Your wedding day is a celebration of the rite of passage of marriage that you and your partner have embarked upon. All of the elements of the day - including the food, the decor, and the entertainment - should be suitable for a wedding (after all, this event isn’t like any other, right?) AND it should be representative of you and your new spouse (it’s not just A wedding, but YOUR wedding).
The wedding you are planning should be a balance between the traditions customary to the day which hold meaning to you and your partner, and details that show you and your partner’s personalities, and not just be a bunch of cliché wedding trends thrown together.
[I know I’m using the word “should” a lot here, and believe me, it’s not one of my favorite words to use with weddings. Honestly, what “should” you do on your wedding? Have someone who can legally perform your wedding ceremony, of course. But other than that, most everything else is what you and your partner want. So https://www.amazon.com/stores/Jean-Neuhart/author/B08W3Q6JBX let’s get back to common cliché wedding trends and how to avoid them].
What constitutes a “wedding cliché”? Well, since the very definition of cliché is something “that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought,” a wedding cliché is a practice that is: done for the sake of doing it, is overused, is unoriginal, and often is generic.
Hmmm, doesn’t that encompass most, if not all, of the wedding traditions out there? Well, yes and no. Technically, yes because so many traditions are seen at most weddings. But also no, because it’s not so much what is done, but why you chose to do it.
If you’ve chosen something because you love the meaning behind it, fits in with your wedding vision, and will enhance the look and vibe of your wedding day, then no, it’s not a cliché wedding trend. On the flip side, if you chosen it because the checklist has a bouquet toss, and a unity candle, and bridesmaids in similar dresses, and a bouquet, and so on, and you’re doing it just to check it off the list, then you’re stepping into cliché territory.
6 Cliché Wedding Trends To Avoid
or at least give some serious thought to why you are considering doing it
1. Trying to get colors to “match”
Picking table linens that match your bridesmaids’ dresses, and their shoes, and your flowers, and your lipstick, and . . ., well, you get the idea. After all, you want things to look good together, right? Of course you do, but getting everything in the exact same color is not the way to do it.
First of all, you are going to drive yourself and your partner crazy trying to find exact matches, (and no one needs to add any stress to their lives, especially when they’re planning their wedding). And secondly, from an aesthetic standpoint, when everything is the same color it’s all is just going to blend and blur together. Nothing will pop, and it won’t be visually pleasing. Exactly the opposite of what you are going for!
When helping couples choose their reception table linens, the most common question I got was “should the linens match our bridesmaids dresses?” My answer was always, “No, otherwise no one will be able to tell where the table stops and the bridesmaid begins.”
So, rather than trying to “match” colors, instead create a coordinating color palette, (one main color, 2-3 accent colors, and maybe a metallic). That way you’ll end up with bridesmaids dresses, linens and napkins, flowers, etc. that work harmoniously together and look absolutely fabulous.
2. Cake smashing
Your wedding day is one filled with love. You and your new spouse are dressed impeccably, in attire that cost a significant amount of money, and quite possibly was custom made. Everyone is enjoying the celebration, and it’s now time to cut the cake.
The newlyweds feeding each other the first piece of wedding cake symbolizes their first meal as a married couple, and their commitment to provide for each other.
So why would anyone really want to smash a piece of cake in their partner’s face, or have them smash cake into theirs? You don’t do this when you’re having dinner at home, or out at a restaurant, so why do it now on this of all days?
This supposedly “funny” and “cute” act (and possibly the most overdone wedding clichés) ruins the expensive makeup and hairstyle. It gets ground into the fabric of your dress and suit. And it can be hazardous. On more than one occasion I’ve seen brides and grooms end up with cake up their nose, or in their eye. Or slip on some cake and icing that hit the floor.
Be safe. Be kind. Don’t smash.
3. The “suggestive” garter removal
Many couples still do the bouquet and garter tosses at their reception. The key is having enough single people to participate in the fun.
But what isn’t fun (and is possibly the most cringe-worthy of all the cliché wedding trends)? A bride who is wearing the garter as high as she can get it, then watching the groom completely climb in under her skirts (sorry, but there’s no reason that he has to put his head under there), and removing the garter with his teeth. It’s cringy, awkward, and borderline obscene.
Instead, wear the garter discreetly just above the knee so you won’t have to show your whole leg (and possibly some other undergarments), and tell your partner to save the sexy stuff for the wedding night.
4. Any type of “ball and chain” type of joke
Does anything that implies (even if it’s just supposed to be funny) that the groom is being forced to get married really belong at a romantic function? At best, they are just cringy.
Cue the uncomfortable laughter at:
- Ring bearer signs that say “Last chance to run”
- Cake toppers with the bride dragging the groom (or vice versa), or the groom with a ball and chain on his ankle
- Writing “Help Me” on the soles of his shoes (to be viewed as you are kneeling at the altar)
Unless this is the type of humor that you and your partner share on a regular basis, does it really fit in with your wedding style? It’s no longer unique or clever, so why are couples still doing this? Perhaps it’s because they think it’s an easy way to inject some humor into their wedding day.
Which directly leads us to the 5th cliché wedding trend. . .
5. Getting too caught up in “tradition”
Or doing something because you think that’s what you are supposed to do, or choosing something because “that’s the way it is done.” That’s a big wedding planning mistake. We all know that there is more than one way to skin a cat (or crack an egg). In other words, you have options!
Now anyone who knows me knows that I’m a pretty traditional person. And what has more traditions surrounding it than a wedding day? But getting caught up in tradition isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Being so caught up in tradition that the reason behind every wedding planning choice made is “because it’s tradition” is just silly. Will it still be a wedding? Yes. Will it still be beautiful? Very likely. Will your guests still enjoy themselves. Possibly. Will you and your partner enjoy yourselves? Um, probably not. Why not? Because none of the day will truly be about either of you, and you will be doing things you really aren’t into. (And if you aren’t enjoying yourselves, your guests won’t either).
Now I’m not saying that you completely ignore tradition either. Instead, take a look at each tradition and then decide whether you 1) want to use it as is, 2) want to skip it, or 3) want to tweak it to better fit your and your partner’s personalities.
6. Being too “anti-tradition”
While there’s nothing wrong with being anti-tradition (even though I am pretty traditional personally, I totally get it when others aren’t), you still need to make thoughtful choices with your wedding plans.
Choosing to not go the traditional route is fine. However, going overboard on “anti-tradition” or doing something just because it is not traditional puts the emphasis in the wrong place. Instead, make choices and decisions based on what you and your partner want and like, and fits your wedding style, formality, and vision.
Not into cake? What type of dessert do you and your partner prefer? Then instead of having a wedding cake for dessert, serve that. If your dessert preference is rather unusual or may not be a popular choice with your guests, supplement it with another simple type of dessert option.
Don’t do this:
Not into cake? Think of the biggest, most unwedding-like dessert you can possibly think of, (I don’t know, maybe a big tub of plain chocolate pudding?) and serve that.
Don’t want to walk down the aisle to the traditional Bridal Chorus (aka “Here Comes The Bride”) or Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”? Instead, play “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach or “Ave Verum Corpus” by Mozart. If you want a less traditional/more modern tune, try “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri or “Chapel of Love” by The Dixie Cups.
Don’t do this:
Don’t want to walk down the aisle to the traditional Bridal Chorus or “Pachelbel’s Canon”? Bring in a mariachi band for your processional.
Of course you want your wedding to stand out, but for the right reasons. Standing out just because it’s different isn’t the way to go. Choosing something that’s different because it truly represents you and your spouse-to-be is.
Traditions are a common sight with weddings. Even with the least “traditional” wedding you’ll still find some form or variation, and can’t completely avoid them. The key to avoid being cliche or overdone is to truly think about what the practice is, will it fit your wedding vibe, and what does it truly mean to you and your partner.
What do you think of these cliché wedding trends? Have you seen any others?
Jean Neuhart is a wedding specialist, blogger, author, and retired planner/coordinator. She has appeared on local television shows and written hundreds of articles with advice on the latest styles and trends in the ever changing wedding industry. She is also the author of 2 wedding planning books.