5 Wedding Traditions to Skip

I can’t count how many weddings I’ve been to. More than 20. More than 50 even. Almost close to 100. This includes personal family/friends nuptials as well as photographing. I started second shooting weddings at 17.

That’s at least 10 years of attendance. Even though I’m still young (and not yet married), I’m pretty sure I’ve got the wedding trends down. Things vary from year to year but overall, the basic structure of a wedding is the same. However, I never get tired of shooting weddings. For me it’s more about the people and the emotions. Cute details are just an added plus!

Not to toot my own horn, but these things I’ve seen at far too many weddings and they need to go!

1. Not seeing your bride/groom before the ceremony. Ok, come on… it’s really not bad luck. That is a superstition. A First Look is the most romantic, emotional thing you will do at your wedding. I promise. I seem them all the time, and I still tear up.

First look grand rapids weddings

My 2010 bride, Erica was kind enough to write about her First Look.

It was nice to meet privately with Paul before the wedding. Seeing him did a lot to calm my nerves. It was also still a surprise when we actually did see each other. It gave us the convenience of taking all our couple and bridal party pictures beforehand. Now looking back on it I am even happier – I don’t even remember walking down the aisle I was so nervous, but I do remember seeing Paul – and the pictures turned out amazing!”

2. Receiving Lines. Just say NO! I should probably clarify that I really don’t mind receiving lines with smaller families. It’s nice to be able to see everyone that you invited (and paid for) at your wedding. I get that. But, we all have that one aunt, uncle, cousin, grandma, etc.. that will hold up the line and make everyone else wait. You know who else is waiting? The rest of your guests! Not to mention your bridal party, (who we all know really just wants to get to the bar). I would suggest going around to all the tables after dinner and chatting with your guests then. This way, you don’t hold up your day and you can better connect with your guests over a cocktail or two.

3. The Dollar Dance. I completely understand how expensive weddings are. Why not try to make back your investment, right? Wrong. First off, they always last too long. You always end up dancing with that “funny uncle” who just wants to grab your butt and you really don’t make that much money to have it be worthwhile.  It’s also the time that most people go to the bar. There goes your tab! Instead, have your photographer set up a photo booth backdrop and charge $1 per picture. People love to have their pictures taken at weddings, especially if they get props. Trust me, I know from experience.

4. Themed Dancing. Please do not make me photograph another Chicken Dance, Cha Cha Slide, or Hustle. This might just be a personal pet peeve of mine, because I’ve seen it so many times. However, I’m still including it in this list because it’s just plain tacky!

5. White Wedding Shoes. Who says wedding shoes have to be white? Or uncomfortable for that matter? You love red? Rock red wedding shoes. Your photographer will love you for it too. Wear a cute pair of ballet flats. If you’re worried about being taller than your groom, try a kitten heel, or fun flip flops. Be different. Don’t feel like you have to be in painful heels all night just to look good.


What trends did you skip?



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  • Meghan

    We skipped the big post-ceremony entrance (including the cheesey music!) and enjoyed the cocktail hour with our guests.

    We also decided to cut the cake and have our first dance AFTER dinner – why on earth would you cut your dessert before you’ve even had salad?

    And the big one – there was absolutely no public fondling (aka removal of the garter) at our wedding. Why do I want my grandma to see my new husband put his hand (or god forbid – his head!) up my dress? Save it for the honeymoon, folks!

    I sometimes feel like couples spend SO much time trying to fulfill every cheesey “tradition” that they miss out on some of the enjoyment. These are just my opinions, but everyone should do what they want. IT’S YOUR DAY!ReplyCancel

    • So true Meghan! Thanks for the comment. I’m glad people are actually reading. I get really tired of the bouquet and garter myself.ReplyCancel

  • Leslie

    Same here Meghan! I want nothing to do with a garter toss, bouquet toss, no cheesy dances, I HATE the “big” entrance thing, no receiving line, no dollar dance (I grew up accustomed to it in the Midwest but in the D.C. area people think it’s tacky—besides, my wedding will be small). What will be welcome at my wedding? Spookiness and costumes (getting married close to Halloween, thought we’d throw a costume ball type event). Hula hoops and hoopdancing. Some good wine. And lots of twinkle lights.ReplyCancel

  • I couldn’t agree more with these 5 things and the things suggested in the comments. I wish more couples would let go of the idea that they cannot see each other before the wedding. It’s just plain silly. When we’re rushed for photos after the ceremony, I always want to yell “If you’d simply have done a first look beforehand this wouldn’t be an issue”. I love reading from the bride in your post that she didn’t remember walking down the aisle, but did remember seeing her groom beforehand.

    Oh, and I’m not a fan of the dreaded dollar dance and yet find myself photographing one at nearly every wedding. *sigh*ReplyCancel

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