Wedding traditions carry different meaning for different people. For some couples, superstition is the order of the day, and to stray from any of the common wedding practices will ruin the whole event. For others, it’s more important to be unique than it is to stick to taboos that don’t have any real meaning in our modern-day world.

If you consult any wedding etiquette expert, however, you’ll find that some wedding traditions exist for a reason—and to stray too far from them isn’t quirky, it’s downright rude. If you want to bend the rules a little for your Utah wedding and reception, here are some ways to make an impact without stepping on any toes.

  • Old, Blue, Borrowed, New: Some wedding traditions are whimsical and fun, like the oft cited wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” or the decision not to see the bride in her gown before the ceremony. It’s okay to toss traditions like these out the window or to redefine them in your own way.
  • Dancing: From the first dance as a couple and the father-daughter dance to the money dance, traditional wedding receptions call for quite a bit of floor time. If you choose not to have dancing or even music at your reception, prepare for people to ask questions and have a polite answer handy.
  • Food and Drink: Some people attend weddings with the expectation that there will be a full meal or open bar. If you aren’t planning on feeding your guest list of 200 with a five-course meal, plan the reception for a time other than mealtimes. People are less likely to expect to be fed at three in the afternoon (unless they’ve been at the wedding since ten in the morning…then it becomes rude NOT to feed them).
  • Wedding Financing: Who pays for the wedding can be one of the most difficult traditions to adhere to (or to stray from). Traditionally, the wedding is the bride’s family’s responsibility, while the groom’s family picks up the tab for the honeymoon and rehearsal dinner. However, expecting one side of the family to pay for everything can put a strain on relationships—especially if money is tight. Finances should be discussed between those involved early on, ideally before any decisions regarding venue or budget are made.
  • Thank Yous: It’s never okay to skip out on gratitude. Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking for everyone, from the happy couple to their countless attendants. Even your guests deserve a hearty thank you for taking the time to attend and share their well wishes (whether it’s in the form of a gift or kind words). Always send thank you notes (it’s also a good idea to thank your wedding vendors) and provide a small token to your bridesmaids and groomsmen. It doesn’t have to be expensive—this is one time when the thought really does count.

One of the best things about a wedding is that it’s your chance to start new traditions with the ones you love. As long as you focus on what’s really important—your new relationship and the people who are there to celebrate it—you can do whatever you want and walk away happy with your perfect Utah wedding reception.