, or something custom – choose a pair of shoes you can actually walk in, dance in, and enjoy your wedding day in.

peak district wedding photographer

When it comes to weddings I’m a massive believer in doing things your way, rather than ‘the way it’s always been done’. Of course, nothing in this post is intended to have a pop at those who choose tradition – I’m just highlighted a few things that I can be planned more thoughtfully. I love it when people really customise their wedding day, rather than picking what tradition dictates. 

So long as you enjoy it all, crack on! The next post will definitely be the details one I was trying to write instead of this one.


If you’re having a chilled out wedding in 2019 you should check out my offer through the link below. I promise it’s a good ‘un!

2019 Wedding Photography special offer

I'm offering ten couples who book me for a full day in 2019 the chance to get a complimentary highlights film along with their wedding photography. There are only a few spots left.