I've been a bridesmaid over 125 times. Here are the wedding traditions couples should stop doing in 2023.

Two women dressed in white and getting married with male officiant.
Two women dressed in white and getting married with male officiant.

Some wedding traditions may feel outdated for - Yuri A / Shutterstock

  • I've worked as a professional bridesmaid at over 125 weddings in the past nine years.

  • Couples shouldn't have to say their vows at the wedding, especially if it feels uncomfortable.

  • Party favors are usually forgotten by guests at the end of the night, making them a waste of money.

For the past nine years, I've worked over 125 weddings for strangers as their hired bridesmaid.

Although everyone hopes a wedding will be filled with exciting moments, the celebration can feel dull and unoriginal if the couple follows too many traditions that don't seem right for them or their guests.

After working at many weddings, here are the traditions I think should be left behind before the 2023 wedding season.

Tossing the bouquet 

Bride holds autumn bouquet with orange and red flowers and berries.
Bride holds autumn bouquet with orange and red flowers and berries.

Replace the bouquet toss with a kind toast to loved ones.aprilante / Shutterstock

For most of my 20s, I found myself on the dance floor waiting to catch some flowers. It was embarrassing to fight over the bouquet with a crowd of other single women, and it also brought so much unnecessary attention to my relationship status.

Instead of making your unmarried friends parade around the dance floor, create your own tradition that celebrates all of your friends.

You could have the DJ play a fun song you all love to dance to or do a Champagne toast thanking loved ones for celebrating your day with you.

Giving out party favors

Couples generally want their guests to have a good time and feel appreciated at their celebration. This sometimes involves handing out favors at the end of the wedding.

But at most of the weddings I've been to, they get left behind, making them a giant waste of money. I'm usually the one stuffing candles, bottle openers, and mini succulents into my purse because nobody else wants them.

Instead, consider spending the money on an extra dessert or a late-night snack.

Making cocktail hour longer than an hour 

sign with arrows pointing to wedding, cocktail hour, ceremony, and photo zone outside a wedding venue
sign with arrows pointing to wedding, cocktail hour, ceremony, and photo zone outside a wedding venue

Cocktail hours can bring down the vibes of a wedding.MAKSYM CHUB/Shutterstock

When I planned my own wedding, one of the things I was most adamant about skipping was a cocktail hour. If you spend too much time giving your guests a break between the ceremony and the reception, they become bored, even if you're serving them food and drinks.

If you're not using the cocktail hour to take photos or to have a short break with the person you just married, have guests head right to the reception to get the party started.

It helps keep the energy and excitement up without any awkward lulls.

Having a formal rehearsal 

The night before the wedding is the perfect time to gather some of your close friends and loved ones for a short and sweet celebration. But try skipping the formal rehearsal.

Walking down the aisle and knowing where to stand up at the altar can be a bit tricky, but that's information you or your wedding planner can cover 20 minutes before the ceremony starts.

Making your wedding party head to the venue just to practice the night before can feel like a waste of time.

Forcing yourself to share vows during the ceremony

My favorite part of the celebration is the ceremony. I love watching the couple come together and formally get married.

But some couples find it uncomfortable to read their vows. It can feel super personal and a bit awkward to do in front of everyone.

If it doesn't feel right to air your deepest feelings during the ceremony, you can always write your vows inside a card to exchange before or after the wedding.

Making a big deal about the first dance

Two men in suits slow-dancing at wedding.
Two men in suits slow-dancing at wedding.

Skip the first dance and go straight into inviting everyone to the dance / Shutterstock

At many weddings, the reception is formally kicked off when the couple does their first dance. Some couples really lean into this tradition by taking dance lessons and practicing, but others completely dread the fanfare.

If you and your partner don't want to do a first dance, don't do it. Most of the time, guests are in awe for the first 20 seconds and then get distracted by the open bar, people at their table, or their phones.

Instead, tell your DJ or band to get the party started by inviting all the guests to the dance floor to kick off the reception.

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