As wonderful and enjoyable as weddings are, there are a number of wedding customs that are regarded with dread, or at best, ridicule. To avoid making your own guests cringe (or take an extended bathroom break to avoid participation), consider excluding or revising some of the following wedding traditions.
1. Inappropriate wedding music choices. Wedaholic remembers cringing as a band played Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” A lovely song but, after all, this Oscar-winning Titanic theme tune is about a couple separated by death. I recall sitting next to the Rabbi’s decorous wife when the band broke out with “It’s getting hot it here, so take off all your clothes…”
2. Long-winded wedding speeches: You just can’t hold any one’s attention for more than five minutes. Don’t make the guests suffer any longer, no matter how wise or witty your speech may be. The shorter, the better!
3. Sand Ceremony: In this superfluous wedding custom, the bride and groom each have a container of sand that they pour into an empty vase. It’s an alternative to the candle-lighting ceremony, both of which are meant to symbolize unity. As if the guests have forgotten what exactly marriage is all about anyway.
4. The chicken dance: “I hate that dorky Chicken Dance. It’s not a nice thing to put your guests through. I have never heard someone say that they … missed doing the Chicken Dance; but I have heard people speak with dread about the impending possibility of being subjected to this ‘tradition’…” (Laura, theKnot) The same goes for other such “interactive songs” like the Macarena and the Electric Slide. If you must include them, save them for after Grandma and Grandpa go home.
5. Receiving line: The line generally consists of every member of the wedding party (bride, groom, parents, grandparents, bridesmaids), and each guest is required to greet and congratulate each and every one of them. AskMen notes, “It goes without saying that this is an incredible waste of time for everyone involved; an informal approach and the directions to the bar would certainly suffice.”
6. Rumbling tummies: Large time gaps in between the ceremony and the food are bound to make your guests grumpy. Always provide drinks, snacks and even consider entertainment, if there is going to be a long wait before the meal commences. Alternately, transportation should be provided by the bride and groom if the venues for the ceremony and reception are located far apart.
7. Baby ring bearers and flower girls: How many weddings have been held up by small children kicking and screaming and having to be whisked off out of hearing range? We love ’em, but kids are unpredictable, and even the most attention-loving child is apt to come down with performance anxiety. My own flower girl had to be carried down the isle by her daddy, who was gracious enough to strew the rose petals as well.
8. Throwing stuff: Rice and confetti are two of the most popular materials that are flung around with reckless abandon at weddings,” AskMen observes. “Is this really a good idea? Do the newlyweds really need to be pelted with food and covered with silly string for the rest of the evening?”
9. More throwing- Garter and bouquet toss: What could possibly be more humiliating than being forced out to the center of a parquet dance floor and being expected to demonstrate your desperation by diving for flying flowers?” queries MentalFloss. “How about grasping in the air for a lacy piece of undergarment that until moments ago resided uncomfortably close to the crotch of your buddy’s wife?” These traditions are seriously out-dated (read about their shocking origin here!) and don’t add much to the celebration.
10. Cake smashing: I don’t think anyone really enjoys this gaffe. Perhaps it was funny the first time a bride and groom smeared each other in icing, but as a “tradition” it leaves guests feeling uncomfortable. “The whole cake-smashing-in-the-face event makes me wonder if the couple is just getting out their aggressions from all those pre-wedding quarrels.” (David, theKnot) And most newlyweds would rather keep their faces clean anyway.