A modern approach to wedding tradition at Coton House Farm


We love the idea of taking something old and making something new and magical from it. Just take a look at our beautiful Old Dairy Barn – over 300 years old and reinvented into a charming wedding ceremony room. It’s a gentle mix of original features and modern aesthetics that makes the best of every part. 

Picking wedding traditions and tweaking them is a wonderful way to update and combine old and new, and to remove any outdated stereotypes. So, if you’re a same sex couple or a bride who doesn’t like the idea of being given away, we’ve put together some ideas to make your marriage unique to you.

Switching roles in your wedding

There are a lot of traditional gender assigned roles that go out of the window, especially in an LGBTQ+ wedding. So, let’s see how to shake them up. 

When it comes to the proposal – in fact, when it comes to the whole wedding – the key is in the communication. It’s likely that you and your partner have discussed getting married. So, you’ll already know whether you want to surprise each other, or plan a double proposal. A double proposal, when you both propose at the same time, is a lovely reason to plan something romantic together. 

We regularly see wedding parties where the traditional groomsmen and bridesmaids roles are mixed up. The point is to have your closest friends standing by your side. Whether it’s a heterosexual or LGBTQ+ wedding, lots of couples ignore the gender roles and choose their best person based on friendship, not gender.

Walking down the aisle at an LGBTQ+ wedding

We know it’s traditional for a father to walk his daughter down the aisle before giving her away – historically to her new owner, the groom. There are plenty of reasons that doesn’t work anymore, not least because a lot of brides are not impressed with the idea. 

You’ve got other choices. First of all, our Old Dairy Barn is so beautiful, you’ll both want to walk down the aisle.  So, make an entrance together and share the spotlight. Or choose to walk down in turn with parent, sibling or even on your own. Why not? There are no rules here.  

You can skip walking down the aisle altogether. Our Pergola is the perfect place for outdoor ceremonies. Wait together under the oak arches while your guests arrive, already in position for the ceremony.

Introducing your own version of tradition

As you’re now creating your own day, what else can you change? The answer is everything except for the legalities. Who holds the bouquet? Whichever of you wants to – or both. Do you want to toss the bouquet later? Gather all the single friends, male and female, together and go for it. Who gives the speech? Choose parents, a best friend or your sibling. You could choose all of them – but you probably need to insist on a time limit, or the toasting could go on all night. 

A beautiful wedding isn’t about marching down the checklist of tradition. It’s about love. And we love seeing other ideas introduced into your ceremony. 

Handfasting is a popular way to symbolise love. It’s actually a pagan ritual and even older than all the other traditions we’ve mentioned. The couple hold hands, and coloured ribbons are wrapped around, joining them together. Handfasting can be tweaked, perhaps by having friends or family tie the ribbons rather than the celebrant. 

A sand ceremony is a visual way of uniting a couple, and a very good one for blending families. The couple and any children each have a different coloured sand, which they pour into a glass vase together. As the colours combine, the families are united too. 

A fun twist on the sand ceremony is to have different coloured paints to pour over a canvas. You’ll finish with a unique piece of art for your home together. Or keep it simple with a candle ceremony. Each of you lights a candle, and then use those to light a larger one together. 

A visual LGBTQ+ wedding day

Finally, there’s nothing more visual than your clothes. Again, communication is key. If you both want to wear a dress, go formal in a suit or completely surprise each other, that’s up to you. There’s no reason to stick to white dresses or morning suits. We’ve seen some fabulous themes with every wedding guest asked to wear a certain colour, or even to stick to black and white, which allows the couple to really pop in bright colours of their own. 

When you book Coton House Farm as your wedding venue, you have it exclusively. That means that you can plan exactly what you want, making the most of our licensed ceremony rooms, Oak Barn and outdoor cooking theatre to create a day that is completely special to you. Just get in touch and discuss your ideas. Our team will be happy to help you bring your dream to life. 

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