Old-School Wedding Etiquette – What’s Timeless and What’s Outdated?

Tips & Guidance | By:cocomelody

Weddings are rich with tradition. But, many of the traditions which a bride and groom may include in their own wedding are there because “it’s the way things have always been”, rather than because they specifically want those elements as part of their special day.

Take a look at four of the most common wedding traditions, as we answer the question: which time-honored wedding traditions are timeless and which are outdated?

Old-School Wedding Etiquette – What’s Timeless and What’s Outdated?

1. White wedding gowns

This tradition does not date as far back as many people think. It was Queen Victoria who started the craze for white wedding gowns. Before that, most brides simply wore their best dress or a new gown in their favorite color. The white wedding dress has taken on many connotations, especially as a symbol of the purity of the bride. However, brides today are moving away from white (or ivory) gowns in favor of wedding dresses with either a little color or made entirely in a color like red, blue or pink. So, is this tradition timeless or outdated? Well, according to us, the answer is, yes, it’s kind of outdated.

That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with wearing a white gown. We love it, but you should wear a traditional white ball gown wedding dress ONLY if you really want to. If you want to wear a golden A-line wedding dress instead, by all means, do it! Here are some beautiful ideas for brides considering wearing non-white on their big day: Five gorgeous non-white dress trends for the modern bride.

White wedding gowns

Styles(from left to right): #CW2099 & #CW2097

2. Bridesmaids

Do you know why bridesmaids used to dress in clothing similar to that of the bride’s? To confuse the evil spirits who were believed to be drawn to brides. And bridesmaids today think they have it bad; at least, all they have to ward off is unwanted advances from drunken groomsmen! Today, the tradition of having a bridal party has evolved into choosing to spend your wedding surrounded by your best girlfriends. Not only for support, but to make the wedding planning process more fun along the way. Who doesn’t want her best friends around on one of the most exciting days of her life? So, bridesmaids are definitely a timeless tradition in our books.


Style: #PR3498; Image Credit: Olvera Photography

3. Wedding gifts

There are sure to be lots of presents involved when there’s a wedding in the works. There are bridal shower gifts, wedding presents, gifts from the bride and groom to one another, gifts from the bride and groom to their parents, groomsmen and bridesmaid gifts, and even wedding favors to thank the guests for coming. Whew! Are all these gifts really necessary? Well, yes. The gift-giving traditions surrounding weddings are wonderful. The shower and wedding presents are to help the newlyweds set up their first home. And, the gifts which they give to their parents and bridal party to show appreciation are definitely important.

4. Garter Toss

The garter toss started out because of an old superstition. According to the tradition, grabbing a piece of the bride’s clothing would bring some of her good fortune to the bearer. Naturally, brides got tired of having their gowns ripped apart by their guests after a while. They then started tossing their garters to the crowd instead. The groom got in on the act to prevent any over-eager luck-seekers from trying to go under the bridal gown to retrieve the lucky garter themselves. Today, the garter toss is nothing more than a tacky moment in what should be an elegant affair. The point is no longer about catching the garter for luck. The point is in seeing how far the groom can push the borders of good taste. For that reason, we think that the garter toss belongs on the scrap heap of wedding traditions.

Garter Toss

Style: #h1pn0352; Image Credit: Maile Lani Photography

The last word

Weddings today are designed to celebrate the unique characteristics of the couple exchanging vows and to showcase their personalities. Gone are the days when parents sat and outlined the wedding plans to the bride and groom. With this evolution has come the sentiment “Out with the old and in with the new.” This is a great movement towards a more personalized and intimate affair for the bride and groom. However, not all traditions are outdated. Some stand the test of time because of the memories they create. Of course, at the end of the day, it is and should be completely up to the couple to decide which traditions they’ll follow and which ones should be tossed out with the past.