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  • Writer's pictureSTP Weddings

Examining Wedding Traditions

Outside pressure from friends, family and wedding traditions in general tend to cause some stress for couples leading up to their wedding days. Overall, we try to tell all of our couples that there is no right or wrong way to do things. It is all about how you and your partner want to make your day come to life.

It is ok to break traditions and do what makes the most sense for you on your day. Here are some traditions that are definitely ok to break! [Photo by Susan Elizabeth Weddings]

First look (for parents too)!

First looks are becoming more and more popular now. It gives couples the chance to actually attend their cocktail hour, allows you to have more time for photos and relieves some stress and anticipation prior to the ceremony. Next week we talk about figuring out if a first look is for you.

Brides (and grooms!) are also starting to do first looks with family members. Often brides will do one with their father and grooms with their mother. Of course you can also do one with your wedding party. You can set it up the same way as you would a traditional first look with your partner.


Introductions into the reception can be for your whole wedding party as well as parents or for just you and your partner! Don’t feel pressured into introducing everyone. If you want to acknowledge them, the band or DJ can ask them to stand at their seats. With just you and your partner entering, you cut some time off the formalities. If it’s important to you that everyone enter but you still want to speed up the process, consider having the whole wedding party enter as a group.

Co-ed bridal party

It doesn’t have to be men on one side, women on the other! Mix and match and go with whatever works for you!

Cocktail reception

It is ok to ditch a sit down dinner! Often times guests find cocktail hour to be their favorite food of the evening. A cocktail reception is a good option as long as you are able to add in some heavier stations so that guests aren’t left feeling hungry. With free flowing food there’s more time for dancing!

Your Officiant

We’ve found a lot of couples recently are opting to have a friend or close family member perform their marriage

ceremony. It adds a personal touch and can be really special for the person performing the ceremony. We talk more about this in our article about Hiring Your Officiant.

Bouquet & Garter Toss

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!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! [Photo by Jackie Averill Photography]

Wedding Cake

A wedding cake is a beautiful and tasty piece of art. It is a tradition that many couples opt to include, however, if you want to skip it or go with a small cake, that's ok! Dessert bars are really fun and allow people the chance to try a few desserts, rather than just cake.

Receiving Line

Receiving lines take place after the wedding ceremony. Traditionally, the couple stands in one spot and guests line up to say congratulations. It is a nice way for the couple to be able to thank everyone for coming and each person to get their chance to say hi. However, these can take a VERY long time. We think that it is definitely ok to skip this and instead, make it a point to mingle with your guests during cocktail hour and while they are seated and eating dinner at the reception. That's a great time to go table to table and express your gratitude.

Gift for your Partner

Couples may opt to exchange gifts while getting ready. Even if you don't want to do a gift, a card is a nice option! If you do choose to go with this tradition, make sure that you wait until your photographer is there so that they can capture shots of you reading the card or opening the gift. Your wedding planner or wedding party can help coordinate the exchange if you are in the same location and if not, talk to your planner about other options!


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