Jack grinned at my latest idea. “I didn’t know that I was marrying an hippy.” I don’t remember which of my many untraditional statements it was. Maybe the “everyone stand ceremony” or the “hey what if we ditch the entire schedule?” campaign.

Jack knew exactly what he wanted to do. Let’s face it: Jack is marrying a rebel. We’ve joined forces with him, a rebel, to turn the wedding party upside down.

You may ask, “How are we “bucking the tradition”?” I discussed my plan to “go au-natural” with a no-makeup look and our flower-foraging banditry. Oh – and this trend that brides feel pressured to let their hair grow out to achieve a classic bridal updo. I cut it above my shoulder a few weeks ago. The list goes on! Below, you can read about the other traditions that Jack and I have said goodbye to.

No Bridal Party

France’s lack of bridal parties shocked me when I first started photographing weddings there. It was terrific that brides did not have to exclude their “outside” friends or rank them. I thought how excellent it is to wear anything you want rather than being forced into a dress they would never have chosen for themselves.

Jack and I were happy to relieve these friends from their duties. We’re still getting spoiled by bachelor and bachelorette party invitations, and I invited my closest girlfriends to help me get ready for the big day.

The Guest List is Shockingly Small (for Some).

Our “shockingly small” guest list is another reason we don’t have a bridal group. It would be silly to have the other half of our guests stand next to us when we were married.

Why was the guest list so small? We wanted to share our special day with only people we know well. We only wanted a few people to attend so we could spend quality time with everyone on our wild adventure in Mexico.

Travel books are the new save-the-dates and formal invitations

Todos Santos is an “up-and-coming” travel destination. There is very little online information on food and things to do. Instead of sending Save-the Dates and a formal invite, I designed, wrote, and printed a guide to our wedding destination, complete with our photographs.

Our guests could access our personal restaurant reviews and accommodation suggestions, information on how to get to the beach, directions, how to get to the airport, and wedding details. They could also find links to our website for everything listed in our guide. The reactions of my invitees exceeded what I could have imagined. Everyone was excited and impressed! It helped our guests book their travel and showed them what a fantastic week they would have.

No Rehearsal Dinner

I think we’ve got the whole “Jack-marries-Claire” situation figured out, so rather than hosting a rehearsal dinner for a select few, we’re putting on a wild Welcome Party two days prior for all of our guests arriving in Mexico.

We thought it would be great to kick off the festivities with a party, as most guests are flying mid-week. So everyone can enjoy a few margaritas or cervezas before the ceremony without being hungover.

This is a symbolic ceremony.

Jack and I will not go to such extremes. To marry legally in Mexico, couples must have chest scans and blood tests in the state they’ll be marrying in. We will sign our marriage papers in New York with Roberta (a friend of mine) and two witnesses. When we leave for Mexico, the documents will be mailed, and Roberta will perform the symbolic ceremony at the beach. When we return to New York, our license will already be there.

The ceremony might also seem non-traditional to some guests. There will be no mention of religion, and we won’t follow the bride-on-the-left rule. My dad, myself, and a mariachi will walk down the aisle. My wedding band will be on my middle finger because it looks nice there.