Talking about revered wedding traditions we’d like to bag got us to talking about newer customs. OK, to be entirely accurate, it got us to talking about newer customs and drinking tequila.
Since many etiquette books and wedding-vet friends are divided on these, we thought we’d weigh in. Yes, the tequila may have had something to do with that decision too.
Clapping at the wedding
Miss Manners and other etiquette experts we trust are on record with the opinion that clapping at a wedding is vulgar. They point out that a wedding isn’t a performance. It’s a bigger deal, so don’t cheapen it.
We agree with them in spirit. And we want to back that up with our actions. But when polled, we agreed that not one of us has been able has resist clapping at a wedding when the other guests have. We don’t know why. We’re moved and happy, and that’s how it comes out. Maybe it’s because we’re not criers.
In the end, while we get the point of not clapping, if your church is OK with it and you’re genuinely moved to do so, it seems pretty harmless. And a little bit silly and fun, which is what our favorite weddings are.
The verdict: Hitch it.
The cake smash
Another unanimous verdict. We all hate it when the newlyweds smear cake all over each others’ faces. Youngchin made a case for what she assumes was the start of this – couples showing that they were nourishing each other body and soul got uncomfortable with the solemnity of that moment and tried to make each other laugh instead.
OK, cool, but that’s not what it’s become. It’s no longer a surprise, which means it’s no longer transgressive or funny. Now that moment is just either kind of gross or very, very tense. Will one member of the happy couple get mad? How mad? Have you heard the stories of new marriages actually breaking up over the cake smash? Because we have. Feed each other one small bite or eat your cake on your own like grownups.
Better yet, save the cake you would have smashed on each other and smear it on ill-behaved children.
The verdict: Ditch it.
Having an emcee
We were divided on this one. People know what happens at a wedding reception. Do you really need a stranger to walk them through it? Especially one who may not have qualms about forcing people to do The Chicken Dance?
Others in the group pointed out that there are times when you need people to stop eating and/or dancing and focus up, you will be busy, and your friends may not be comfortable rocking the mic. If you’re sticking to a rigid schedule at your reception venue, an emcee might be useful. He or she will keep things moving while your guests focus on the fun.
Then again, stranger? Microphone? Chicken Dance?
The verdict: Consider ditching it.
Dollar dances and money trees
Gross. Seriously, gross.
Yes, a lot of new couples could use a little financial help. And, yes, a lot of your loved ones will want to help you out. But your wedding guests should never, ever feel pressured to give you money, or to publicly try to match the amounts given to you by your most generous guests. They’ll have plenty of chances to gift you in private if they’d like to.
And asking your male guests to pay to dance with you? Skeeves us out beyond belief. Will they be tucking the money into your garter or stuffing it into your bodice?
This tradition does, we hear, have some genuine history in Poland and a few other regions of Eastern Europe. Couples who have heritage in that direction and are planning a strictly traditional wedding can be forgiven, but Jeez. If there was ever a time for convenient, specific amnesia, this may be it.
The verdict: Ditch it, with possible genetic special dispensation.
Some people object to unity candles precisely because they’re so new. They get all hot and bothered about the fact that couples seem to like them just because they look cool. Well, why not? Plenty of traditions with hundreds of years behind them got started for reasons that aren’t much better. We like the symbolism and, yeah, they do look cool.
Unless you are having a strict religious ceremony and your officiant objects, we say go for it.
The verdict: Hitch it!
We also said yes to a lot of other things that were definitely the result of the tequila. Maybe you should ditch that for at least a week or two before your wedding.