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Wedding Traditions to Ignore

Rule #1: Don't Let the Groom See You Before the Wedding

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Why You Should Break It: It's not bad luck for your love to lay eyes on you before the ceremony. In fact, it could make the whole day run more smoothly. "Had I not seen my groom for pictures beforehand, I would have missed my entire cocktail hour and most of the reception,” says Orlee Graae, 25, Wood Ridge, CT. "My advice is to see your groom beforehand for pictures so that you can both spend more time with your guests to enjoy."

Rule #2: Step Up Your Skincare Routine

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Why You Should Break It: While it's smart to have a beauty plan to help you look picture perfect on your wedding day, the month before the wedding is not the time to try a new facialist or high-tech procedure. “Many brides feel pressured to have perfect skin for their photographs and start experimenting with treatments they normally would not have done if they weren’t getting married,” says Erica Abdo, a professional makeup artist who works at Fashion Week in New York City, as well as for celebrities such as Samantha Harris. “I’ve had to perform an emergency spray tan on a bride-to-be after she got a laser treatment that left her with uneven pigmentation on her face the night before her bridal shower. Applying makeup, such as an airbrush foundation, is a much safer way to score flawless skin before a big event.”

Rule #3: Do Not Skip Traditions at Your Reception

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Why You Should Break It: It’s tough to focus on all the precious moments of your wedding when you’re also trying to keep track of when it’s time to cut the cake, do the father-daughter dance, toss the bouquet, have a toast, or throw the garter. “You want your wedding to feel relaxed and not like you’re on a schedule or have to check off an itinerary,” says Mike Bristol, lead singer, guitarist, and manager of New Day Band based in Syracuse, NY. “The best weddings I’ve played over the last decade are ones that include three or four meaningful traditions done right in the beginning—such as the first dance and best man speeches. That way, once dinner is finished, the party can start and isn’t slowed down throughout the night from trying to fit in all these other activities.”

Rule #4: It’s Important to Have a Wedding Cake

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Why You Should Break It: “You should have a dessert that represents you and your partner,” says Heather Christo, a cook and entertaining expert based in Seattle, WA. “So while it could be a cake, it could also be cupcakes, pies, or a dessert buffet.” She’s done a wedding where she served ice cream cones in place of the cake. At Christo’s own wedding, she had a traditional Italian pastry with cream and strawberries. If you’re trying to save cash, a cupcake may cost half as much as a slice of wedding cake, eliminates cake cutting costs, and makes for beautiful table display. “If you’d like to follow the tradition of cutting the cake as a couple, you can opt for a smaller, two-tiered cake and order a variety of cupcake flavors for your guests to choose from,” says Kylie Visconti, a wedding cake decorator at Pascale’s Bakehouse and Café in Fayetteville, New York.

Rule #5: Go for the Standard Surf and Turf at Dinner

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Why You Should Break It: What you should pick is the kind of food that you and your partner really love, not what you think you are supposed to serve. “You could go for regional food, like the shrimp and grits bar at my brothers wedding in Asheville, N.C., or simply your favorites whether it is sushi or BBQ,” Christo says. “Remember that the wedding is a celebration of you two and what your life together is all about, so represent yourselves!”

Rule #6: Wedding Centerpieces Should Include Flowers

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Why You Should Break It: Your centerpieces should reflect your theme while fitting with your budget, such as using a hurricane glass filled with apples rather than pricey bouquets for an autumn wedding. Think about how you might incorporate your surroundings as your decor. “I opted to have my ceremony in a lovely garden area inside a park so my flowers were already provided. I used candle arrangements as my center pieces, which also served as mementos,” says Tessie Van Loan, 39, of Syracuse, NY.

Rule #7: A Classic Look is Best for Brides

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Why You Should Break It: “Ignore the rule that can't step outside the box on your wedding day! It’s your time to shine,” says Courtney Akai of the Courtney Akai Lash Boutique in New York City. “Do what makes you happy and your beauty will show through.” She suggests adding a bit of shimmer—even if it is something you normally wouldn’t wear. Try applying a dab of shimmer under the brow and brow bone, as well as in the inner corner of your eye. “It makes your eyes appear brighter and wider,” Akaisays. “Shimmer right above the cheekbone is also a great highlighter.”

Rule #8: It’s Not a Celebration Unless You Start with Champagne

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Why You Should Break It: You don’t want to be that bride who falls over on the dance floor just as the party is getting started. Plus, it won’t make for the kind of photos you want to remember! “Try to limit alcohol consumption at pre-wedding events,” Elissa Gonsiewski, an esthetician at Reflections Dermatology in Skaneateles, NY. “Alcohol zaps the water out of your skin, leaving your complexion dehydrated and sallow. It can also cause red or blotchy areas and leave your under-eyes puffy and dark the next day.”

Rule #9: Wear Your Hair in an Updo

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Why You Should Break It: “Many brides I’ve worked with assume the only option is the standard blowout and updo,” says Morgan Willhite, a stylist at Ouidad Salon in Santa Monica, CA. “Don’t just opt for a straight look. Instead, try enhancing your hair’s natural texture.” If curly hair is a part of your identity, why not define your natural curls before putting it up? You’ll look like yourself when you’re walking down the aisle-and that’s the person your future husband wants to see.


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