Ah, weddings. They bring us together and create happy memories. Most little girls dream of their big day from a very young age. They play bride with their friends using a towel for a veil and a bouquet of dandelions. They fight over whose turn it is to be the bride and who has to be the groom.
Not much changes as the little girls grow up. Our playing pretend turns into curating the perfect wedding board on Pinterest.
We know exactly how we want our wedding day to be from the dress to the drinks to the color scheme, regardless of if we’re actually engaged, dating someone, or as single as a Pringle.
When the time comes and a woman actually gets engaged, she is excited and feels ready, after all, she’s been preparing for this day for a long time. Wedding planning in real life though isn’t as easy as clicking “Pin it,” and often those things that seem so unique and easy to do on the internet don’t play out well at a real-life wedding. The following trends and traditions are likely to make any wedding look like it came straight from Pinterest, but not in a good way.
Here are the 21 trends and traditions that have got to go!
21 Ridiculous Staged Photos
Aren't we all a little bit tired of these by now? These cliche photos were cute the first time someone came up with the idea, but now it's almost a right of passage in getting married that you have to make sure your photographer take all of them.
There's the Bridesmaid movie poster pose, the groom showing off his ring while the groomsmen all squeal, and the tug of war between the bridesmaids and the groomsmen for the bride and groom. There's the one where the bride and groom are kissing and everyone has to act grossed out.
There's the one where the bridesmaids are acting out and the poor bride is trying to shield the eyes of the innocent little flower girl.
There's the one where the groom thrusts his fist into the air in victory as if to say, "I got her for good!"
While some staged photos need to happen, (otherwise how else will you get a picture of your nieces and nephews standing still) the most memorable photos are the candid shots of the happy couple, surrounded by their loved ones, talking, dancing, and celebrating together. I promise those are the ones you’re going to want to be framed and on display.
20 Superhero Groomsmen
Superheros are awesome. Weddings are awesome. It just makes sense that the two work together, but if you're going about the superhero tee shirt under the tux route, try again. We all want to personalize the big day and show off the unique relationship we have with our betrothed, but if you google "Superhero Groomsmen" there are 451,000 hits and counting. I get it, most of the wedding is centered around the bride and she will more likely than not make most of the color, theme, and decorating choices; having all the groomsmen be secret superheroes is a great little nod to the groom’s interests. But like I said before, it has been done before, and you want your wedding to be unique and memorable. Maybe you could mix it up and find the groomsmen superhero socks, gift them all cufflinks designed in the symbol of their favorite hero, or have everyone wear a bowtie in wedding colors that have tiny little emblems on it.
If you want to incorporate your love of Marvel or DC into your wedding, go for it. But we're urging you to try to think out of the box lest you be google hit number 451,001.
19 The Sparkler Send Off
I understand that sparkler send-offs make for gorgeous photos. All of that bright light and all the people you love standing around you as you ride off into the sunset.
But real talk for a second, when was the last time you went to a wedding that didn't have a sparkler send off?
Think about it for a second.
And while sparkler send-offs make for gorgeous photos, it’s a pain in the tush to coordinate getting every single guest’s sparkler lit with enough time for the bride and groom to walk through. I attended a wedding once where they had to redo the whole thing. It really killed the magic.
Also, send-offs are pretty weird in the first place. It gives the expectation that after your wedding you’re heading off to some glamorous destination right then. Unless the bride or the groom have a rich aunt who paid a pretty penny for a company to coordinate the whole wedding or some awesome family members volunteering their time and what little energy they have left, they're not going anywhere except back in after everybody leaves to clean up after the party. After that, the most glamorous place they’ll be going to is the local Holiday Inn to get some rest. Anyone who's gotten married before can tell you: there’s no other day in your life you will be more tired after than after your wedding.
18 The Blindfolded Groom
Did you know that the traditions of veils and the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding date back to the time when arranged marriages were the norm? Weddings were seen more as business transactions then, so you didn't want the groom to see the bride, not like what he sees, and then decide maybe he doesn't want to go through with it. That historical context leaves me with many unanswered questions. What happened if they bride walked out and did not like what she saw with the groom? Could she still run off? Why didn’t the groom also wear a veil?
Aside from the fact that it's deeply unfair that the women didn't have a say in the matter, we tend to marry for love nowadays. By the time you make it to the altar, you're probably pretty sure that you're not going to run, especially since today is the day they're going to take the most care to look nice in their entire life. It’s probably not going to stop the wedding in its tracks to have the bride and groom see each other. It will probably make the whole day smoother to take care of all of those photos before the guests arrive. What would you rather be doing after the ceremony: taking photos or celebrating with your loved ones?
17 The Bouquet Toss
While this is not a trend but a long-standing tradition, we need to acknowledge that this one is really weird. At a certain point in the reception, usually accompanied by the song Single Ladies, all of the unmarried women are herded onto the dance floor and encouraged to fight to the death for the bouquet. Okay, that's a little bit dramatic, but I really have seen women shove each other to get to the bouquet before.
When you really look at it, it's mean and awkward. You are asking all of your single friends to line up and fight for "the key to happiness."
It's sort of like rubbing your happiness in their faces.
It's a bum deal for the “lucky” woman who actually catches the bouquet because it makes it look like she wants to get married a little too much and will probably be avoided by all single men in attendance for the rest of the night.
We need to also acknowledge the fact that not every woman in the world has the ultimate end goal to be married. Gasp, some might not even want it and are feeling really awkward following along with the bride's wishes to participate in the bouquet toss.
16 Smashing Cake In Your Spouses's Face
This one has just always seemed so bizarre. The couple and/or their family have spent an inordinate amount of money on this day. The bride probably had her hair and makeup professionally done. Even if she didn't pay for it, somebody spent a long time to make her look #flawless and now her husband is smearing icing all over her face. I remember thinking at my aunt’s wedding as a child, “They look so pretty! Why are they making such a mess with that cake!” And isn’t that kind of a waste of the fanciest cake you’ll ever buy?
While it looks like a lot of fun to have a food fight with your new spouse, what happens after they take the cute pictures? Does she wear the cake the rest of the night? Does she go touch up her makeup? Does she go bare faced? What about if the groom has facial hair? Does he go give it a quick shampoo or just wipe it off and hope it doesn't make his beard sticky or dry into an icing crust? What if it's an outdoor reception and there are bugs that discover his beard has tiny particles of icing in it? I have questions.
15 Spending So Much Time And Money Getting Ready
The whole ritual of the bridal party getting ready is fascinating. Our modern wedding industry has made it standard that you have to make a big deal of getting ready. A photographer has to be present for it, making the price of the day go up even more. The entire entourage has to coordinate their getting ready attire: bridesmaids, flower girl, mother of the bride, and the mother of the groom. There is usually professional makeup artists and hair stylists in attendance costing on average, per person, just under $200 according to Instyle.
How does every bridal party have such a picturesque place to get ready in?
Why do you do with those photos of you in your fancy bridal underwear? Why do you need to start so early in the morning? If most weddings take place in the evening, do you really need to start getting ready at 11:00 AM? Does it really take that long to get ready for formal events? Isn't there something more fun you could be doing that morning, like brunch or mini-golf? I know the groomsmen didn't take that long getting ready.
14 Personalized "Getting Ready" Attire
Just for funsies, I googled this. The average cost of a "getting ready" anything starts at about $20 on Etsy, a more cost-effective wedding source. That's the basic model of anything, matching robes, oversize tee shirts, pajamas. That's $20 a person before you start putting names on them. Have you seen the size of bridal parties nowadays? This seems an unnecessary chunk of change to throw onto the already excessive cost of what is expected of the modern wedding. Some brides even opt to make sure everyone in attendance is wearing some variation of the same robe or pajamas, down to the flower girls and moms. The bride herself stands out in a white version of whatever the rest of the girls are wearing, like the pop diva among her backup dancers.
I'm also confused about what happens to the gifts after the last photo is taken. Does your best friend really continue using that "maid-of-honor" tee shirt or robe? Are you going to regift that white silk “bride” robe to your cousin when she gets engaged? She saw it on Facebook. She knows it was yours. This is why the US generates 25 billions of textile waste per year, guys. Could we opt for just like, all wearing nice clothes we already own instead?
13 Ridiculously Overdone Wedding Cakes
If you're bored and want to go down a rabbit hole of pictures, go look up unique wedding cakes. There's apparently something for everyone out there. You can get a wedding cake with superheroes or one that looks like a cracked-open geode. There are personalized cakes for deer hunters and ones with tiny paw prints on them for the couple who wants to include their dog in their special day. There are naked cakes (which don’t make a lot of sense to me… the more sugary icing the better) and I even saw a Game of Thrones cake complete with dripping red icing. It's great to personalize your big day, but the Huffington Post reported in 2013 those unique bakery cakes can cost between $350 and $600 depending on where you're located.
While these cakes make for awesome pictures, are you really going to look at your wedding album one day and go straight for photos of your cake?
You know you’re not going to print an 8 x 10 to frame and put it on your coffee table. None of your guests are going to throw a fit if your cake looks like an actual cake. In fact, they might prefer it. A sheet cake is going to taste better anyway. Fondant is of the devil.
12 A Dress Budget You Could Pay For A Semester Of College With
The dress is the first thing most brides think of when they begin planning their wedding. They want to look like a princess in their gorgeous, white wedding dress. Most believe the idea of the bride wearing white comes from her purity on her wedding day, but really the tradition began in 1840 when Queen Victoria chose white for her wedding gown. At the time, brides usually just wore a nice dress they already owned. Queen Victoria's dress was a statement of wealth because there was no easy way to clean white clothing. If it was stained in any way it could not be restored to its former glory.
Now, wedding gowns work in almost the same way. According to Fashinista.com, the average cost a bride is willing to pay for her wear-once dress is $1,564. Kleinfield of TLC's Say Yes to the Dress has an average dress cost of $4,500. A short list of things you can spend that money on that have more than one day of usage: a semester of college classes, a really nice used car, a year’s worth of groceries for a family of four, thirty-four years of a Netflix, or one of those really nice mattresses that you can adjust. You’re going to have a husband after this day and snoring is a real problem.
11 The Rustic Wedding Theme
Rustic chic wedding themes have been very fashionable for nearly an entire decade now. They're charming, often cost-effective, and present a picturesque image of simplicity and love. Mason jars can be bought cheap or even saved up for free by using jars after they are emptied of salsa and pasta sauce and tying burlap ribbon onto them is something even the least crafty bride can do.
Barns turned into wedding venues has become a profitable new subset of the wedding industry.
Everyone wants to get married in a barn with a pretty chandelier, clean hardwood floors, and indoor plumbing.
As someone who is part of a ranching family, I can tell you for certain that barns typically have none of these things. Dairy barns have electricity, but that’s for milking machines. Brides usually don’t want those as a background for their photo booths.
Rustic weddings make a lot of sense if you grew up in a rural community or maybe you're from a family of ranchers. I think it’s charming when a bride who isn’t into high heels and pearls expresses who she is by wearing her favorite cowboy boots with her wedding dress. It is kind of confusing at times though when a couple who has never seen a farm animal in real life chooses to get married in a barn.
10 The Garter Toss
Has anyone ever actually sat down and thought about this one? Garter tosses have to be, by far, the creepiest wedding tradition in existence. In case you aren't aware, garters' original purpose was to hold up stockings, socks, or pantyhose. So garters are in essence a piece of underwear. The origins of the garter toss are enough to make one blush, so I'll not be getting into them here. Just know two things about the original form of this wedding tradition: 1) the dark ages were a really weird time and 2) even if a man crawls across the floor and uses his teeth to remove his new wife's garter from under her dress in full view of all children in attendance, it's still tame in comparison.
Today the garter toss is more like the male version of the bouquet toss, but we’ve already established that as a pretty weird thing to do in the first place. This is all to say that the garter toss is like throwing a pair of underwear into a crowd of unmarried men. Yikes. Think about that next time you see a guy throw a football with his bride's garter wrapped around it to his groomsmen and friend
9 Wedding Favors
Wedding favors are another one of those things as a culture we haven't taken a hard look at in a long time. Wedding favors started out as a trend in the aristocracy. Little trinket boxes full of sugar cubes were given out to thank guests for their attendance. Since sugar was an expensive commodity, this was an indicator of wealth and social status. When sugar became more readily available, the tradition switched to the more expensive choice of almonds. This entire gesture was built to show that these families had so much money they could simply hand it out in the form of expensive candy. Remember that next time someone tries to convince you the tradition of Jordan almonds is supposed to represent the bittersweetness of marriage.
Flash forward to the modern day, we are still giving out favors.
While it is a nice gesture, sugared almonds or small bags of candies have been abandoned in favor of doing something more unique. Happy couples around the world have given out everything from drink koozies to succulents to flip-flops. While this is sweet and creative after you've just fed and entertained your family and friends for the last several hours, do you really have to give them a gift too?
8 Huge Wedding Parties
Weddings are a happy day, and it's understandable that you would want to share that happiness with your loved ones, but you need to draw the line somewhere. Even if the bride was in a sorority and the groom was in a fraternity on a big college campus and they were both extremely popular, there’s not really a logical reason why one would want to have 10 bridesmaids and 10 groomsmen. I cannot think of ten people I like enough to have in my wedding party.
I simply cannot imagine the stress of trying to coordinate that many people in all the logistics of a wedding. How do you decide on a dress cut and color that is flattering on that many different bridesmaids? How do you manage that many people at dress or tux fittings? How do you coordinate that many schedules for showers and parties? Does the wedding rehearsal take hours? What about taking pictures? Does the wedding party ever actually make it to the reception? It all seems like a nightmare to me. Unless you are biologically or legally related to that many people, maybe you should reconsider having that many people as a part of your big day.
7 Wedding Hashtags
Wedding hashtags really are a good idea in theory. Hashtags are a handy way to find what you’re looking for on Instagram. Search up #doggos and you have thousands and thousands of cute dog pictures. Searching your hashtag and finding all the pictures your guests took seems so convenient. It seems like a no-brainer that you would want to have a wedding hashtag.
The problem is that out of the 200 people at your wedding, it's likely that maybe 10 of them are actually going to use it.
Furthermore, they're starting to get out of hand. Brides stress out about what their hashtag is going to be and then end up with something that sounded really good at the time, but leaves guests grimacing. I saw one the other day that used the groom’s last name and the phrase “down the aisle.” I’m not sure what they were going for with that, but it made it sound like it was going to be a really hot day and the wedding party was going to melt down the aisle.
Additionally, your photographer is going to hate you when he or she has to work around the 200 people trying to document the day on their smartphone cameras. Unless you want to see all of your guest's unique phone cases in your ceremony photos, ditch the hashtag and let the pros handle the pictures, please.
6 The Groomsmen's Dance
The groomsmen's dance, like many other wedding trends, started out as a unique and quirky way to add personality and flair to someone's specific wedding day. Maybe the original dancing groom and his bride met working on a musical and it made perfect sense for them. Maybe she was a choreographer and he was terrible at dancing, so it was a sweet surprise for him to take lessons and show off him taking an interest in something she loved. Maybe what sealed the deal for the bride to originally going on a date with the groom was his sweet dance moves. This is one of those things that someone saw, thought it was a great idea, and emulated at their wedding. This kept going until everyone thought it was something you had to do at a wedding. It reminds me of the way too elaborate choreographed first dances. Unless they are really, really, exceptionally good or really, really, exceptionally bad, I’m not going to be that interested.
This unique and fun idea is starting to feel less like a fun surprise and more like an expectation that Pinterest forced on us. Besides, if the bride says you have to do one, it’s not a surprise.
5 Cheesy Photo Booth Props
There are two difference incarnations of the photo booth. The first is the rented professional photo book that guests can put in a memory book for the night or take home as a fun souvenir. The second is the DIY version where the couple takes the time to make a special backdrop or frame to take pictures on their own camera phones. Either way, it is a fun thing for guests to do, especially if you’re taking pictures between the ceremony and reception and there’s a little bit of time you cannot be visiting with guests.
When you add silly props like fake mustaches and crazy glasses you end up with a lot of photos that look like the one above.
Not that silly photos are bad. It is a lot of fun to grab a feather boa and a top hat and take some silly pictures. The silly pictures make for funny, happy memories. The problem is that from this big, special event where everyone is dressed to the nines, these end up as the photographic evidence from the night for a lot of your guests. Ask yourself, is this how you want to remember your guests from your wedding? If not, skip the silly props at your photo booth
4 Overuse Of Flowers
Flowers are gorgeous and can add so much elegance to your wedding day, but we need to have a conversation about how many you're actually using. Flowers can easily be the biggest expense of your wedding day and can quickly blow your budget. The whole floral arrangements on every table thing seems a tad silly to me. While you can preserve a few flowers they’re never going to look as good as they do when they’re first delivered. You really can’t keep them after the wedding day and if it gets too hot, they're not going to look so good. Some brides choose to sell some of their decorations after their wedding to cut the costs of the big day, but with flowers, you don’t get to choose.
Ultimately, it’s your wedding day, so if you decide you need an entire wall of flowers, that’s your choice. Don’t let what you see on the internet and in bridal magazines dictate your decorations for you. Remember, your wedding day is a celebration of love with your friends and family. Choosing to decorate in less traditional ways and limiting what you spend on flowers or even using silk flowers that can be kept and reused are more than great alternatives. Nobody expects you to have flowers dripping from every surface like Kimye.
3 The Second Dress
Little girls dream of what their wedding dress is going to be like. It’s usually one of the first things that crosses a bride’s mind when she gets engaged. Most brides roll into the salon with the mom, bridesmaids, and mother in law to be and it is a big deal of excitement and celebration. We've already talked about how expensive the average wedding dress is. Once you go through all of that time, experience all of those emotions, and spend all that money, I do not understand why you would not want to wear that dress for as long as you possibly can. I feel like if I spent $4,500 on a dress then I would be wearing that thing to the ceremony, the reception, to breakfast the next morning, and choose it as the outfit I travel on when we go on our honeymoon.
The most common thing heard when ladies try to rationalize the second dress is that they can’t dance in the first one.
If you try on a dress and all you can think is, "I can't dance in this dress," then maybe it's not the one. Look for that one dress that makes you feel like a princess and is comfortable enough to get down in.
2 Engagement Photos
With all the pictures you're going to take on your actual wedding day when you're dressed to the nines with perfect hair and makeup, it doesn't make any sense whatsoever to pay a photographer to take another set of photos on just an ordinary day. Don't you have enough to do while you plan your wedding? You have to pick a date, choose a venue, have a small meltdown when you realize that all wedding venues are really that expensive, handle catering, order a cake, figure out what bridesmaids dresses are going to be complained about the least, and probably a bunch of other things that you can’t remember right now because you were not appropriately prepared by princess movies for how stressful it actually is to have that fairytale wedding. Worrying about the weather, the outfit, and the extra price of getting another set of photos taken might just be the thing that tips you over the edge and makes you decide to elope instead.
Sure you might want to post a cute picture on social media to let everyone know you're engaged, but engagement photos don't happen until weeks later, and in the age of smartphones and photo editing apps, you can probably take a few great shots on your own that look just as good.
1 Save The Dates
In the age of social media, save the dates don't make a whole lot of sense. You can email, text, Instagram, tweet, private message, or even set up a facebook event page to let loved ones know when your upcoming nuptials will be. Before you even say that that’s too much work, ask yourself, is it really more work than picking out a “unique” save the date, ordering them, addressing however many envelopes, and then mailing them out? Don’t forget stamps. And personalized return address labels. And your envelopes have to be cute too. There’s a lot of expectations that wedding magazines and Pinterest puts on us.
There are even wedding planning sites that let you set up a page where friends and family can see when and where your wedding will be along with links to your registry and a countdown to the day. How cute and put together would that look? Send out a “Save the date!” text message and include your unique website link and you look like the expert wedding planner.
Save a few trees and skip traditional save the dates.
For those elderly relatives that don’t use computers, you can just call them and tell them when the wedding is going to be.
References: theknot.com, a styleofliving.com, contemporaryweddingsmagazine.com, embellishedweddings.com, weddingwire.com, bridebox.com, Insideweddings.com, etsy.com, thebakingrounds.com, huffingtonpost.com, cosmopolitan.com, fashinista.com, somethingborrowedpdx.com, diys.com weddingsinclude.com, usaweekly.com, jerseycentralphotobooth.com, marthastewartweddings.com, everafterguide.com, and weddingforward.com.