4 wedding traditions we still love… and 9 we hate!

Published by Claire Gould on

Etiquette is a word which turns me cold. It just implies a ton of rules and regulations, and the risk of doing things ‘wrong’ – and planning a wedding is hard enough without having to worry about wordings and receiving lines and whose name goes first, right? Etiquette and traditions go pretty much hand in hand, and I’m all for burning the rule book and doing things your own way – who’s with me?

Image by Jenny Heyworth for Aspire on the English Wedding Blog (28)

So I had a little chat with a few friends on our Facebook page the other day. Here’s a list of 4 brilliant wedding traditions we love… and 9 we really do seem to hate!

Traditions we still love…

1. Confetti. Paper and petals, laughter and celebration!

“My favourite wedding tradition is confetti. From both a bride and a videographer point of view it always makes for a wonderful photo/video moment. Everyone’s so happy and excited, it’s a proper ‘yey we are married’ moment for me!” Charlene, Love Gets Sweeter

2. Speeches

Don’t turn to Google for inspiration for the speeches! Speak from the heart and tell real stories. That’s what makes a great speech on a wedding day. Googling for laughs will never work: but a personal story told with love and affection will have all the guests giggling happily!

Image by Jenny Heyworth for Aspire on the English Wedding Blog (16)

3. Wedding rings – sort of!

I love jewellery – buy me something handcrafted and beautiful anytime, and I’ll love you forever! Exchanging rings is such a lovely thing to do… but – if I’m honest, I’m only half behind this tradition. For ring-wearing men, it’s great. For those guys who aren’t keen on jewellery (mine!) I think it’s perfectly fine not to wear a wedding ring. So is it worth buying one? I’m not sure it is!

4. The honeymoon!

Because boy, do you need a holiday after all that wedding planning! I’m a huge fan of the mini-moon or a honeymoon at home though – I love the romance of escaping to a remote little spot in the countryside where it really is just the two of you!

Image by Jenny Heyworth for Aspire on the English Wedding Blog (17)

We’re bored of… (dare I say hate?)

1. Staying apart before the ceremony

I hate the faff and fuss that surrounds the tradition of a couple not seeing each other before the wedding. I completely understand the idea of a big reveal and that first moment being special, but it can be so over the top sometimes and cause so much unnecessary stress and panic. Flapping, panicking bridesmaids and screaming mothers if a groom comes within 100m of where the bride happens to be getting ready – Sam & Louise

… vs the new ‘first look’ tradition which we LOVE!

I got married last year and we did an untraditional first look. It was the highlight of my day. Seeing my husband to be in beautiful woodland and him seeing me in my dress and being able to express our emotions and exchange gifts, way better than walking down the aisle and trying not to cry in front of 100 people!! We are wedding photographers and we wish everyone would do first looks!!! Eleanor, Caitlin + Jones

Image by Jenny Heyworth for Aspire on the English Wedding Blog (34)

2. Lucky horseshoes

I’m not keen on guests handing the bride a lucky horseshoe to carry. It may be for luck, or even a potent fertility charm, but having to carry a bit of hallmark plastic next to your bouquet in all the wedding photos, is neither lucky or going to do much for your performance in the bedroom! Juliet McKee Photography

Do you have something to do with horses? Live on a farm? A real horse shoe might be a nice keep sake if there’s a story behind it, but a cheap one from the card shop? Bit pointless. Like with most traditions, if there’s a story behind it and a reason for following it, it really works. But otherwise it can look a bit weird. Ian Wallace Photography

3. Signing the register – or faking it!

I must admit I don’t get the whole posing with a pretend register and having a photo of it, thing… I always try and photograph the real signing. Guests can so I don’t see why it’s any different! I don’t get close enough to see any of the actual register! Rosie, Ragdoll Photography

4. The bridal march – yawn!

“The traditional bridal march feels tired; everyone’s seen it and heard it a thousand times on TV and in movies, to the point that it could be considered a cliché. Walking down the aisle (or watching your bride approach) should be a singular moment, a moment that stands out above all others, rather than blurring into one with soap weddings of the past. The song you choose for the big moment should be one that resonates with you, a song that makes you feel something. A romantic modern tune performed by an acoustic guitarist makes for a subtle and personal accompaniment to your walk down the aisle. You could even blend the modern with the traditional and have a string quartet perform a classical interpretation of your favourite rock ballad.” Entertainment Nation

5. A receiving line!

Fortunately we don’t get many of these nowadays. It just takes such a long time, the bride and groom have likely already spoken to everybody during the drinks reception, and so it can be a real waste of time! Plus they’re often in cramped corridors or room entrances so they’re not ideal to photograph! – Alison, Simon Hudspeth Photography

I definitely think people should do the bits they want, without feeling pressured to include things that they’ll find tough. Welcome lines can be damn odd and just take from time where you could actually go around guests and have real conversations – they’re only useful if you don’t want to circulate but still want to say hello to everyone! Nathan, Artemis Stationery

Image by Jenny Heyworth for Aspire on the English Wedding Blog (8)

6. The sit down meal… when you can have relaxed dining instead!

I got married last year and we didn’t have a sit down meal. We had mini fish n chips, burgers, hot dogs and lamb kebabs with rum punch being handed round all afternoon.
The thought of wasting 2 hours of our day being stuck on a single table left me cold, especially with family having travelled from Australia, Japan, Belgium, Holland and even Yorkshire to be with us in sunny Cambs! Plus it avoided the whole table plan issue! Heather Jackson Photography

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7. Being ‘given away’

I’m a Wedding Photographer and planning my own wedding at the moment. I actually feel really uncomfortable about the whole ‘giving away’ part being a bit of a feminist so we’re considering actually having a first look and walking down the aisle together… I want our own wedding to feel like ‘ours’ so we’re avoiding a lot of traditions – Kathryn, Delicious Photography

8. Cutting the cake

As a photographer the cake cutting can be super dull as the cake gets a bad time slot, bad lighting and everyone has a phone camera out – also the tradition behind it is a wee bit pants! – Laura Martha

Image by Jenny Heyworth for Aspire on the English Wedding Blog (18)

Image credits:
Photography – Jenny Heyworth Photography for Aspire Photography Training
Dress Designer – Charlie Brear
Dress Boutique – The White Closet
Hair and Makeup – Lucy Pearson
Calligraphy –  By Moon & Tide
Florist – Katie from Made In Flowers
Venue – Graythwaite Estate
Styling – Catherine Connor from White Feather & Co.

Image by Jenny Heyworth for Aspire on the English Wedding Blog (10)

9. Tossing the bouquet

We get the “sick to the pit of the stomach” feeling when we see that the bride threw the bouquet. Two reasons- 1. They spend a lot of money on a “masterpiece” from us which takes a lot of time, love and skill to create and quite often want to have preserved. 2. I would fear for someone’s life if said bouquet got thrown a little too vigorously – I wouldn’t want some of the sizes we create heading straight for the back of anyone’s head that’s for sure! These days it is more common to either not do it, or throw a bridesmaid’s bouquet instead. Hollyhocks Florist


So there you go! Are you with us on ditching traditions for a happier, more sensible wedding? Or do you quietly love the old traditions – I’d love to know which you’re keeping, so join the chat on our Facebook page! See you over there 🙂

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

1 Comment

Louise · October 15, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Brilliant! Really enjoyed reading other people’s suggestions too. Agree with most of them completely. Thank you for including us <3

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