Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Topic of the Day: Wedding Traditions That Need to Go

A conversation over in the forums this week got me thinking about wedding traditions — specifically wedding traditions that seem outdated or don’t reflect modern lifestyles and values but still hang around (think: bridal showers; bouquet toss to the single ladies; dads giving away the brides). I’m also thinking about fairly new traditions – like engagement parties — that weren’t necessary but now add more obligation (of money and time) from the couple’s loved ones. Like, why are there so many events celebrating one milestone? Isn’t a bachelor/bachelorette party + the wedding enough? Why do people need more gifts — which is the whole point of a shower (to “shower gifts on the honoree”) on top of the wedding gifts they’re going to get, especially when so many couples are marrying older and after establishing a home together?

What wedding traditions would you be happy to never see/take part in again? Are there any you love? Do you have a favorite tradition – old or new — from your own wedding or a wedding you’ve been to?

104 comments… add one
  • avatar

    tiffwhy July 30, 2019, 7:43 am

    The symbolic act of your father giving your hymen to your future husband is frankly disgusting to me, but hey, I defend every bride’s right to have their wedding as deep in the heterosexual patriarchy as they want.

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      anonymousse July 30, 2019, 9:45 am

      What!?

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      • avatar

        tiffwhy July 31, 2019, 6:13 am

        When the father of the bride flips the bride’s veil and hands her over to the groom? THAT IS WHAT THAT IS FOR: THE HYMEN VIRGINITY TRANSFER MOMENT. I wish I were kidding.

        It’s amazing that people spend tens of thousands of currencymonies on a ceremony they don’t understand and probably wouldn’t support if they DID understand it.

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  • veritek33

    veritek33 July 30, 2019, 8:42 am

    We will not be doing the garter toss/bouquet toss and as you see in the forums, trying to find a nice way to get out of the showers. Also- dollar dances? Why is that a thing? That’s a total money grab right? It seems popular in my area but I’m absolutely not doing that.

    We do want to keep the bachelorette party tradition which for me is just a nice dinner with my girlfriends and maybe an adult sleepover just for fun to watch wedding movies and eat junk food, etc.

    One tradition we want to keep as a couple is that MofV will not see me before the wedding. I’ll be staying with my mom in her room the night before and he will see me the first time as I walk down the aisle. It wasn’t a big deal to me but when I asked him it was very important to him that the first time he sees me be when I walk down the aisle, and that seemed very sweet so I’m going with it!

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    • avatar

      bondgirl July 30, 2019, 8:58 am

      We also bailed on the bouquet/garter toss. There were like only 2-3 unmarried/uncoupled women at the wedding and I wanted to keep my bouquet so it just seemed unnecessary.

      One tradition I’ve learned about and REALLY enjoyed though is a western PA origin (primarily Pittsburgh) called a cookie table. My understanding is this started during the Great Depression since nobody could afford a wedding cake — the families baked cookies instead. People can afford a cake at their wedding but the tradition continues on.
      We had a cookie table and it was a HUGE hit with our guests – although our friends baked 95% of the cookies.

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      • avatar

        SM July 30, 2019, 1:02 pm

        I live in the south east United States, and I’ve been to roughly 15 or so weddings, all but one has included a garter toss and bouquet toss. THEN, the guy that caught the garter, puts it on the woman that caught the bouquet. The higher up he goes on her leg, the more luck it brings the newly married couple. I HATE this tradition, even though it’s typically planned that a couple gets both so some random guy isn’t putting a garter on a a woman in a relationship with someone else.

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl July 30, 2019, 2:18 pm

        Oh my gosh! i went to a wedding in western PA and they had this. IT WAS AMAZING. The mother of the bride and family had baked for weeks. It was incredible

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      • avatar

        LadyNeon01 July 31, 2019, 3:58 pm

        The cookie table is awesome! My family is from Pittsburgh and every family wedding I went to had the cookie table. At one family wedding, the cookie table was bigger than the actual buffet!

        There was no question that I was having a cookie table at my wedding. My mom and I baked 6 different cookies over the two days right before the wedding. My sister’s mother-in-law baked another different type of cookie. So in total, we had 7 different cookies at the wedding. It was a huge hit with our guests too!

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    • Copa

      Copa July 30, 2019, 9:23 am

      I had to Google dollar dances — I’d never heard of ’em!

      I’d say about half the weddings I’ve been to have included a bouquet toss, which is a tradition I don’t love. I feel like it calls the singletons out in a weird and unnecessary way. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a garter toss.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy July 30, 2019, 9:30 am

        I’ve only been to one wedding where there was a bouquet toss – and that was in a small-ish town in Missouri. It was pretty cringey. I’ve only ever seen a dollar dance once – also in a small town in Missouri and also cringey. If there was a garter toss at that one, I blocked it out.

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      • veritek33

        veritek33 July 30, 2019, 9:44 am

        Dollar dances are my least favorite thing ever. The maid of honor and best man collect money from people wanting to dance with the bride and groom. You literally hand over cash to this person. It just feels so gross to me but I’ve been to at least half a dozen weddings where it happened.

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      • avatar

        Ele4phant July 30, 2019, 10:49 am

        I live in a pretty liberal part of the country, but I feel like there’s been a bouquet toss at every wedding I’ve been to, at least at the sizable weddings.

        The first wedding I went to after I got married and I got to just stay seated, no one pressuring me to get up and stand with all the other unmarried women was pure bliss.

        I’ve only been to one wedding with a garter toss though.

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      • avatar

        Vathena July 30, 2019, 10:55 am

        Almost every wedding where I’ve seen a bouquet toss, most of the women jump *away* from the bouquet. Lol.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster July 30, 2019, 11:40 am

        I’ve only been to one wedding where the bouquet toss was skipped. Usually, I hide in the bathroom during this part lol. The last wedding I went to, just a few weeks ago, I wasn’t able to escape in time, my family pushed me out there, and I actually wound up catching the bouquet. Turns out, they all knew my boyfriend is planning to propose (he asked me for my grandmother’s ring a couple days ago) so it was a group effort to make sure I got it. In general though, I think this tradition is pretty cringy and I won’t be doing it at our wedding.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny July 31, 2019, 12:02 pm

        The bou

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny July 31, 2019, 12:06 pm

        The bouquet toss has happened at every wedding I’ve gone to. (I’m in CA.) I’ve caught the bouquet myself at least 3 times. I always feel kind of uncomfortable with them.
        At my uncle’s wedding (he was remarrying at age 60-ish) most people there were older and already married, so it wound up being me and one 8 year old, and then some other woman jumped up and made a mad dash for the bouquet, even though she was *already married.* Come on. (Eyeroll.)

        Also I think the dollar dance is tacky. I usually give a dollar though, if I have one on me!

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph July 30, 2019, 4:38 pm

      I went to one wedding with a dollar dance. The groom was Filipino and apparently this is very common in their wedding tradition. It seemed little weird to me but it was kind of nice to get that little bit of one-on-one time with the groom. I liked it enough that I went through the bride’s line, too. I mean I guess its a money grab in a way but its also just a dollar and you don’t HAVE to participate if it bothers you.

      I would probably be less inclined if it was at a wedding of people who didnt have a tradition of doing it because then it would seem more like a money grab.

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    • avatar

      Ange July 30, 2019, 5:22 pm

      I didn’t have a bouquet or a garter, kept nosy people asking about either of those tacky traditions nicely in line 😂

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    • AnotherElle

      AnotherElle July 30, 2019, 8:36 pm

      Super lurker here briefly coming out of lurkerdom re: dollar dances.

      So dollar dances are super traditional in my culture (Mex-American on the West Coast) and in some other cultures as well. Parents push *hard* for them, even when the couple is pretty against them. (This is also currently happening to a friend who is Filipina.)

      We had one because my mom put us on the spot at the wedding. Tacky? Yeah, a bit. But it wasn’t done as a money grab. As SpaceySteph mentioned, it’s not forced for guests and it can literally be a dollar. Sometimes a family member that’s super into the tradition will use a big denomination because they would have gifted it anyway, but saved the expense of a card. It was nice getting one-on-one time with guests, even though we were able to mingle with everyone throughout the night anyway.

      Bonus: we also did a bouquet toss, but not a garter toss. I asked that anyone who wanted to, all ages and married or not, come up for the toss. It was something just for fun and made for some cute photos. YMMV.

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  • avatar

    Fyodor July 30, 2019, 9:02 am

    I think that part of the dynamic is that these events have proliferated even as people have spread out more. So women find themselves having to travel for separate bridal showers and bachelorette parties and then four days of wedding festivities. The wedding itself may additionally be at some specialized destination. It’s not as bad for men, but there is some of that too.

    We didn’t do any of the stuff in the main article. We did do a traditionalish Jewish wedding with a Tisch and Bedeken.

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  • avatar

    Death2BouquetTosses July 30, 2019, 9:43 am

    I have a kind of weird, maybe-unpopular opinion when it comes to showers, and maybe I’m being overly sensitive about it because I’m in the thick of wedding planning, but it’s still here. My partner and I graduated in the height of the 2008 financial crisis, and as a result it took us both some time to find good and steady employment. On top of that, we were both saddled with student loans that had rapidly increasing (11%!!) interest rates, so basically all of our money has been thrown into that bonfire, not acquiring nice housewares. After six years of dating and three years of living together, we are still using a lot of rundown, half-functional college furniture and appliances because now, on top of still paying off loans, we’re paying towards our wedding.

    Believe me, I recognize that eloping/having a small intimate ceremony would be cheaper, but my partner is very close to his large Irish family, so he wants them to be there, and since I have several close friends myself, we are having a small-medium wedding. What hurts is that, as a now 30-year-old, so many people are telling me it would be ‘tacky’ for me to have any kind of shower whatsoever ‘because we’ve been together for so long’. Meanwhile, I have shown up for all of these women when they were getting married at 24, 25, 26 years old; I enjoyed sipping mimosas, getting to meet their family members, eating fun desserts. But now, I feel like everyone’s reaction to my engagement is that I basically waited too long, and everyone else has moved on with their lives? You know, like now it’s time for house-buying and kid-having and the time for getting married was a million years ago. But the reason we ‘waited’ so long is because we needed to save up for the celebration to include them. And now all the people I showed up for as a bridesmaid, all the people I hosted showers for, are telling me they’re “soooooo done” with all that.

    I recognize social events like these aren’t tit-for-tat, and that nobody owes me their time or tea towels. It just gets me down that I feel like I missed the perfect age window for anyone to get excited with me about anything.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy July 30, 2019, 10:14 am

      Count me in the camp that finds showers incredibly tedious and also pretty tacky (especially since you’re already getting wedding gifts from your wedding guests!), but what is FAR tackier is when the same people whom you showered are actually telling you they’re so done with all that. Wow!

      All that said, if we can all agree that showers are dumb and just another gift-grabby thing when people are already shelling out for wedding gifts and associated wedding guest costs, then someone has to be the one to break the tradition or it just continues: “I threw a shower for you, so you have to throw one for me.” Or “I went to all your showers now you come to mine.” Or “I threw your daughter a shower, now you throw mine one.” Etc. , etc. The main reason these boring, outdated showers continue is because people think they are owed for the money and time they spent attending/throwing showers for other people. Maybe we can all stop the consumeristic madness and accept that sometimes you don’t get what you think is “owed” to you and that’s not such an awful thing.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy July 30, 2019, 10:15 am

        Also, if your friends aren’t excited that you’re getting married because you’re six years “too late” or whatever, they really suck and you need new friends.

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      • veritek33

        veritek33 July 30, 2019, 10:36 am

        My best friend got married 10 years ago and has two kids, a draining career and a marriage of her own to deal with and she is still SO EXCITED I’m getting married and officering to throw me a shower and bachelorette despite all the stuff she’s got going on. I hope you can find some friends like that soon <3

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    • avatar

      Ele4phant July 30, 2019, 11:01 am

      To be clear as to my comments below – I think it’s totally fine if a couple wants to have a traditional registry, even if they are “older”. Having a registry is not tacky no matter your age, if you want to have one.

      I just think it should truly be optional. I didn’t need one, yet we got super pressured into having one.

      And I also think, maybe we should start moving towards registries for new grads instead? Or some other point in life where people are actually launching their lives where it now makes more sense and people are actually first starting to assemble their household.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant July 30, 2019, 11:21 am

      Also – regardless of how they view showers, it’s a bunch of BS that your friends had you participate in theirs, and are telling you you don’t get one if you want one and aren’t excited to see your through this milestone.

      Are showers and all the bridesmaid’s duties sometimes tedious? Yes. Are you a bad friend if you pooh-pooh another friend’s major milestone because you are far beyond it? Yes, you are.

      Honestly, now that most of my friends are beyond the wedding stage (at least the first marriages! We haven’t entered the divorce-and remarry phase yet, but statistically speaking, that’s coming for some of us!), I’d be a little more excited than I was a few years ago. It’s been a bit since someone’s gotten married, now that I don’t have multiple weddings each summer, I actually think I’d enjoy helping one friend through theirs.

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  • avatar

    Ele4phant July 30, 2019, 9:54 am

    Wedding registries.

    Many people getting married these days aren’t moving fresh out of their parents house, they don’t need more stuff. Many have already long since been living together and gotten everything they need. The purpose for registries no longer makes sense.

    At the very least it should no longer be considered rude to say directly “No gifts please”.

    I understand wanting to give a gift at a time like this, but seriously we shouldn’t force a couple to come up with a list of things they’d accept just to scratch that itch if the couple is otherwise already well appointed.

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    • avatar

      MP July 30, 2019, 9:56 am

      I feel this so hard re: wedding registries. My family is East Asian and in my culture we do cash gifts exclusively. I explained registries to my family there and they were like…… why not just give cash since it’s more helpful. Which I agree with.

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      • avatar

        Ele4phant July 30, 2019, 10:24 am

        My husband is half Chinese-American, so his family was already up on the just give a check mentality.

        And most of our peers are starting to be accustomed to writing checks. It was mostly just my older relatives that were like “What?!?!! No registry ?!?!? But you must!!!!”

        To be clear, I wasn’t trying to get money out of people. No gifts of any sort would’ve been fine. But I truly did not want more things, and didn’t want to encourage it if I could help it.

        Some people have told me that I could’ve registered for nicer upgrades of things we already had. But to me, no, that seems wasteful. What I have is fine, I will replace it when it needs to be replaced.

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    • Guy Friday

      Guy Friday July 30, 2019, 10:09 am

      So, I’m a bit torn on registries. On the one hand, all the points you (and many others) have made ring true to me. On the other hand, two points:

      1.) It drove me up the wall crazy when people went “off registry” because they thought they just knew EXACTLY what we wanted. And when it’s something like towels or folding chairs, no big deal. But when it’s china in awful patterns that they’re expected to be displayed prominently . . . I mean, a present is a present, but they’re setting all of us for unnecessary drama. I don’t care so much if people don’t get gifts or just give gift cards or cash, but don’t go buying clutter people don’t need, you know?

      2.) I don’t know if this is unique to the time and store we used (Bed Bath and Beyond), but we were invited to an “event” with a bunch of other newlywed couples after the store closed one evening where they served us champagne and let us browse, and then anything we got that we’d put on our registry we got 25% off. So, for example, we put a $400 Dyson vacuum on there specifically BECAUSE we wanted the discount, not for people to buy it for us. So sometimes it’s a mutually beneficial relationship between the couples and the store.

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      • avatar

        MP July 30, 2019, 10:15 am

        Interesting points @GuyFriday! I’m very grateful me and husband’s families and friends respected the ‘no registry, no gifts’ rule even despite my husband’s family being American as apple pie. We got giftcards and cash/check gifts exclusively to both our relief and actually profited off our wedding which is a miraculous feat.

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      • avatar

        Ele4phant July 30, 2019, 10:18 am

        I think it’s fine if you want a registry. My point is is that it shouldn’t be a requirement.

        And it shouldn’t be rude to say “no gifts please”.

        We didn’t want one, we’re pretty minimalistic, we’d been living together five years already, we truly did not want or need more stuff.

        We certainly did not need or expect ANYTHING, but if people truly wanted to help us start our marriage on the best foot forward, well we had just bought a house and helping us rebuild our savings would’ve been great.

        We did not register, and we got pressured so hard to set one up. We resisted. Most people got it and gave us a nice card with a check (or just a nice card which was 100% welcomed and appreciated). A few people had to get us tangible things, that was okay.

        But we got so much “But you have to register!!! People won’t know what to get you!!!” And I was like yeah, that’s the point. Hopefully they get us nothing.

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      • avatar

        snoopy July 30, 2019, 11:38 am

        I’m with you on the points for registries keeping people from going ‘off registry’ and reducing clutter. I think it’s a know your crowd situation. We had people deadset on getting us gifts, so a registry was a way to direct their attention things we would really like and would use. At the same time, we kept it pretty small and had a lot of smaller items to encourage less gifting.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph July 30, 2019, 5:08 pm

        I always give cash as a wedding gift, but I also cherish all of the wedding gifts we got and I make a point to remember who gave it to us. I was 24 when I got married and already owned a house and had a kitchen, but I registered for a full set of china and I break that stuff out a few times a year. I love to host holidays (Thanksgiving, Passover, etc.) and so I always pull it out and I’m like ‘here’s the platter aunt so and so gave us’ and ‘here’s the pie cutter from dad’s friend X.”
        There’s only a handful of things (looking at you, decorative ice bucket) that I registered for and turns out have no use for.
        I think it should be ok to not have a registry or to want cash, but I also think it should be ok if you do want a registry and do want those traditional household items.

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    • Copa

      Copa July 30, 2019, 10:25 am

      Wait, it’s rude to say “no gifts, please”? Why?

      I live alone and already feel overwhelmed by stuff. If I moved in with my boyfriend tomorrow, we’d have two or more of just about everything.

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      • avatar

        Ele4phant July 30, 2019, 10:43 am

        Because it strips off the veneer that there is an expectation for gifts at all, which to the most up tight etiquette adherents is like, the biggest cardinal sin.

        Which of course there is (or at the very least the assumption people will want to give you stuff, if not the expectation). What else is a traditional registry if not a wish list of gifts you want? I think originally it was just to let guests know your China and textile patterns so they could buy things that match, it was list of the wish list that it’s become. Nobody is marching their toaster to their china.

        Lord forbid you just directly say – no presents are necessary but if you must cash would be great. I mean I think with the honeymoon and house funds some couples set up there’s a move towards making that more okay, but it still seems to rankle a lot of older folks.

        My cousin got married in her late thirties. The last thing she needed was more stuff, so she and her husband set up a travel fund and some of my older relatives about threw a fit. But seriously, she’s been living independently for nearly two decades, she’s long since gotten everything she needs. If you’re offended, give her nothing, she won’t care.

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      • avatar

        bondgirl July 30, 2019, 10:50 am

        One of my relatives did a travel registry as well, which to me made complete sense; the couple had already been living together for 5 years at that point, they simply didn’t need any more stuff. But, my mom thought that was super tacky and insisted on giving physical gifts anyway. Along that same line she insisted she throw me a bridal shower when I got married, so I just registered for stuff that wasn’t insanely overpriced and was stuff I’d actually use. And if it was higher than like $100, it became a group gift. Also set up cash funds for the honeymoon and for home improvement since we’d already bought a house.

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    • avatar

      snoopy July 30, 2019, 11:26 am

      I did a medium sized registry for my fairly big wedding and had A LOT of pressure from aunts/uncles/older generation to have MOAR on our registry. But we’d been living together for 2ish years at that point and really didn’t need more, but the older generation felt weird about giving just cash.

      For all our friends, we give cash at the wedding and I do gifts for showers since they often have a gift opening portion where everyone oohs and ahhs over what was given (ugh, so cringy).

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    • avatar

      Sarah July 30, 2019, 3:53 pm

      I refused to register anywhere when I got married, we requested no gifts but that didn’t work out. You would have thought I was asking them to behead my mother not don’t spend money on me. I told people that asked that we had lived together for 3 years, I had a home before we moved in together we have the stuff we want already. In the end I told them to get us dinner gift cards, home improvement gift cards, or cash. It was 2 years before we paid for a meal out!!!

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      • avatar

        Kelly Tanner August 8, 2019, 2:39 pm

        This. You can go ahead and try to opt out of gifts, but some things are culturally hardwired and the envelopes, they will come for you regardless. may as well register somewhere and channel it towards something you do want, because you can’t stop it. I’m about to get married for the second time, and its a small and stripped down affair as could be, and these are all people who just did the wedding thing with me a number of years ago, and there aren’t even invitations, just “here is where we are doing it, hope you can be there” and STILL people are like, “I just got you a gift!!”

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  • Copa

    Copa July 30, 2019, 9:56 am

    I agree that all the pre-wedding events are unnecessary. Many of my friends and family haven’t had showers, and I’m not sad about that.

    One of my friends who got married this year, she wanted all the traditional events. She is someone who doesn’t really cook. Doesn’t like it at all, eats out with her now-husband very often. The humor was not lost on me that she still registered primarily for kitchen items. I thought it was silly to ask for pricey gifts that I suspect she’ll get little to no use out of, but tradition won out I guess. I know some people find cash fund registries tacky, but I don’t mind them at all. I’d rather my money go toward something the couple will use and find value in.

    I’m not sure I’d even do a bachelorette party because my friends and family are scattered and I don’t like the idea of asking anyone to pay to travel for that, knowing any wedding I have would also require travel. But in any case, this is not relevant to my life yet, so it’s a non-issue for now.

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    • Copa

      Copa July 30, 2019, 10:07 am

      Also, my favorite wedding I’ve attended was this year for one of my boyfriend’s friends. I think I liked it so much because you could tell they weren’t concerned with tradition or putting on a show. They just wanted to celebrate with their friends and family. The ceremony was at 6 p.m. and only lasted 10-15 minutes. No attendants, reasonable number of guests (~100). Straight into cocktail hour, then dinner. Only two speeches, neither of which went on and on. There was dessert, but no cake. No cake cutting. There was a first dance, but no father-daughter or mother-son dance. No bouquet or garter toss. Everyone was on the dance floor all night. Just super fun and fairly relaxed.

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    • TaraMonster

      TaraMonster July 30, 2019, 12:06 pm

      I agree so much about the cash registries. When my cousin did that a few years ago-specifically, a honeymoon fund–a bunch of my relatives griped that this was tacky, but I happily gave her cash. Experiences > a bunch of crap you don’t need. I truly don’t understand the aggressivity with which some people approach gift giving.

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  • Guy Friday

    Guy Friday July 30, 2019, 10:15 am

    My favorite wedding I’ve ever been to — possibly the only one that tops my own (but I’m biased 🙂 ) — was one that two of my best friends from law school did when they married each other. They were both very anti-wedding (one had the fancy formal wedding and got divorced before this), and then they started going to some after getting engaged and realized that they really liked the idea of giving everyone a chance to come together and show love and celebrate this big event with them. So they rented out a bar for the night, sprung for appetizers and champagne toasts, ordered pizzas from this amazing local place to be delivered to the bar during the reception, and then had a short ceremony where — since they’re both lawyers — instead of the whole ring trading thing they notarized each other’s signatures on a fake marriage contract. At the reception, one of our mutual friends set a giant singing pink gorilla in a tux and top hat to sing a custom made congratulation song about “going ape” over their nuptials. It was low-key, full of people who all knew each other, and just a supremely epic evening.

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    • avatar

      d2 August 2, 2019, 4:44 pm

      Pizza and champagne sounds like the perfect reception dinner to me!

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  • avatar

    Kate July 30, 2019, 10:28 am

    I think showers are tacky, gift-grabby, outdated, and incredibly boring. You’re having a wedding. That’s your party, that’s your occasion for gifts. Absolutely no other party or get-together needs to happen. People have limited time and budget to do anything in life. A wedding is obligation enough. A bachelorette party is another thing that doesn’t need to happen. They are a super strain on the wedding party’s schedule and budget. If someone offers to throw you one of these showers or parties, three words: “No, thank you.” It is 100% up to you.

    But if people really want to throw you a shower *and* you need stuff, sure, it’s okay to have one.

    Truly though, no one cares about anything related to your wedding except having fun at the actual reception. If that. I repeat, no one cares.

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    • avatar

      Kate July 30, 2019, 10:33 am

      Honestly, to me the bore factor is a bigger issue than the gift grabby aspect or tackiness.

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      ele4phant July 30, 2019, 11:25 am

      I didn’t have a wedding shower, don’t regret it.

      Of all my friends that had wedding showers, they only had it because an older relative *insisted* they be allowed to through it. No one my age has offered or been excited to throw a shower for a peer bride.

      I think bachelorette parties can be fun, but they expectations have gotten way too out of control. A nice evening with some local friends (or friends that freely choose to travel) should be it. No one should get pressured to travel or drop a bunch of cash if they don’t want to.

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    • avatar

      ron July 30, 2019, 11:27 am

      And the new trend to make showers co-ed to bring them up to date is even worse. If women find them boring, men find them to be horrific.

      Destination weddings are another bad new trend.

      Most wedding traditions date from the age of women as chattel to be bought or paid to have a guy take them off father’s hands, to grease for a business/land merger, to shifting owner/protector of virtue/family honor from father to husband: father gives away bride, veil, white wedding dress, traditional wedding vow in which bride promises to obey husband. All of the gift-centered traditions are from a time when marriage was at a much earlier age and the relatives and villagers helped set up the new household.

      I’m for minimalist and chuck the patriarchal traditional customs. That’s what we did in our wedding 46 years ago. Two of my sibs had even more informal/modern weddings. One sib did traditional wedding. All still married.

      Weddings have become a huge industry and a lot of advertising/brainwashing goes into the preservation of the old and new traditions which allow that industry to prosper financially.

      It is sad to see couples splurge the money that would get them into their first house on a wedding extravaganza, with all of the accessory events from showers, to same-sex pre-parties, to destination wedding, to elaborate honeymoons. Perhaps the parents are happy to cover all of these costs, but for couples with student/other debt, who are largely paying the cost themselves, it seems unwise spending, which will detract from their married life, even perhaps leading to financial difficulties which shorten the marriage.

      In this country we have made the error of combining civil aspects of marriage with the religious aspects. That’s what made gay marriage such a huge issue and why civil unions were a nonstarter, with local/state but not federal privileges of marriage conferred. It turned out that many religious conservatives were not only interested in preserving their sacred religious sacrament of marriage; they wanted the official government imprimatur that heterosexual unions are just inherently better and more ‘natural. They couldn’t get this sense unless they received governmental benefits not available to same-sex

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        Kate July 30, 2019, 11:34 am

        Agree, if you’re already in debt, or don’t have an emergency fund saved, or need the money for other things like house repairs, just don’t have a wedding that costs money. Go to the courthouse and out to dinner. Get a pretty dress from Amazon.

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        ele4phant July 30, 2019, 11:41 am

        It is amazing what families will pressure you for.

        We wanted a *very* small wedding (courthouse with 6 people, we take everyone to dinner afterwards), and my mom who has always been very chill was like, well what about your brothers? And your aunts and uncles, and your cousins…And then it would’ve been very lopsided to my family, so we had to open up things to my husband’s side too.

        We still had a very small, affordable wedding compared to what a lot of people have (15 people at courthouse immediately followed by a reception for 40), and my mom foot the bill for a lot of what she wanted. And if she couldn’t/wouldn’t have done that we would’ve held the line on the budget.

        But yeah, this has happened to me and every friend I have that’s gotten married. Family is INTO it way more than you assume, and the amount of pressure you get is surprising.

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      snoopy July 30, 2019, 11:33 am

      I didn’t really want showers, but I had two- one in the city where I and my MIL live and one where I grew up/my mom lives. Both were mainly for the benefit of my mom and MIL and both were set that it was important for them to do so. It was a hill I wasn’t ready to die on.

      At both I cringed at the gift opening portion because it *did* feel really grabby and icky. And I wanted to take the time to admire and thank everyone, but was told to go faster so we weren’t sitting around forever. Ugh.

      Agreed bach parties have gotten out of control. All weekend, destination, blahblah. At the last one I was at the bride didn’t make it out to the bar on the first night and we were all so relieved we could just relax a bit and head home at a reasonable time because we had been drinking all day and had another day and a half to go.

      All our good friends are getting married right now and I just totalled what we’ve spent on bach parties this year and kind of want to gag.

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    Vathena July 30, 2019, 10:46 am

    We didn’t have a wedding party. That was the first and one of the best wedding decisions we made (within a few minutes of getting engaged)! I was 30 and my husband was 42 when we got married…I just didn’t see the need to line up my 5 best friends in matching dresses. (Also, each of those friends had a lot of other life-changing shit going on that year, and showing up to the wedding was absolutely enough!) My bff did plan a small, chill bachelorette weekend for me, which was lovely. My husband walked down the aisle with his parents, and I walked with my mom (my dad died when I was 15). I definitely think wedding parties do not need to be a thing.

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      Vathena July 30, 2019, 10:52 am

      – and we did get photos with all our besties, at the cocktail hour. Our photographer helped us round up various friend/family groups, so we have photos with our HS friends, college friends, grad school friends, all the folks from our ultimate frisbee team (we met playing ultimate), our local friend group that we call “the urban family”, and so on.

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      Ange July 30, 2019, 5:31 pm

      Same! I really didn’t want to rank my friends like they were a MySpace Top 8 or something. Also I’ve seen so many friendships and familial relationships utterly destroyed by the process I didn’t want to risk it.

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    Carolina Blue July 30, 2019, 11:43 am

    I’m not married but have been to a few weddings. I enjoy what they’re supposed to mean- love, commitment and family but some rituals really irk me.

    Registries are starting to bother me as many have mentioned- it’s a gift grab for people who now have been on their own for a number of years. Also the last wedding I went to, my cousin’s- she and her husband didn’t send out any thank you notes. I don’t need a scroll or anything was but she should recognize that our family is not well off and anyone who contributed should be acknowledged.

    Wedding Showers and Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties- Again a gift grab and an unnecessary ploy for attention where there is already so much invested. Not to mention as an introvert, I don’t want to feel obligated to invite family members I don’t have a relationship with.

    Bridal Parties- Again, I don’t see the need to prove how many friends you have or anything like that. The wedding should be about the same two people the marriage is about.

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      Ele4phant July 30, 2019, 4:30 pm

      Counterpoint on the registries – and as say this as someone who vehemently thinks they are unnecessary – family will INSIST you have one.

      It’s weird. But in our culture, at least Anglo middle class America – people want to give gifts and they want to give *things*. Somehow saying you’d prefer a check (or nothing!) is money grubbing but asking for a fancy ass blender isn’t.

      So I give a lot of brides and grooms who are settled upgrades credit that they aren’t trying to squeeze fancy upgrades out of their guests. Many I think had a mom or older relative that demanded they *must* have one and at the end of the day it’s not a hill they wanted to die on.

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster July 30, 2019, 11:54 am

    Count me in as someone who’d like fewer wedding-related events. One thing I’ve noticed being cut out recently is the rehearsal dinner. My brother didn’t have one at his recent wedding, and neither did his best friend who got married a few weeks later. They invited anyone who was around for drinks at the hotel bar where they were staying the night before, but it was super informal and not required. I’m personally glad to see this tradition go. Same with the bouquet toss, which I find creepy. I’d always thought I’d skip having my dad walk me down the aisle bc it feels pretty sexist to me, but I know it’s important to my dad since I’m his only girl, and that he’d be really sad if we skipped it.

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    SM July 30, 2019, 1:12 pm

    Only seen this done twice so I hope it’s not becoming a “thing,” but it really drove me crazy both times. Both couples included with their invitation that they would rather have money for their honeymoon than gifts because they threw this wedding for me to attend to celebrate them (not those exact words, but that’s the gist of it). It seriously just rubbed me the wrong way. And these are good people that would give me the shirt off their back, but wanted me to fund their honeymoon.

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      ele4phant July 31, 2019, 3:05 pm

      Hard disagree on the hate for the honeymoon funds.

      Why must we insist on getting people things they don’t need because we have an aversion to just giving cash? People want to give the wedding couple a present of some sort, a honeymoon fund at least directs them to something that feels like you are giving “something” without actually being a thing that they don’t need.

      By all means, you don’t have to give money (or anything for that matter) but if you just cannot stomach giving cash can you just make yourself give nothing so we’re not encouraging the accumulation of just more stuff? If the couple doesn’t need your money to fund their honeymoon, they also probably don’t need it to buy them a new blender.

      I would’ve been fine if our guests just gave us a card and nothing else (and some did! And I didn’t care!), but I was not going to be pressured by older relatives to sign up for a wish list of things I didn’t want or need because somehow that’s less tacky.

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        Kate July 31, 2019, 3:12 pm

        I think the issue here is the way they presented it, like, we’re having our wedding for you to attend to have fun, so donate to our honeymoon. On the invitation, no less! That’s obnoxious. I think honeyfunds are a bit tacky (I’m older, and also, i feel like if you can’t afford a honeymoon maybe don’t have a pricey wedding… or save up and do the trip next year) but I think if you just include the link in your wedding website or something, whatever, it’s fine, it’s what the kids do now I guess.

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        ele4phant July 31, 2019, 3:26 pm

        I mean, people aren’t *supposed* to include their traditional registry information in the invite at all. You’re supposed to go ask the bride’s mother where the couple is registered and go from there.

        But it’s become standard to include that in the invites, and if you don’t, people get annoyed.

        I have no problems with honeymoon funds, I have no problem with making it overt.

        People are going to want to spend money on you no matter what, I see it less that the couple is trying to get a fancy trip they can’t afford out of their guests, and more so they are just trying to direct what people are going to spend on them regardless.

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        Kate July 31, 2019, 4:06 pm

        Come on, you know it’s tacky and rude to write on the invitation that you’re throwing this wedding for people so they should contribute to your tropical vacay.

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        Ele4phant July 31, 2019, 4:36 pm

        Personally wouldn’t bother me.

        Also – we’re getting an interpretation, not verbatim recital – from someone who already dislikes the concept. I could easily see how they conflated a couple of ideas that aren’t actually supposed to be strung together. I think it’s possible they had an invite that had idea one – we’re excited to throw this wonderful party for all of you! Yay how exciting! and idea two – we don’t need any more things, if you’d like here’s a link to our honeymoon fund.

        Not – hey we’re throwing this party for all of you therefore pay for our honeymoon.

        If it’s rude to mention gifts or a registry in your wedding invite it’s rude to mention a registry. But it’s become acceptable to include info about traditional registries in invites, it doesn’t make sense that mentioning something non traditional like a honeymoon fund should be verboten.

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        Kate July 31, 2019, 4:45 pm

        Wait, I don’t buy into it being acceptable to print registry info on an invitation.

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        Kate July 31, 2019, 4:49 pm

        FTR, I had a destination wedding (I know, horrors!) and didn’t register for anything. We got very few gifts, and those were checks. Totally cool. There’s truly no need to register (family pressure, whatever, nah) if you don’t need anything, and I do think asking for money is pretty tacky though I recognize it’s getting more common, younger people have debt, etc.

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        ele4phant July 31, 2019, 5:26 pm

        I have yet to receive a wedding invitation that didn’t also have a slip of paper in it with info about where the couple was registered. Maybe it’s regional, but at least in my experience, everyone is doing it.

        For it’s worth, I didn’t have a registry, either. We really really really did not want more things. And the pressure we had to set one up was intense. I understand people want to give gifts, you get warm fuzzies from that, but when you actually need to get rid of stuff, not get more stuff, to me it seemed a little self-serving that people insist we get a registry because they wanted to give us stuff we really did not want or need.

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    MaggieB July 30, 2019, 1:43 pm

    We eschewed many wedding traditions (bridal shower, church ceremony, first dances), modified others (buffet in a park, siblings only as wedding party, custom-written secular ceremony officiated by my FIL), agreed to others out of courtesy to my family (Dad walking me down the aisle, a wedding cake), and did some traditional stuff because I simply wanted to (bachelorette with my sister and SILs, white dress, and more).

    While I know it’s easier said than done (I had a lot of friction with my parents in the process), at the end of the day, I feel no obligation to do anything, for my own wedding or others, that I don’t want to do, and don’t begrudge people for having whatever kind of wedding they want to have, as long as they don’t hold it against me for engaging with it as I see fit.

    I have joyously attending engagement parties and bridal showers, paid for dollar dances and Honeyfunds, caught the bouquet, and gone to destination weddings and bachelorette parties. I have also skipped those things when I didn’t feel like it, or didn’t have the budget. For me it’s really as simple as that, since luckily none of my friends are they type to be brats about it.

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    Kc24 July 30, 2019, 1:57 pm

    The tradition of the past decade or so where dress shops shoe horn every bride into a strapless dress!!! They aren’t flattering on the bulk of people especially those with larger busts. It needs to end.

    And sending tacky cutesy poems with your invites soliciting cash in lieu of gifts needs to stop too. If you’re old enough to get married you’re old enough to fund your own wedding/honeymoon/whatever.

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      Kate July 31, 2019, 7:25 am

      HA!

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      LisforLeslie July 31, 2019, 12:28 pm

      I was MoH in two weddings. In two weddings I had a dress made so that I had fucking sleeves. I’m fine with the expense because I felt so much better than I would have otherwise.

      I also wore flats to one of those weddings. Maybe both. I don’t remember my feet hurting so it was probably flats to both.

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      ele4phant July 31, 2019, 3:21 pm

      “If you’re old enough to get married you’re old enough to fund your own wedding/honeymoon/whatever.”

      If you’re old enough to get married, well then in these days you’re also likely to be able to fund the accumulation of all your household goods, no? Exceptions obviously exist – and if you are couple that genuinely needs to outfit a household by all means have a traditional registry without guilt – but for most middle-class American couples, its true.

      I have no problem abolishing the idea of registries/expectation that you have to give anything at all. But people WANT to give wedding gifts. And I don’t think we should be pressuring the accumulation of more stuff just because people want to give but culturally, giving cash feels icky (at least if you’re white and middle class; plenty of other cultures have no problem with this). I think honeymoon funds are fine and a completely acceptable substitute for wedding registries, giving guests an option to give a nice gift without actually buying the couple stuff to gather dust because they don’t need anymore stuff. If that’s totally unacceptable I’d prefer the standard be you just give nothing at all then.

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    Ange July 30, 2019, 5:35 pm

    We kept things pretty casual and I’ll forever be glad we did. Some things I mentioned above, no bouquet or wedding party but we also skipped the sit down dinner and just had big trays of food brought around. The mothers signed the certificate as witnesses and the dads got a two minute speech each and that was it. We also used the same room for the whole thing and only dipped out for 15 minutes for photos. We kind of had a combined bachelor/hens party but it was literally dinner and drinks at the pub with our local friends, nothing fancy and nobody had to travel for it. Registry we didn’t do and we instructed those who had to travel not to spend another cent on a gift, we got a few gifts and a bunch of money. All over it was super relaxed, cheap and stress free – exactly the wedding we wanted.

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    SpaceySteph July 30, 2019, 5:57 pm

    I hate showers. Couples showers/stock the bar parties are a little less terrible, but I wouldn’t mind the whole custom dying. I didn’t have a shower but my parents did throw us an engagement party with all their friends. I also do feel in their social circle people need to have tit-for-tat, like they went to all their friends kids engagement parties so then they will invite all their friends to their kids. The worst is that my parents and grandparents still, 6 years later, ask me what X person gave me for my wedding so they can give the same at some upcoming wedding. I ignore those requests because I think its weird. Besides, what about inflation?

    Also hate bouquet for singling out single women like some kind of spectacle, and I hate the garter which is all around icky.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark July 30, 2019, 7:16 pm

    Gifts.
    Bad speeches.
    Large 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th weddings.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark July 30, 2019, 7:23 pm

    Tedious dreary religious services especially when the bride and groom are about as devote as I am straight.

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    • Moneypenny

      Moneypenny July 31, 2019, 12:17 pm

      Omg, yes! WHY make people sit through an entire Catholic service for a wedding?! UGH. And I say that as someone raised Catholic.

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        K July 31, 2019, 2:42 pm

        We’ll be doing a Catholic ceremony, not a full Mass – the priest said it should last about 30 minutes. My mom is upset we’re not doing a full Mass. Guess what, you don’t need to have a Mass to be married in the Catholic Church, so we’re not doing it!

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    ktfran July 30, 2019, 11:43 pm

    I’m late to the party because I’ve been stuck in training for the past two days. My two cents:

    Weddings are a super fucking patriarchal racket. I enjoyed my super low key wedding, but honestly, every day leading up to it I wished I eloped.

    At the end if the day, all that matters is you’re married to your equal. Nothing else validates that. The ring. The dress. The matching, ugly bridesmaid dresses. The venue. The flowers. The centerpieces. The giveaways.

    Get married because you want to. Everything else is society making you spend ridiculous amounts of money for a day.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy July 31, 2019, 6:54 am

    My mom, who’s in her late 60s , married my dad only nine months after meeting him and a few weeks after graduating from college. They moved to Okinawa, Japan shortly after that (honeymooning in Saigon on the way; it was 1973…) and lived overseas for 40 years. They just celebrated 46 years of marriage. She sent me the following email in response to this post and gave me permission to share it:

    “Wendy, did you know that I once caught a bridal bouquet at a wedding—and then met your dad only a couple months later? Of course, we were married nine months after that, which was sooner than any of the other single women who had been at that summer of ‘72 wedding. I always thought that the bouquet was lucky, even before it “proved” to be. And I thought it was a sweet tradition whereby the bride wished upon an unattached friend the same happiness she was experiencing. I never liked how raunchy removing the garter from the bride sometimes was, however, though I also saw it handled tastefully. But what I especially hated was the tradition—unloving, humiliating, and abusive, I thought—of smashing cake into the new spouse’s face or down his/her throat. I knew that that was not going to happen at my wedding reception! I guess none of your readers mentioned that because it so seldom happens anymore—if at all. I would have been horrified at the thought, in 1973, of a gift registry, though I certainly would have appreciated the practicality. But it would have seemed the height of ungraciousness to me (and to guests of preceding generations as well). I think a few young friends just recycled some pretty bad gifts from their own registry-free weddings, which I gave to Goodwill rather than considering what would have been for me the embarrassment (not that I faulted those friends) of doing any such re-gifting myself.

    Of course, my marriage to your dad was arranged so quickly—in five weeks—once your dad accepted his new overseas job that there was no consideration given to having a shower (and my two sisters were my only attendants). Thanks to fraternity brothers and friends of your dad’s who were able to perform the duties of minister/officiant (newly ordained and performing his first wedding), organist, soloist, photographer, bartender, and procurer of a band when the one I had found backed out—and the efforts and financial contributions of your grandparents, it was still a large and memorable affair. I was so thankful to have your grandfather walk me down the aisle as the physical support was so helpful! I was so nervous about the risk I was taking even though my dreams (literally dreams at night) and a psychic experience you remember my telling you about all indicated I was on the right path. You risked a move to New York, but I risked an even more uncertain move to Okinawa only 18 months after returning from five months of study in more familiar Europe with the vow that I would not venture so far from home for so long ever again (separated at Thanksgiving and Christmas from extended family!)! Your dad remembers me trembling while I stood at the altar; actually, I was swaying back and forth uncontrollably—though no one else apparently noticed—as if at shotgun or arranged nuptials! But here we are forty-six years and ten days later, with forty of those years spent abroad, and I still consider myself to have had a lucky life!”

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    • Guy Friday

      Guy Friday July 31, 2019, 7:09 am

      I totally forgot about the cake thing. My wife and I nixed that IMMEDIATELY. I loved my wife’s immediate response to my SIL when she suggested we do it: “I’m spending $X on a dress I plan on keeping for the rest of my life and maybe handing down to my kids, a dress I’m going to be wearing for hundreds of pictures that night, and you want me to deliberately do something to possibly ruin it? Are you insane?” 🙂

      Also, I think it’s interesting to see how different traditions are viewed differently by different people. I had my grandparents walk me down the aisle because I was nervous too, and just having my grandparents — who were basically my models for what marriage should be like (63 years and counting!) — walking next to me as I walked down what felt like a mile of aisle into this huge next chapter of my life gave me this feeling of peace. Then again, I’m male, so I’m obviously coming at it from a different perspective than the bride being handed from father to husband situation.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy July 31, 2019, 8:06 am

        I think it’s sweet when a couple (parents or grandparents) walk a bride or, especially, a groom down the aisle.

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        SpaceySteph July 31, 2019, 12:41 pm

        We also had a couple escort us each down the aisle– we each had our parents. My in-laws are Catholic and their other 2 kids had catholic weddings already, so my MIL was really tickled to get to participate in the processional like that.

        My husband’s brother used one of the less-common Catholic entrance styles which is for the bride and groom to walk in together. I like that one a lot, too!

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    csp July 31, 2019, 8:49 am

    So I love Bridal Showers.

    There, I said it. I love Baby Showers too.

    I think it is a wonderful welcome to being a wife/mother, from all the women in your life. Now, I was not established and needed all sorts of home items. But it was so nice to have the women I love come together. Also, there are traditions that are passed down and stories. Maybe I am just sappy, but I remember other things that happened at showers like at my sister’s shower, my aunt gave her baking sheets and recipe cards in my grandfather’s handwriting. He always made Christmas cookies and had passed away the year before. Or I was surprised at my shower when three of my aunts flew in just for the event. I love the family time.

    With baby showers, I love seeing the hand knit blankets, and the well wishes for a wonderful and scary time. I think there are so few times that we pause and come together and really just spend time showing each other we care. I just love it.

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      bondgirl July 31, 2019, 11:01 am

      Not gonna lie, I also love baby showers. I can NOT get enough of all the adorable clothes, toys, blankets, and other accessories that are gifted to the mommy to be. I recently attended a unicorn themed baby shower for my best friend, and I thought I’d explode from all the insanely adorable unicorn themed outfits (she had a girl). And as someone who hopes to eventually have children, it’s nice to see what kinds of things are most useful to have.

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    • Moneypenny

      Moneypenny July 31, 2019, 12:20 pm

      To be honest, I don’t mind showers (baby or wedding) either! In my experience they are times that I get to see my extended family, who I don’t usually see often, so it’s pretty nice. And I do like to see what people get for gifts. I draw a line at games though. I HATE the games.

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      Vathena July 31, 2019, 12:32 pm

      I don’t love showers, but I feel this way about weddings. I’ve never been to a wedding and had a bad time. They are usually a blast, and especially when you are close to at least one of the people getting married. I am already looking forward to our nephew’s wedding next summer, because I will get to hang out with my awesome in-law clan and DANCE! When we were going through the years of our peer group getting married, it was a great excuse to hang out and catch up with people we hadn’t seen in awhile. There’s food, drinks, love, and I get to dress up all fancy – good times. When we ourselves got married, we briefly considered just going to the courthouse – but when else in your life will most of the people you love all show up to one big party? (Sadly, it’s not yet as customary for people to gather like that for a birthday or graduation!)

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      csp August 1, 2019, 12:36 pm

      I am so glad I am not alone. And now I want a unicorn baby shower @bondgirl. @moneypenny – I agree games can be cheesy. I do like present bingo. I have strong opinions that cake should be served before presents get opened. I also think opening presents should be quick and organized. @vathena – I love that about weddings too. You sit with family or friends and catch up. I think there are always sweet moments where people say the nicest things. I just love it.

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    _s_ July 31, 2019, 2:15 pm

    Let’s get rid of all the patriarchal stuff: groom saunters in alone, bride is “given away” by dad; bride’s family expected to pay for the wedding; wife vows to “obey” (I assume folks don’t do that in this day and age, but just in case); bride changing last name; etc.

    Beyond that, my pet peeve is being left hanging with NOTHING to do between the ceremony and reception while you take a million pictures for a hour or two. Get as many shots done before the ceremony as you can, and then during the gap, especially if you know it’s still gonna take a while – have cocktails and some roaming guitarists or some snacks or SOMEthing – it doesn’t have to be expensive, hell, just go to the dollar store and get some dumb props and set up a “photo booth” in one corner for people to take goofy photos with the photographer (or on their phones if you don’t have a photog).

    Also totally agree whoever said the cake face smash needs to go – UGH.

    Totally disagree with those who hate registries and honeymoon funds. These days people marry later and have lived together and already have most of the “household” stuff they need. As someone who’s gotten her fair share of well-meant but unneeded/unwanted gifts, I absolutely want to know what you do need or want so I can get you it. And if you don’t need random shit I totally understand because neither do I, and I would love to go online and contribute to your honeyfund rather than writing you a check as a gift that you then have to mess with depositing (so you can use it for your honeymoon anyway). Hell, do both – a small list of “I wants” on a registry for the people (aka older relatives) who just HAVE to get you a physical present, and the honeyfund for the rest of us.

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      _s_ July 31, 2019, 2:20 pm

      ETA: LOL, just realized your photog would be with you so they couldn’t do the “booth” photos, but people could still do them on their phones and send to you, or you could get cheap disposables (or if the photog has an assistant, they could stay and do the goofy photos). Point being, don’t just leave your guests hanging for ages in a hellscape of boredom while you do photos!

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      Allornone July 31, 2019, 2:26 pm

      I agree with you on honeymoon funds. My cousin set one up through a company that does this where you could buy individual honeymoon experiences at their destination (like a snorkeling session or meal for two, etc.) at various price points, so it wasn’t just “give us money for the trip.” I loved it. She had already been living with her groom, so they had everything they needed for the household, and with the way she set it up, I could actually see what part of the trip (and which memories) my gift was providing. Since I couldn’t actually go to the wedding, it was nice to somehow be a part of the experience.

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      bondgirl August 1, 2019, 9:47 am

      Also not a fan of all the down time between the ceremony and reception….one wedding I went to we had like 3 hours inbetween and ended up getting bored waiting in our hotel room waiting to go to the reception.

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    K July 31, 2019, 2:46 pm

    I won’t be doing a bouquet toss. There’s only a few single women attending, most of my friends are married. I don’t think I’ve seen the garter toss happen more than at one or two weddings. I also don’t think I’ve ever seen the dollar dance, so it must not be a thing in my area.

    I just had my shower this past weekend. Sorry if any of my guests hated it, but they didn’t have to attend. My mom would’ve been really sad if I told her I didn’t want a shower. It was overwhelming but very nice to have friends and family show up and all be in one room. I’m 35, so I’ve been to tons of showers, both bridal and baby, and it felt weird to be on the receiving end of the shower!

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    allathian August 1, 2019, 7:21 am

    We don’t have the wedding or baby shower tradition here, thank goodness. I’ve been to quite a number of bachelorette parties, and all of them have been fun, but then, bachelorette parties here only include friends of the bride, sometimes sisters (SILs only if they’re included in the wedding party) but never any other relatives.

    Thank goodness the tradition here is for the bride and groom to walk down the aisle together. Much as I love my dad, I wouldn’t have wanted him to walk me down the aisle, even if we had had a formal wedding. Is the reason why this is still so popular due to the stupid idea of it being bad luck for the marriage if the groom catches a glimpse of the dress before he’s standing at the altar and she’s walking down the aisle?

    Thanks to not having that tradition, here wedding photos are almost without exception taken before the wedding. I’ve only been at one wedding where the photos were taken at the wedding itself, and that was on the church steps while the guests threw rice at the couple. It literally took no more than five minutes, and the picture was fantastic.

    I think most traditions to do with weddings are rather silly. Here it’s very popular to stage a “stealing away of the bride”, where the groom has to do silly things like answer questions about the bride (what’s your wife’s favorite color being a typical example) to get her back.

    I’ve been to a few receptions where there were so many interminable speeches that the guests couldn’t talk with each other much at all. What’s worse, the food grew cold on our plates, because it’s very bad manners to eat while listening to a speech, at least here. A great way to handle this is to announce beforehand and at the reception that speeches must be a set length (say 3 minutes or shorter), and the best man or MoH acts as MC to ensure that the limit isn’t exceeded by too much. I’ve been at two weddings where the speeches were bad or worse, in one case, the bride’s father described her life from the time she was carried home from the hospital as a newborn, it took 45 minutes (!). Luckily he was a kind man who obviously loved his daughter very much and he didn’t humiliate her in public. She had a glowing, genuine smile on her face the whole time. Unlike another father, who basically spent five minutes talking shit about his daughter, humiliating her in public and saying that she wasn’t good enough for any man, never mind the man who had just married her. He was a horrible man. (He was an alcoholic and had been drinking all day. I heard later that he had a hip flask in church!) She sat there mortified, until finally the groom and best man got up and dragged him out of the reception by force. Finally, cops had to be called to get him to shut up, they arrested him for making a public nuisance. That was 15 years ago, and she’s cut off all contact because he ruined her big day.

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      LisforLeslie August 1, 2019, 12:04 pm

      The dad walking a daughter down the aisle is an archaic throw back to the patriarchy. The father is literally giving the daughter to the husband. In ye olden times the husband had paid the father for the bride. There are biblical passages about how much livestock a good wife is worth. The groom has bought and paid for a wife, the father is delivering her.

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      K August 2, 2019, 9:05 am

      My dad will be walking me down the aisle but I don’t see it as him “giving me away”. He’s one of my best friends and I want to share that moment with him. My fiance didn’t ask for his permission before marrying me, and my dad won’t be “giving me away”. I know what the tradition stems from, but it doesn’t have any of that meaning for me. (Obviously!)

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    bondgirl August 1, 2019, 9:54 am

    I went to my first traditional Jewish wedding recently and discovered that depending on the couple, they will actually hold cocktail hour BEFORE the ceremony since there are certain religious traditions performed. I’m not sure why this hasn’t caught on main stream, but doing cocktail hour before the ceremony was the best thing ever. I was able to eat something first and then spend the ceremony digesting. By the time that was over, it was time for dinner! And due to kosher meal practices, we had plenty of time to digest before dessert was brought out. It was awesome and felt like I could really enjoy all the food.

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    keyblade August 1, 2019, 1:34 pm

    I personally think the ring ceremony is kind of silly. I love gemstones but I hate the tradition that men need to save a certain percentage of their salary for what is all symbolism, anyway. I like referencing tradition for the sake of having an idea how to structure and plan. I dislike having several events associated with a single wedding. I think whenever it crosses a line to feeling like competitive entertaining, I start getting uncomfortable.

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      LisforLeslie August 1, 2019, 6:09 pm

      The cost isn’t tradition, it’s marketing. Diamond sellers came up with how much a man should spend on a ring. And not for nothing but giving an expensive ring is mired in the same “dowry” or payment as giving livestock. In this case it goes to the woman not the husband but mostly to prove that one can support a wife and visibly claim the woman.

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    allathian August 2, 2019, 4:14 am

    It used to be, at least in some places, traditional for the woman to keep the engagement ring if her fiance got cold feet. She could then sell it and live a while on the money.

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    Beep Beep August 2, 2019, 9:10 am

    I got married in January 2019, my non-husband and I are both “older”, think 50’s and 40’s. We had both been married before and that might have played into the dynamics. Even being older and this being a second marriage, I found it surprisingly hard to shrug off the constant stream of “you should” “you have to” or faux gasps of horror “you aren’t going to change your name????”

    My sincere wish for couples getting married is: I hope you have the wedding you want and your family/friends are gracious about it. Having said that: one recent trend that bothers me about weddings is the notion the bride and groom are stars of some sort of grand production. A wedding reception at its heart is an act of hospitality, the bride and groom are hosting a party for their guests.

    A bit about my wedding: 40 guests. 1 MOH and 1 Best Man, no other members in the wedding party. We rented out a grand house in a resort town near where we live and hired in a catering company and someone to clean/attend to the bathrooms. The entire wedding was held in the house. Rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception. Best of all renting the house allowed for my family to stay with me a few days leading up to the wedding, which was one of the best parts of the whole wedding experience. I highly recommend it.

    The wedding was held at 2:00 in the afternoon and heavy elegant hors d’oeuvres were served around a crackling fire while flurries of snow danced outside. We choose to hold a “champagne reception” meaning we only served champagne and sparkling water and coffee. The photos look beautiful with guests holding their champagne flutes. Most everyone was gone by 6:00 and my new husband and I spent the evening eating leftovers and lingering by the fire in our newlywed happiness.

    Traditions we did without: My husband saw me in my dress ahead of the ceremony so we could get pictures before guests arrived. Speaking of the dress, I did not go to a bridal salon for my dress, I bought it off of Amazon and wore my late mother’s veil. We did not get married in a church, although the service was ministered by clergy of the Methodist Church. We did not have a large bridal party, only 1 attendant for each. My late father, obviously wasn’t available to walk me down the aisle, so my brother did. I did not change my name (he didn’t either). We didn’t register for gifts. No bouquet toss (I gave my bouquet to my grandmother, who was very touched). No garter toss. No favors. No sparkler exit, etc. And… most of all, no regrets.

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    d2 August 2, 2019, 4:41 pm

    In the most recent wedding receptions I have attended, the bouquet/garter catch was made by youngsters. Some 6-10 year old makes an enthusiastic dive to make the grab, while the adults are standing there looking like “oh my god, I hope that thing doesn’t come near me”.

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