Bridal Guide

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Add a twist to bouquet toss traditions

Part of what makes weddings such enjoyable events is the many traditions that are built into the day. Tradition lends familiarity to the proceedings and serves as unwritten cues for guests.

Certain traditions invite guest participation, and these can make great memories for both couples and their guests. Just because something is a tradition, however, doesn't mean couples can't put their own unique spin on things.

The bouquet toss is one tradition that may benefit from a little personalization. In a 2015 Jezebel poll of about 4,500 readers, 19 percent supported having a bouquet toss, but 81 percent were against it, suggesting that this tradition is ready for some updating.

The bouquet toss traces its origins to Olde English times. In those days, women used to try to rip pieces of the bride's dress and flowers in order to obtain some of her good luck. To escape from the crowd, the bride would toss her bouquet and run away. The bouquet is tossed to single women with the idea that whoever catches it will be the next to marry. This may have placated the throngs of single ladies in olden times. Today, however, some single women are no longer interested in finding matches at a wedding and view the bouquet toss as a somewhat archaic tradition. Others dislike the expectation that they stand on the dance floor with the hopes of finding a spouse.

For couples who want to embrace the traditional bouquet toss while giving it a more modern twist, consider the following suggestions.

• Girls-only dance: Invite all of the women out on the floor — not just the single ones — and play a female-centric empowerment song or one that mentions ladies having a good time. This puts the emphasis on having fun rather than finding a spouse.

• Attach a prize to the toss. To encourage people to participate, explain that the bouquet- and garter-toss winners get prizes — and that the prize has nothing to with finding a partner.

• Wedding anniversary countdown: Invite all of the married couples to the center of the dance floor. The DJ or band can play a beautiful love song and count up the years as the song plays. As each year is mentioned, couples leave the dance floor after their most recent anniversary has passed. The last couple on the dance floor marks the couple who has been married the longest. That couple gets to take home the bouquet.

• Have a bridal piñata. All guests can take a turn at hitting a bouquet-shaped piñata. It's fun and entertaining and doesn't discriminate based on age or marital status.

With a little ingenuity, the traditional bouquet toss can be reborn.