Ideas

Wedding Traditions That Need To Go Away For Good

Many of these tacky traditions are demeaning and add unnecessary stress to a couple's big day!

More than two million couples tie the knot in the United States every year and every wedding is unique and special in its own romantic way. Trends and traditions have their time and place in nuptials, but more than a few have been overdone and might have lost their purpose or appeal. Some are even flat-out sexist and gross at this point!

Check out the wedding customs whose time has come (and gone) so that you can plan a ceremony with no regrets.

Cookie-Cutter Engagement Rings

Not all engagement rings need to look the same, regardless of how we always see them in movies and on TV. Who says an engagement ring has to be 24-karat gold with a huge diamond? There are so many other gorgeous gems and materials to choose from that every bride can find something to suit her personality, such as her birthstone or favorite color.

emerald engagement photo
Getty Images | Oli Scarff

Matchy-Matchy Ring Sets

Sticking with rings for a second, this might sound shocking but not all brides and grooms share the exact same tastes in jewelry. His-and-hers wedding bands should not have to match; the same goes for engagement rings and bands.

Bride’s Parents Paying

The average U.S. wedding costs $33,391, and the tradition of the bride’s parents footing the bill still seems to have a stronghold. For folks with multiple daughters, this can put a serious strain on their finances. Perhaps a more contemporary practice would be for the engaged couple to carry the weight of the wedding with some financial help from family on both sides.

bride parents photo
Flickr | brand0con

White Dresses Only

While some brides can only envision themselves in the snowiest of gowns, others would prefer an alternative. In fact, white wedding gowns have not always been en vogue. In the 1800s, the average woman was wed in the best dress she owned. Today’s brides should wear whatever makes them feel beautiful.

Two Wedding Colors

During the Middle Ages, wealthy families whose children were marrying would gift friends and commoners with favors in the two families’ colors, beginning the practice of having two theme colors for a wedding. Since we are no longer in the medieval times, a couple should feel fine choosing as many, or as few, hues as they like.

Something Blue

Along with something old, new and borrowed, this tradition can be a fun way for the bride’s friends and family to be involved in the wedding. However, it can also be one (or four) more item on an already lengthy list of to-dos. If it feels more stressful than enjoyable, skip it!

Bridesmaid Dresses

“The most stunning thing I have ever worn is my bridesmaid dress,” said no female, ever. Instead of dressing their closest friends in unflattering, matching gowns, brides have the option to give their girls something stylish they will love to wear again.

bridesmaid dresses photo
Flickr | marina guimarães

Gender-Specific Bridal Parties

The bride’s BFF — who just happens to be a guy — doesn’t have to stand on the groom’s side. There is no law that says the groom’s sister can’t be his best man … or woman. A mixed-gender bridal party is a caring and considerate way to honor all of the important people in the soon-to-be-newlyweds’ life, regardless of gender.

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Summer Saturdays

Couples don’t have to tie the knot on a Saturday in June, even though this is highly traditional. They should pick a date that is meaningful and memorable to them. And yes, many churches do allow weddings on Sundays, although it would likely be after church services.

save the date card photo
Flickr | Jonathan Vo

Bridal Registries

These days, many couples are not still living with their parents without a single household item to their names. Future life partners might opt out of asking for an entire kitchen-worth of gear and instead create a digital cash registry to help fund the honeymoon or any other dream item.

wedding gift photo
Flickr | TFDuesing

Bridal Showers

Similarly, a group of women spending a day watching the bride open gifts and playing the same old wedding shower games is an outdated tradition. Try a non-traditional alternative instead, such as a couples’ shower or a group cooking class.

Not Seeing The Bride Before The Wedding

The bride and groom are traditionally supposed to stay apart from the day before the wedding up until she walks down the aisle. Chances are good, though, that the person you most want to spend time with and talk to as you prepare for one of the biggest days of your life is your partner! This has to be one of the dumbest wedding traditions and is one we can easily scrap at this point.

groom peeking photo
Flickr | RTD Photography

Here Comes The Bride

“The Wedding March” has long been the go-to tune for the bride’s procession down the aisle, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. Walking down the aisle to your song or having someone read a beautiful poem might be more romantic — and memorable.

bride aisle photo
Flickr | .Martin.

Giving The Bride Away

The idea that the bride is the “property” of her father is as archaic as any wedding tradition. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having your father, both parents or another special person walk you down the aisle and present you to your future spouse with a blessing. Alternatively, the couple can even walk down the aisle together. But the idea that it has to be the woman’s father is patriarchal nonsense.

father walking bride photo
Flickr | Yaisog Bonegnasher

Bride’s Side And Groom’s Side

Choosing to sit on the bride’s or groom’s side at the wedding is literally divisive. Instead, family and friends of both should sit together and mingle.

Throwing Rice

Some wedding venues actually ban the use of rice after the ceremony, but not because it will cause birds to explode (it doesn’t). Actually, it’s a mess, as well as a safety hazard (stepping on a bunch of dry rice in slick shoes could spell a spill). Let’s swap this trend for flower petals, bubbles or another safe and biodegradable alternative.

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throwing confetti wedding photo
Flickr | hodgers

Seating Charts

While there are those who insist that a seating chart is a must for every wedding reception, it is a stressful and time-consuming process for soon-to-be-wed couples. One option is to have a few banquet-style tables rather than several round ones or have tables of various sizes where people can opt to seat themselves.

wedding place cards photo
Flickr | garethjmsaunders

Favors

Nobody really wants a monogrammed tin of breath mints or a key chain with the couple’s engagement photo. Skip the pricey tchotchkes and spring for something everyone will enjoy, such as special entertainment or an edible treat to take home.

beautiful wedding gift for guest

Smashing Cake

Here’s the simple truth: having pastry shoved up your nostrils, all over your perfectly made-up face or in your hair is not fun. Especially on the most-photographed day of your life! This trend itself needs to be smashed.

bride feeding cake photo
Flickr | Corey Ann

Saving Cake

Many couples freeze the top layer of their wedding cake and eat it on their anniversary. While many experts agree it’s probably safe to eat, provided it has been properly preserved, it might not taste great. Why not go out for dinner and fresh dessert instead?

Cake As King

Perhaps the bride needs to eat gluten-free, or maybe the groom just is more of a pie guy. Wedding cake alternatives, from doughnuts to pancakes, abound. It’s all about choosing something that fits the couple’s tastes, rather than just picking something because everyone else has always done it that way.

wedding donut cake photo
Flickr | Jim Larrison

Receiving Lines

A receiving line takes about 30 minutes per 100 guests. That’s half an hour (or more) that could be spent dancing, dining and enjoying the wedding. Why not go around and greet guests during the cocktail hour or visit each table during the reception instead?

wedding receiving line photo
Flickr | WordRidden

Toasts

For most people, coming up with a speech for a wedding toast is stressful. It is often awkward and embarrassing for the bride and groom. Toasts could be made at the rehearsal dinner, or encourage guests to share wishes and memories on video during the reception.

wedding speech photo
Flickr | Greg Edgings

Tossing The Bouquet

Gathering all of the couple’s “spinster” friends and female family members to fight over a bunch of flowers in the hopes of snagging a man is really a bit demeaning. Not to mention, whoever catches it will be labeled the rest of the day and beyond.

Tossing The Garter

Doesn’t this one make everybody a bit uncomfortable to watch? In medieval times, wedding guests would tear at the bride’s clothing for luck. Women started stripping off stockings and garters to appease them while remaining appropriately covered. Pretty gross, huh? Just another time-honored and sexist tradition that needs to be tossed for good.

garter toss photo
Flickr | usdalton

Going Super-Sexy On Your Wedding Day

It’s not like brides should return to wearing nothing but long-sleeved, high-necked gowns, but it’s hard not to cringe just a little when you see a bride wearing something super-revealing on her wedding day.

Stylish groom hugs from behind beautiful bride with pink hair
Stylish groom hugs from behind beautiful bride with pink hair

What are some of your least-favorite wedding traditions?