Old-Fashioned Wedding Traditions

Everything Old is New Again. In today’s weddings, there has been a tremendous shift towards the traditional, bringing back the rituals and choices that up until now were considered ‘out of style.’

Old-Fashioned Wedding Traditions

“Brides and grooms love the symbolism of these old-world traditions, which got lost in the past five years in favor of personalizing receptions and make them ‘a show,” says Sharon Naylor, author of 1000 Best Secrets For Your Perfect Wedding and a resident wedding expert at www.PashWeddings.com. “Now, they’re back, as a matter of personal choice made by the bride and groom who are determined to build their weddings not by what’s ‘in,’ but by what says ‘our wedding.’ And for so many, it’s the same traditions their parents had at their weddings.”

Here, we’ve collected the top ten old-fashioned traditions that have made a comeback, ones that brides and grooms love to experience and that guests love to see as a touching reminder of their own weddings:

Old-Fashioned Wedding Traditions

  1. There is a return to the big, formal wedding with over 150 guests. According to The Wedding Report, a national survey of the wedding industry, 57% of weddings are traditional, while only 19% are casual now. And the average number of wedding guests is 167.
  2. Brides and grooms are choosing the traditional, formal invitation of black print on simpler white or ecru card stock. While there is still plenty of color and design options out there, wedding couples say they love the look of the classic bridal invitation. They may add an ornate monogram as a modern touch, but the invitation itself is an homage to the traditional wedding etiquette of invitations.
  3. Wedding couples are choosing to have a receiving line after the ceremony. For the past few years, the bride and groom have opted to skip the receiving line and rush to get their photos taken before they miss too much of the cocktail hour. Now, they’re scheduling in a delay to the start of the cocktail party to allow them the time for a traditional receiving line where they greet their guests properly, introduce their new spouse or their parents to their guests, and accept congratulations right in the freshest moment.
  4. The father-daughter dance is back, as well as the mother-son dance. For a short period of time, brides and grooms chose to skip this spotlight dance, but it’s back now. The songs are custom-selected to reflect a special time in the family, not just a sentimental song. For instance, at a recent wedding, the groom and his mother chose to dance to Johnny Mathis’s version of “On Broadway,” since they cherished the long-ago memories of the groom playing the drums in the high school marching band, and that was the ‘big’ song during his performing days. They danced to half of the song, and then they invited all of the groom’s marching band friends (including his sisters who were on the flag squad during those high school years) to join them on the dance floor.
  5. The bouquet toss is back. Brides have decided that they still want to throw their bouquet to their single friends, and if they’re short on single friends – which was part of the reason for this rituals decline in past years – they invite all of the female guests onto the dance floor to catch the bouquet for luck, not a ‘next to marry.’
  6. The garter toss is back as well, with the bride positioning the garter just below the knee level for a classier retrieval. We no longer have that ‘disappearing under the skirt’ gimmick.
  7. Guests are given the chance to dance with the bride and groom during a song or two, but there is no ‘dollar dance‘ as in decades past where each guest had to give the bride a dollar bill to earn a dance. Today’s couples want the chance to dance, even briefly, with as many guests as possible, but they don’t want the dollar bills stuffed into their outfits.
  8. Even with photojournalistic styles, where the photographer captures the events of the day, brides and grooms are skipping the ‘no posed photos’ decision and going back to the practice of getting a great range of bridal portraits. They’re asking for posed shots of themselves, with their parents and families, with their bridal parties, individual shots of their bridal parties, and shots of them with all of their wedding guests. The return to old-fashioned tradition shows a wish to capture these relationship shots over action shots during the reception.
  9. Brides and grooms have returned to not seeing each other before the ceremony. In the past few years, couples skipped this superstition to ‘get things done’ for the wedding. Now, they assign their families or wedding coordinator the tasks, and they steer clear of one another until that big moment at the start of the ceremony.
  10. Brides are asking their fathers to walk them down the aisle, and they give the honor of lighting the unity candle to the mothers. While the equality trend has many brides opting to have both parents walk them down the aisle as well, we’re seeing fewer brides walking down the aisle on their own. If they don’t have parents at the wedding, they will ask an uncle, or their own children, to escort them down the aisle. It’s not a belief of being ‘given away,’ as was the old-fashioned definition of this tradition, but rather a symbolic transition from her family of origin to this new family she’s about to create.

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