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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: 6 Wedding Traditions to Follow or Forgo

[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Elora Murray, Salt Lake/Park City Bride & Groom magazine intern]

Every wedding is different, but something every couple will discuss during the planning process is which wedding traditions, if any, they will include in their nuptials. To shove or not to shove cake in your sweetie’s face? To toss or not to toss the bridal bouquet? Which traditions should you follow and which should you forgo?

We asked recent local brides and Park City wedding planner Melissa Hagen of Soiree Productions for their take on six popular wedding traditions–follow them or forgo them? Read on to find out their thoughts!

Tradition 1: Decorating the Getaway Car

Planner says: “This is a tradition that I feel is truly dependent on the situation and the execution. The goal should always be to add to the experience (and the pictures!) in a positive way. My favorite example of this tradition done well is the gorgeous classic car driving away with a strand of flowers and a small sign that says ‘Just Married.’ If it’s done well, this tradition can be sweet and fun.” —Melissa Hagen, Soiree Productions

Brides say: “This was one thing we did NOT want to have happen, which is why we rented a limo. As fun as the tradition can be, we knew it would be a hassle to clean our car after it had sat while we were on our honeymoon and didn’t want to leave it for our family to deal with.” —Karly and James Barker, married September 2010

“I loved our decorated getaway car because it was tasteful and hilarious. We got lots of honks and I loved seeing the words ‘Just Married’ on my car! Classic!” –Kristin and Joseph Farrell, married September 2011

“Decorating cars is a fun tradition but NOT when it’s nasty or crude. I hate when people write inappropriate things on the getaway car. Who wants that trashiness on their wedding day? Not us!” —Sara Jayne and Tyler Baldwin, married August 2009

Consensus: Follow this tradition but keep decorations tasteful, romantic, and thoughtful.

Tradition 2: Something Old, Borrowed, New, and Blue

Planner says: “Sentimental throwbacks like this tradition are great! This is a simple and understated way for brides to get creative and include extra tidbits of fun in their wedding day.”

Brides say: “Best tradition ever. Every bride needs to do this! Half the fun is just finding unique old/new/borrowed/blue things.” —Britt and Bobby Shane, married August 2011

I followed this tradition and I absolutely loved it. It added something special to the day.” –Rosanna and Doug Hicken, married August 2009

Consensus: Follow this tradition. It’s romantic to include something old or borrowed from a relative or previous bride, and having something new is always fun!

Tradition 3: Shoving Cake in The Face

Planner says: “Sometimes it is suitable to shove the cake in the face, but it is far and few between. No one really wants messy cake on their wedding-day best. I think it is always better to keep this moment special.”

Brides say: “Yes! I’d love my hubby to mess up my meticulously-done hair and makeup on our wedding day! Needless to say, I shoved, husband fed.” —Corinne and Jake Davis, married April 2010

“This tradition needs to go. Whoever thought of messing up a bride’s perfectly put together face, hair, and dress was definitely not a bride. Feeding each other cake is a cute tradition–leave the face-shoving to food fights.” —Kristen and Joseph Farrell, married September 2011

“HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE. I told my husband I would murder him if he did this to me. And my mom told him the same thing. It’s soooo tacky and disrespectful, and no one thinks it’s funny. Stay away from the cake-in-the-face-smashing.” —Rosanna and Doug Hicken, married August 2009

Consensus: Forgo this tradition. Your wedding is a day full of romance and love–does shoving that expensive pastry in your spouse’s face reflect that? Not so much. Save the food fight for another time.

Tradition 4: The Bouquet Toss

Planner says: “The bouquet toss touches all the single ladies in attendance with wedding romance.”

Brides say: “My darling little niece caught the bouquet that I tossed and her face lit up. I would do it again just because it made her feel so special!” —Kristen and Joseph Farrell, married September 2011

“You have to do it! The best part of my wedding video is when I threw the bouquet and one of my bridesmaids got so excited to catch it, she trampled it! Luckily, I had a back-up!” —Rosanna and Doug Hicken, married August 2009

Consensus: Follow this tradition. Throwing the bouquet is a fun tradition and, who knows, it just may lead to a wedding for the lucky catcher in the near future.

Tradition 5: The Father-Daughter Dance

Planner says: “This can often be one of the most heart-warming moments. I love that everyone pauses for the bride to publicly share a special moment and a song in recognition of one of the most important men in her life.”

Brides say: “It was perhaps the most special part of my day.” —Karly and James Barker, married September 2010

“My father-daughter dance was so incredibly special. I would never have taken away this moment for my dad or I. You can tell how much this moment meant to me in my wedding video because my face gets super blotchy from crying.” —Rosanna and Doug Hicken, married August 2009

“I’ll never forget dancing with my dad on my wedding night. As we danced, I felt so much love and appreciation for the way he helped raise me. It was one of my favorite parts of the evening.” —Kristin and Joseph Farrell, married September 2011

“Dancing with my dad was one of my favorite parts about my wedding. I love my dad so much, and sharing a dance with him was great!” —Sara Jayne and Tyler Baldwin, married August 2009

Consensus: Follow this tradition. It’s a sweet moment that says, “You’re not the only man in my life anymore, but I still love you!”

Tradition 6: Keeping the Dress a Secret Before The Big Day

Planner says: “I adore this tradition. There is something so special about making the groom wait to see his bride in her dress until she walks down the aisle. If you’re worried about having enough time to get great group photos or attend your own cocktail hour after the ceremony (a time when most photographers steal the couple away for photos), creating a ‘first sight’ moment between the bride and groom earlier in the day can be the perfect solution–the groom is still surprised, but there is time for photos early on. I think this tradition is a keeper, but it’s definitely OK to mix it up a little.”

Brides say: “The whole ‘groomals’ concept where the groom sees his bride in her dress before the actual wedding day for pictures is lame! I think that ruins such a magical part of the wedding day and I’m sad to see so many people throwing out this tradition!” —Sara Jayne and Tyler Baldwin, married August 2009

“I scheduled photo shoots before the wedding, so my husband saw my dress before we were married. It would have been special for him to see me in my dress on the wedding day for the first time, but I enjoyed being able to relax on the big day and not have to worry about capturing hundreds of photos in my dress when I was already anxious.” —Jessica and Aaron Smith, married September 2011

Consensus: Follow or forgo this tradition–the choice is yours. If you like the excitement of keeping the dress a secret, then don’t reveal your gown too soon. But ‘groomal’ photo shoots before the wedding are popular today and have their benefits.


SO, dear readers, how do you feel about these six wedding traditions? Would you follow or forgo them? Share your opinion below!

{Images via Style Me Pretty}