Recently I shot a Hispanic/Caucausin wedding, and the thing that really stuck out to me was how different some of the traditions were. Some of them I had seen before at another wedding, but some of them were completely new to me. These traditions were some of the most entertaining parts of the night and some of the best photos. This isn’t always the case. Some times the traditional events are great and other times it’s kind of awkward and doesn’t go that well. I can think of a few times where the garter toss was only two people and both were forced into being out there. Not much fun there. I’ve seen several weddings lately that moved away from all the traditions. It’s left many people wondering, “Should I do all the wedding traditions?”
Should I Do All the Wedding Traditions?
I know there are tons of different wedding traditions, all depending on your culture or even where you live. Unfortunately I don’t know all of them nor would I have the time and space to write about all of them anyway. With that said, I’m mainly going to focus on the traditions I’m use to seeing and that I think are the most common.
Reasons to do the Wedding Traditions
There are plenty of reasons to do all the traditional events. The first and most obvious one is that they are a tradition. That means they are part of the culture and they are something most people expect. I don’t think anyone is going to get mad at you for not following the traditions, but I think some people might disappointed. We didn’t have dancing at my wedding, and looking back, I wish I had asked my mother first before making that decision. Maybe she really wanted to do the mother/son dance.
Second, these events give people something to do. Weddings are supposed to be fun, and people can sit around and talk only so long. They need something to watch or be involved in. The traditions are a great way to do this. The highlight of the night for some girls might be the battle over the bouquet.
I also think it’s a great way to connect with other weddings. When people attend a wedding, they remember things from their own wedding or other weddings they’ve attended. When you have things like speeches or dances, people can watch it and then be reminded of their own experiences.
Reasons to Not do the Wedding Traditions
I just had a conversation with a bride that didn’t want to do any of the traditional events, and it was interesting to hear her side of all of it. I think things will depend a lot on the personalities of the couple and the feel of the wedding. Some couple are very lively and like being the center of attention. Others are more laid back and just want to relax. All of these events put the couple out in front of everyone. Some of the events are also a little embarrassing and awkward. I could see why certain people would want to avoid them. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes the events just don’t fit with the feel of the wedding. If you don’t have a bunch of single people, there’s really no point in doing the bouquet and garter toss.
Another thought is that these events can cost you more money. If you’re doing dances and a bunch of events, you’re going to need a DJ to play music and make announcements. For some, that extra cost might be a reason to skip all the traditional events.
What Traditions do I like?
I like having things to do throughout the night, but there are some wedding traditions I think are more important. The most important to me is the dances (first dance, mother/son, father/daughter). These are special moments and usually where a lot of the emotion happens. I know I’ve gotten some great photos of the father crying. There’s just something really special about the father dancing with his daughter on the day that she is leaving him. I know personally when I think about that moment it makes me a little emotional. Besides that, I can live without the other ones. I mean, I like them, but if I had to pick something to keep it would be the dances.
In the end, I think the biggest argument is that it’s your wedding, and you should be able to do what you want. If you don’t want to do something, then don’t. If you do, then go for it. I will say that probably should consult with all the important people (fiance, parents, siblings, best friends) before totally removing everything, but in the end, it’s your decision. When people ask me, “Should I do all the wedding traditions?” I tend to lean toward yes, mainly because I like having things to photograph. Still, it’s their decision. Hopefully this has at least given you something to think about before making the big decision.