Wedding Traditions We’re Keeping (and which ones we are ditching!)

This past weekend Nick and I were away in the mountains and were shocked when we came to the realization that we’re so close to the day that we have been planning and looking forward to for over nine months. This season of life has been so exciting and we have really enjoyed planning and making memories together during our engagement. With only a month and a half left until our wedding, I thought it would be fun to share the wedding traditions we’re keeping and which ones we are ditching for today’s Wedding Wednesday post!

Wedding traditions vary greatly depending on who you talk to. We knew a lot of the more general traditions, but when we were looking through one of our wedding planners, we realized we weren’t aware of a lot of the “southern” traditions. Southern wedding traditions seem to vary from state to state, but it was fun to learn about new ones. Below are the wedding traditions we plan to include (as well as they ones we are ditching!)


GROOM’S CAKE | We are having a groom’s cake (and I am already in the works of designing it with our baker!) Traditionally it’s displayed and served at the wedding, however since we will have a wedding cake and cupcakes we will be serving ours at our rehearsal dinner! This way the groom’s cake gets its time to shine, too! 🙂

NO FIRST LOOK VS. FIRST LOOK | Traditionally, the bride and groom see each other for the first time when she walks down the aisle. In recent years, a first look has become a new tradition that many couples tend to do. I was kind of on the fence on if I wanted a first look or not. Would it likely help ease my nerves and it would be convenient for the wedding day timeline & photos? Yes. However, Nick and I had a conversation about it and he was just really against a first look. He told me that he wants the first time he sees me to be when the doors open and I walk down the aisle. I mean, how was I gonna complain about that sentiment?!? I actually loved that he spoke up about it and his reasoning behind it made all the sense in the world to me, so we are choosing to NOT do a first look. Will I probably be a crying mess? Definitely. Will seeing him and his reaction when the doors to the church open be a moment we both remember and cherish forever? Absolutely.

TRADITIONAL VOWS VS. WRITTEN VOWS |  When we first got engaged I thought for sure that we would write our own vows and recite them to each other in front of our closest friends & family on our wedding day. After thinking on it for a few months, going to pre-marital counseling at our church, and talking about our ceremony in more detail with our pastor, I did a total 180. If you know me in real life, then you know I am a crier. I cannot tell you how many times I have cried (happy tears!) throughout this wedding planning process. When it came time to discuss if we would write our own vows or use more traditional vows we both agreed that we wanted to go the traditional route. Emotions are going to be running high on our big day. Having the added stress of writing (and saying!) the right thing all while attempting to keep it together and not turn into a giant cry baby in front of 150 people just seemed too much. I think it’s a very personal decision and I think we made the right one. 

THE UNITY CANDLE | This was one tradition that we really wanted to be part of our wedding ceremony. Both of our moms will light one of the single candles before the ceremony. After saying our vows, Nick and I will light the center candle together to symbolize our families coming together as one.

FIRST DANCES | We will be doing a first dance, a father-daughter dance, and a mother-son dance! These are traditions that we know our parents will remember for years to come! To be honest, I’m a bit nervous about dancing in front of so many people haha… guess I need to get over that.

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BORROWED, AND SOMETHING BLUE | This is one of those traditions that I couldn’t not do because it really is so special! I have my something old, something new, and something blue… just need to figure out my something borrowed! I’m waiting to share those until after the big day! 🙂  


GARTER TOSS & BOUQUET TOSS | I personally don’t like the idea of singling out our single friends (there actually aren’t that many “single” people attending our wedding) for this wedding tradition. We are choosing to not have a garter toss (I find this SO awkward haha!) or bouquet toss. Instead, we plan on spending more time with our guests and soaking in every moment with them! 

BURYING THE BOURBON | This tradition derives from the South. They say if you bury an unopened bottle of bourbon as close as you can to where you will say your vows then it won’t rain on your wedding day. Tradition calls for you to do it exactly one month before your wedding day. After the ceremony you’re supposed to dig it up & drink it with your wedding party! While Nick and I love a good bottle of bourbon, we aren’t technically allowed to dig/bury anything on church property. We thought about burying it close by, however, since we won’t have any photos of the two of us until the ceremony/after, we chose to forgo this tradition! We have friends who have done it and the photos turn out super cute though!

VEIL VS. NO VEIL | Wearing a veil is an age old tradition and one that many brides still do to this day! When I pictured myself as a bride, I thought I would 100% wear a veil. I wanted a long chapel length veil. However, that all changed when I chose my dress. I just couldn’t see my dress with a veil. So… instead of attempting to make it work, I’m opting to not wear a veil! I’m looking at it as one less thing to worry about on our wedding day!

I would love to hear of the wedding traditions you chose to keep or ditch on your wedding day! Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

  • comment
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • Stumble
  • Email
  • Leave a Reply



    such a fun post! we didnt do a garter toss because i did not want mike all up under my dress in front of my family haha but we did do the bouquet toss which turned out to be one of my favorite pics from the night! i think as long as you feel comfortable with your choices, you’ll be good to go! can’t wait to see your pictures!!! xoxo, Preeti


      Haha I’m right there with ya, Preeti! One of the reasons we chose not to do the garter toss… #soawkward If we had more than 3 non-married people there I totally would’ve chosen to do the bouquet toss!


    Oh I love this! I hate a garter toss. So awkward. I tossed my bouquet but I did it was tyler and I excited the rehearsal! I found my bff and launched it at her!! We didn’t do a first look either and used traditional vows. I love both of those things. With you on the dances! I’m sure you will be beautiful with or without a veil! I know you are so excited!


      Yessss. the awkwardness of the garter toss just makes me cringe haha! I was SO happy when Nick said he was fine not doing it! I guess it’s also a good thing there aren’t many “single” people that will be attending… we easily got off the hook haha!

      And I am SO excited… we are so close that we’re both ready for it to be here already!


    I love that you are not wearing a veil! I have several conversations with my Mother that turn somewhat ugly about not wearing a veil. Haha. I also have 2 sisters and a brother , he has 1 sister and 2 brothers and they are the only people we want in our wedding party. I have girl friends who were relieved as they have so many upcoming weddings, but surprisingly enough, his manly manly friends were disappointed they weren’t included.


      You know, I really thought I wanted a veil until I chose my dress and then it all went out the window… so maybe when you choose a dress you may change your mind (or your mom will understand your reasoning for NOT wanting one!) I think the most important thing is remembering this isn’t THEIR day, it’s yours and your soon-to-be husbands… and sometimes they may need reminding of that haha 😉

      I also love the sentiment of your wedding party- so sweet. We are including our siblings in our wedding party too!


    I love this! I thought we may do a first look but my husband was the same and insisted we do not do one. We did a first touch! Stood around the corner and spoke for a few to ease nerves and hold hands and it was perfect. Love that you’re doing the grooms cake at rehearsal- such a good idea! We didn’t do garter or bouquet toss either- I actually am not a fan of them in general so why do them?! Haha yay for planning- it is so fun!


      I am SO trying to convince Nick to do what you and your husband did. The only reason I wanted a first look was to ease my nerves…. I can’t seem to get him on board with the non-first look first look thing though haha!


    I was almost exactly the same in terms of traditions to keep and ditch! I loved that the first moment my husband saw me as at the end of the aisle- it made it SO special, and I cherish the pictures of his face as my dad and I are walking toward him. I also loved having the father daughter dance- it was one of my favorite parts. Sounds like your wedding will be perfectly sentimental and beautiful!


      Thank you so much, Emily! I am so so so excited for that first moment we see each other (but I can guarantee I’m going to be a crying mess!) I’m also looking forward to our father-daughter dance. I let my dad choose the song and it ended up being perfect for us 🙂


    I love the unity candle it is so beautiful! I am also always thinking about the pros and cons of the first look! I love that your fiancé spoke up and said what he wanted!


      Yes- I am so excited about the unity candle, such a sentimental tradition! And I’m so glad that Nick spoke up and I think it will make seeing each other for the first time even more special 🙂

    Ruthie Ridley

    Believe it or not we didn’t do a big cake cutting…. we had cupcakes … mainly because we couldn’t afford a cake!! I didn’t mind though we had so much fun dancing all night we were happy to not get interrupted!!


      I’ve personally never been a fan of a large cake (just my personal preference) so we are choosing to do a small cake that will be for us & our family/wedding party and we’re doing assorted cupcakes for the rest of our guests!

    Amanda Faber

    I love that you are making your wedding your own!! I mixed it up for mine as well but I insisted on a cathedral lentght veil 😀 You’re only a bride once!


      Yes, so true! I loved veils, just not with the dress I chose!


    I am so with you on so many of these!! We didn’t do a first look and I didn’t wear a veil. Do whatever makes you two happy and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks!


      So true, Maggie! We have made sure that everything was very much “us” and we didn’t take others opinions too much into consideration!


    Love this kind of post! I agree about the NO first look. I want to have the first look be at the actual ceremony. Also, love the dances idea… I’ll also be having my parents dance together as well as my husband’s parents (if they’re together, too!)

    Such a cute post, beauty bride to be!


      I am trying to get Nick to do a non-first look first look, so that I can at least talk to him without seeing him to ease my nerves (that’s the ONLY reason I wanted a first look haha!) but he’s not getting on board…. yet! haha


    What a fun read, Emily!! A lot of the traditions you are “ditching” I 100% agree with. It can all just become too much trying to fit everything into one ceremony. Can’t wait to see more details of your big day!

    How 2 Wear It []


      thanks lady! We feel really confident in the ones we decided to keep & are at peace with the ones we are choosing to ditch! XO

    Anna English

    This is uch a fun post because I love hearing everyones perspectives!


    I’m not even engaged yet but I also go back and forth on whether I want to do a first look or not! I am interested in knowing after your wedding whether you regret not having one, or if you absolutely loved not having one! xo

    Nicole Leffew

    This was fun to read! I’m also against the first look. I like the excitement of waiting to see each other when you walk down the aisle!

    Sandy a la Mode

    The unity candle is beautiful, I love that! Also I’ve never heard of the bourbon bottle tradition – so cool though! Haha! It’s getting so close, you must be so excited!


    I love this post! While I’m not anywhere close to a wedding, yet, these are fun traditions to hear about! I had never heard of the bourbon thing, but then again, not being from the south, that’s probably why! I love that your fiance was so sweet about his reasoning for not doing the first look! It’ll be such a special thing for both of you!


    Elizabeth McDougal

    I love this post! I think you would really like to do the “first touch.” The wedding goes by so fast so even if you choose not to, try and incorporate some just you and Nick time to just soak everything in. We did do a first touch and read from a journal we had been keeping and also read a verse that had been our focus while being engaged. It helped me calm my nerves so much and in our video I literally say “now I can breathe.” That was the only time we were by ourselves besides the ride over the reception and it was such a sweet moment!