10 Outdated Wedding Traditions to Ditch Before Tying the Knot
Bid adieu to these nuptial trends that are no longer a thing.
Planning a wedding is no easy feat, but the good—no, great—news is that you and your spouse are in for the most memorable night of your lives thus far. Because the road to "I do" is littered with hundreds of opinions, decisions, and RSVP cards, it's helpful to consider only the most crucial wedding details and traditions before your big day arrives. Unsure of your stance on the following wedding traditions? Take our word for it when we say you can leave these tired wedding traditions at the altar.
There's a lot less fanfare when it comes to reception entrances for both the newlyweds and their wedding party. And trust us when we say your bridesmaids and groomsmen have enough on their minds without having to remember a cheesy, choreographed party entrance. "Your wedding party already has their important moment supporting you during the ceremony," says event planner Tzo Ai Ang of Ang Weddings and Events. "They really don't need another announcement before the start of the reception—it takes away from guests just enjoying themselves." If you still love the idea of a pre-planned entrance, ask your spouse if they'll join in on the fun—just remember that YouTube is a digital trove of reception entrances gone awry.
Rather than require that your maids don identical dresses, ask them to choose from gowns in a coordinating color palette. Differing cuts, materials, and silhouettes add visual interest to your wedding photos, plus it means your bridesmaids will actually get to wear a look that complements their unique shape. "It's every woman's worst nightmare to show up to a party and be wearing the same dress as everyone else," says wedding planner Annie Lee of Daughter of Design. "Today's bridesmaids are much more individualistic and fashion forward."
Some couples agonize over an even amount of bridesmaids and groomsmen, but the reality is that numbers don't matter. While we're at it, bridesmen and groomsmaids are very much encouraged. "Your wedding party should include the really important few you want standing next to you as you say your vows," says Ang. "That number can certainly be different on each side."
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According to event planner Leah Weinberg of Color Pop Events, paper programs are one of the first wedding details to go. "It can be a good amount of work to design a custom program, not to mention the additional cost of printing them," she says. "When most guests are just going to throw them away, why bother?" Instead, put that money toward a custom stationery suite that reflects your personal interests. That, or splurge on pair of wedding shoes to remember.
Let's face it: Nobody actually enjoys waiting in line to greet the grinning newlyweds after they say "I do." Oftentimes, a receiving line takes place immediately after the ceremony is through, which means it's high time for hangry guests. Planning to invite hundreds of family and friends? Consider just how long that receiving line will actually be. "It's much better to have guests move into the cocktail reception so they can enjoy food and drinks," says Ang. "During that time, work your way around cocktail hour to try and greet everyone."
When you picture your wedding day, do you really envision lugging dozens of wrapped gifts home at the end of the night? Didn't think so. "Bringing a gift to the actual wedding is almost rude these days," says Lee. "Since there are very few gifts brought to the event, there's no reason to put an entire gift table out."
While cake is always a great idea, slicing it in front of onlookers and publicly feeding it to your spouse is a tradition that no longer applies to modern couples. "Most of our couples opt for a small cake and an array of sweets to serve," says event planner Sunna Yassin of Bash Please. "If a couple has an heirloom cake stand or server, we'll ask the photographer snap a few pictures, but it's not an event we invite all of the guests to witness."
According to Yassin, the time-old tradition of tossing flowers into the air is no more. "The thought of single friends finding love by catching the bouquet or garter is an ancient mindset." Instead, offer up your wedding blooms to the couple in the room who has been married the longest, or gift the bouquet to your parents or in-laws.
Modern couples no longer feel obligated to ask for "traditional" gifts like casserole dishes and fine china. Alternative gifts have reinvented the registry experience, including charitable registries where couples can denote a specific cause they support. "Charitable gifts are a great way to start your marriage off on a positive note," says Yassin. Alternatively, Yassin suggests working with a local artist to curate photos, paintings or illustrations that guests can purchase as gifts.
Opt for a dining experience that reflects your entertaining style at home. After all, you'd never ask a dinner guest to forecast their cravings months ahead of time. "Don't be afraid to create one great meal instead of asking your guests to select an entrée weeks before they will get to enjoy it," says Yassin. "We love the idea of serving the wedding meal as a family-style dinner with a range of main dishes and sides that complement one another, so guests can pick and choose what they like."