Wedding Traditions You Can Ditch For Your Big Day

Should it stay or should it go?  Where did these "traditions" even come from, anyway??

Here is our list of the top 10 wedding traditions you can totally ditch for your big day -- and it will be better than ever!


1.  Don't See the Bride Before the Ceremony

It's been considered "bad luck" to see the bride before the ceremony, but a "First Look" moment between the bride and the groom pre-ceremony is a new favorite tradition of most of our couples.  It allows for pre-wedding jitters to settle, you can hug, kiss, cry, share letters and private vows... and it won't be in front of everyone you know!  It also allows for greater flexibility with your wedding day timeline and has become a favorite, intimate moment within the wedding day for many of our couples.  

....And it's still just as happy and emotional when you actually start walking down the aisle!  

Layce and Brandon - Wedding - First Look-16.jpg

2. Matching Bridesmaids Dresses

Gone are the days of matching bridesmaids dresses in the exact same awful color in the exact same awful style.  Today's brides are opting for collaborative palettes in complimentary colors, or neutral tones, along with variations in textures and dress styles.  It creates a beautiful depth to the bridal party portraits and really allows each Bridesmaid to showcase her own sense of style.

3.  Receiving Lines After the Ceremony

Post-ceremony receiving/greeting lines are awkward and take an inordinate amount of time to complete, which often cuts into portrait time and cocktail hour!  Skip the receiving line and opt to greet your guests by table casually during the cocktail hour and reception.  It will allow you to converse more naturally with your guests and take photos with them instead of shuffling them through a line like cattle.  Win/win! 

4.  Wedding Cake

While the wedding cake tasting experience is one that many couples love (because, cake!), many couples are opting away from the traditional, tiered wedding cake for numerous reasons:  Cost, want for variety, additional cake cutting fees by caterer/venue, etc.

Some couples opt for a variety of different desserts, such as cupcakes, cake pops, pies, bite-sized brownies, donuts and other tasty sweets.  Others opt to combine a bit of traditional with a more custom spread with a small wedding cake for the traditional "cake cutting", and also offer a spread of different desserts for those with a picky sweet tooth.

Bonus tip:  Opting for desserts that do not have to be cut can help you avoid a hefty cake-cutting fee by your caterer/venue.  Win!!  Just make sure that you're allowed to bring in outside desserts (almost always allowed, as long as it is generally from a licensed bakery).

5.  Traditional Wedding Vows

While some couples still love "for richer, for poorer... in sickness and in health" and all that, almost all of our couples in the last few years (especially those with non-church wedding ceremonies) have opted to write their own non-traditional, beautiful and meaningful vows.  It allows the couple to express their love and devotion while also bringing a personal touch to such a meaningful ceremony.

6.  Cheesy Wedding Favors

How many weddings have you been to where someone offers a beer Koozie, some type of commemorative glass, a pen with the couple's names, a candle or some other random gift that has the bride+groom's names on them?

Skip the cheesy favors and opt for a more personal, multipurpose gift, like souvenir photos from an awesome Photo Booth, so that your guests can take home something THEY want, and you'll treasure!

7.  Limousines

One of the most overpriced and underutilized parts of a wedding day.  Sure, a fancy limo is "cool", but you're not in it long (if at all, especially if your venue is a single location).  Even party buses and trolleys are neat, but they only serve to get everyone drunk in 10-15 minutes of driving.  If you're just looking for a post-ceremony or end-of-the-night getaway vehicle, consider a friend or relative that has a sweet ride to borrow for the day.

8.  Wedding Programs

While some people are adamant about wedding programs, it doesn't make any difference if you have a printed program or a simple chalkboard greeting your guests with the basic ceremony info.  Or skip it all together!  Really the only two people that need to know what happens and when is the officiant and the photographer.  Everyone else is just there to observe!  Putting your wedding ceremony info on a decorative board is a great way to add to the decor of your day.  AND you'll avoid having lots of programs left over or floating around that need to be cleaned up post-ceremony.

9.  Floral Centerpieces

Traditional floral centerpieces look beautiful, and other floral installations, such as a ceremony arch or head-table display, can really make a statement.  But if you're tight on your budget already, skip the fresh floral centerpieces and opt for reuseable items that you can also resell, such as tall candleholders and just add in fresh green garlands from Sam's Club.

If you opt to DIY your floral centerpieces, you will save on the up-front cost versus a floral designer, but do realize that you'll also be taking on the risk of mismanaged flower care, wilting flowers, and you'll have to trim, arrange, place and remove all of the centerpieces.  There is generally a significant time investment in floral prep, arrangement and care leading up to and on the wedding day.... something a floral designer would generally take care of.

Opting for non-traditional centerpieces with more greens and less blooms can be a great way to significantly cut down on decor costs. 

Tashina and Nate - Wedding-183.jpg

10.  Guest Book

Very few couples still opt for a traditional wedding guest book.  Oftentimes, couples will opt to put their own spin on the guest book idea -- by using engagement photos printed in an album and guests can sign, or a photo canvas that guests can sign.  Others will offer "message in a bottle" advice that guest can both offer advice and indicate presence.  A traditional guest book is just another "thing" after the wedding to keep track of.  If you can think of a meaningful alternative, definitely give that some consideration!


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