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  • Writer's pictureSTP Weddings

Examining Wedding Traditions

The list of wedding traditions that have been going on for generations now can be pretty long. So, it’s time to think about which traditions you would like to include in your wedding day and which you’d like to ditch…because it is OK to ditch some! It’s easier said than done, but try not to let the opinions of your friends and family impact you too much when it comes to these, after all, it’s your big day! Here are a few traditions that you may want to consider and why we think it’s ok to opt out if that is the direction you’d prefer!


Many couples like to have programs at their ceremony explaining who will be walking down the aisle, the songs that will be played, special thanks to loved ones and other things they think are important to the ceremony. Typically ushers have handed these out to guests or more recently they are displayed in baskets at the entrance of the ceremony or in unique and clever ways like as fans for a summer wedding!

Why it's ok to remove:

Frequently we get the question of whether or not these are a necessary added cost. Stationary is already a very large part of your wedding budget and even though programs look nice and are a great way to for guests to see exactly how the ceremony will take place, many people either don't grab one or they leave it on their chair after the ceremony, never to be seen again! If you have the extra money in your budget then we say go for it because they are a nice touch and keepsake, but if you're trying to cut costs this is something that is not necessary for a fabulous ceremony in our opinion.

Seeing the Groom for the first time at the ceremony

Tradition says it is “bad luck” for the bride and groom to see each other before the ceremony and a lot of couples like to stick with this tradition to make their walk down the aisle extra special.

Why it’s ok to change it up:

You can still create that special moment in a very intimate, private way with you and your fiancé during a “first look”. Seeing each other prior to the ceremony allows couples to take more photos together before the ceremony. This leaves a minimal amount of photos for after the ceremony and ensures that the couple gets to attend the cocktail hour that they paid so much to have ;-)

Bouquet Toss & Garter throw

Many, many years ago it was believed that having a piece of the bride’s dress would bring you luck, which turned into women grabbing at a bride’s dress during the reception. This is how both the wedding bouquet and garter toss tradition began- as a piece that the couple can give others for good luck rather than being attacked!

Why it’s ok to change it up:

A garter and bouquet toss can be really fun for some couples, but for others, it is just breaking up the flow of the reception and interrupting the dancing! Some guests get a kick out of these traditions while it may make others cringe. We’re pretty sure that your single friends will forgive you if you opt to skip these traditions and instead keep the band playing Bruce!


Traditionally, the bride and groom provide each guest with a favor. Often it is at their place setting when they sit down in the reception. We've seen favors range from small items like candy or candles to large items like bottles of wine. It's definitely nice to provide your guests with favors, however, these gifts often get left behind or go unused once they are home.

Why it's ok to change it up:

You're already spending a lot of money on your wedding day, so don't feel like you have to spend more by getting favors for your guests. It's nice to consider other ways to make your guests feel welcome (check out our post on this for more inspiration!). Another direction many couples have been going is to make a donation to a charity that they feel strongly about. That way, you are using the money towards something that won't be left behind or go unused. When in doubt, we always recommend sticking with food for favors because after a night of drinking and dancing, people often like a snack on the way out!

Wedding cake

The wedding cake has become a beautiful display of art and can be used to express a couple’s personality. It is the traditional dessert for weddings and part of the cake is given to the couple to bring home and eat on their first anniversary.

Why it’s ok to change it up:

The cake gets cut up by the catering staff and distributed to guests who are likely up dancing. At this point, a lot of people are full and the cake that you put a lot of effort into picking goes to waste. A lot of couples are opting for something more portable and bite sized like a cupcake bar, donut bar or even a food truck on the way out. You can still have a small cake made for you and your partner to cut into. If you do decide to go with cake and you are worried about people not eating it, consider providing guests with to go boxes so they can enjoy their cake on their drive home or the next day.

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