It’s time to update wedding traditions.

Here’s the thing: Most wedding traditions are outdated and expensive.
I know, I know...I’m a wedding photographer so you’d think I’d be on board with all things wedding. It’s my bread and butter, after all.
But my honestly is why most people love me (at least in my mind) - so here’s why I’m over wedding traditions.

Before we dive into my musings, I do want to mention that if the things I mention below are things you are planning for your own wedding, that doesn’t mean I’m bashing you or don’t want to work with you. I am just hoping to shed some light for people who feel they have to do things a certain way.

P.S. There are some BEAUTIFUL photos after this micro-rant, but at the request of the couples privacy, I made their gallery post a front for something I wanted to talk about. As you scroll through their photos, you’ll see why it’s fitting for me to talk about this.

I’ve worked with so many couples that have the same complaints. Usually, couples feel pressured to do things a certain way. It’s either tradition, a norm in the wedding world, or just expected.

On average, the cost of a wedding is nearly a year’s salary, depending on which part of the country you are in. THAT’S WILD. LIKE, ACTUALLY INSANE.

Think about it: people are equating a year of work to a one-night party. Whaaaaaat?

My responsible, mobile-dwelling brain just doesn’t compute. But the wedding industry makes it seem normal to drop a majority of your savings for a few fleeting moments of bliss. No one should go into debt or live beyond their means to host an outdated traditional party.

So, let’s talk about some wedding traditions that are outdated, expensive, and maybe unnecessary. I hope that this little rant encourages you to ditch old trends, save a buck, and look at a wedding in a new light.

1) You do not need a cake.

I shot so many weddings this year when it came time to the ‘cake-cutting’ the couple looked at me like “what do we do?” I find it strange that it’s expected that couples stand in front of their guests and awkwardly feed each other. Remember: If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Some fun other ideas? Hire an ice cream truck (usually cheaper and WAY MORE FUN) A donut table (trendy, fun, and easy to take home ;) ) J.R.’s Donut Castle in Parkersburg, WV has the best donuts and they are budget friendly. You’re welcome.

2) Do you really need bridesmaids and groomsmen?

Like really think about it. You’re asking your closest friends to spend hundreds of dollars on matching tuxes, dresses, shoes, hair and makeup, just to stand next to you? Plus the flowers and boutonnieres for them aren’t cheap.
Here’s a thought, what if your friends/siblings attended your wedding wearing an outfit they picked out, supported you from their chair, and you still were able to snag a picture with them throughout the night. Not only are you saving yourself money, but their money as well. Plus you save a whole hour of your day (and photography budget) by not posing for bridal party pictures. Score.

3) The good ol’ fashioned bouquet and garter toss.

I hope I don’t offend anyone - please remember this my opinion only. It’s cheesy! The DJ plays “Single Ladies” and it goes one of two ways. The girls claw each other to grab the coveted bouquet (because of course this means they will get married next!!!!) or they all pretend that they do not want to get married and no one grabs, thus falling to the floor awkwardly. Don’t get me started on the garter toss, even more awkward. If this wedding tradition means nothing to you, skip it, and keep partying the night away.

4) Hiding the bride from the groom - what is it, the 1800’s? (Plus, sometimes there’s two brides or two grooms then who can’t see who?? )

Ok…I get it. There’s an appeal to playing the role of the princess bride, waiting for her other half. I’m on both sides of this fence with this one. Most of the time y’all probably live together, get ready together, brush your teeth together, etc. So why not incorporate that into your wedding day? I LOVE when couples get ready together, it’s super real and authentic. And as related to your wedding photography, if you have a first look or get ready together, then that’s less time you have to spend away from your guests (and party) to take couple photos, because you can knock those out before the ceremony and use your photographer’s timeline to your advantage.
However, I had a couple this year open my eyes to the other side a bit. She didn’t want to do a first look and did not want her man to see her before the ceremony, because she wanted his reaction of her coming down the aisle to be authentic. And she was right. I’ll link to that blog post once I get it up and you can see what I mean. But to circle back, either way isn’t wrong or right, I just believe the meaning behind it is outdated. So choose what is best for you, and more meaningful.

5) The White Dress

Why do you have to wear a white dress? This outdated tradition based on purity (ew, David) is a tad strange to me. There is something classic and gorgeous about a white dress...and yes I wore a white dress (I guess I’m a hypocrite?) to my own wedding. But you don’t have to. Wear a red dress or a bless dress. Shoot! Sometimes men marry men and neither of them wear a dress. Honestly, who gives a shit ~ as long as you feel happy and comfortable. That’s what will reflect in your day and photos.

Some final thoughts - Weddings are traditional by nature, so naturally lots of traditions come along with having a wedding. But you don’t have to follow those traditions if they don’t mean anything to you. You can get married however you want, invite whoever you want (no you don’t have to invite your dad’s best friends’ cousin). And do whatever you want. If you’ve been planning your wedding and find yourself listing your wedding to-do list, think about what’s important to you. Skip the things that you don’t really care about and focus on what matters for your wedding day. Lastly, I’m not that great of a writer, so check out this article that puts some of my thoughts a bit more eloquently.

The weddings I resonate with the most are with people who do things however the hell they want to (even if you have a cake, a wedding party, and a garter toss). I find my best creativity in photographing weddings that are intentional and full of meaning. If you feel like you fit that description (or are just really cool and want me to photograph your wedding) click here to submit an inquiry and I’ll be in touch relatively quickly.

follow on instagram