It’s easy to get into a rut using only those traditions you’ve actually seen or experienced when in fact, there are lots of wonderful ideas to steal, er borrow….. for your own I Do’s! Explore a few interesting Wedding Traditions You Should Totally Borrow!
We love the use of traditions within the wedding day that tell your guests who you are individually and as a couple, traditions always add meaning, tug at the heartstrings, and add up to memories that last across generations when they’re reflected in your wedding photography. Who knows what other weddings YOU will inspire? We can’t wait to spend your wedding day with you and watch your special moments unfold!
Wedding Traditions You Should Totally Borrow
A signature cocktail has almost become a tradition across the world—- using a signature cocktail for your wedding can mean a color, a flavor, or a whole unique twist on a wedding reception drink! Alcoholic or non-alcoholic, make it YOURS. Ask your wedding planner, wedding venue, or even friends for ideas to make this tradition your own!
From the South: Burying the Bourbon
Do you know this southern tradition of burying the bourbon? Couples bury a bottle of bourbon at their ceremony venue precisely one month before their wedding date so it won’t rain on their day. According to folklore, if you don’t follow this tradition to a T, it may downpour. Sounthern Living says “this must be done exactly one month before the wedding, the bottle must be completely full, and it must be buried upside down to ensure maximum weather persuasion.
Then on the day of—and this, of course, is very important—you’re supposed to dig it up and enjoy with your wedding party during the reception.
Your Personal Twist: Instead of actually burying a bottle of bourbon, we enjoy the tradition of a member of the wedding party gifting the couple with a bottle of their favorite and then keeping it until the wedding day. At that time, they all gather to drink from the bottle and share a special toast.
From New Orleans: The Cake Pull
We love this—- it involves cake so, duh! A New Orleans tradition, cake pulling comes from the antiquated Victorian custom of “ribbon pulling.” The idea was that brides wanted to bestow good luck and fortune on their single friends, so they placed small charms with different meanings in the wedding cake for them. For example, a telephone means that good news is on the way, and a flower means that a new romance will come soon. Now Southern brides usually attach the charms to pieces of ribbon that are pulled out by members of their bridal party before the cake cutting.
There are eight classic charms historically used for ribbon pulls, each with its own meaning. The ring (which indicates the next to get married), the horseshoe or the four-leaf clover (signifying good luck), the telephone (offering good news), the anchor (encouraging hope), the heart (indicating impending love), the thimble or the button (revealing the old maid), and the penny (meaning poverty). While these are the charms used most often, a cake pull can have up to twenty different charms for the various single friends of the bride.
Your Twist: Use this tradition at your rehearsal dinner to enjoy with a smaller crowd. You don’t necessarily need to include this ritual at the wedding itself. Or, have small individual cakes made with ribbonned charms and placed on the couples table.
I bet you’re in for even more Wedding Traditions You Should Totally Borrow! Maybe even a favorite international traditions!
In Germany,couples clean up shards of dishes that their guests have thrown on the ground in the effort to ward off any evil spirits. The lesson of this “Polterabend”: While working together, the couple can face any challenge thrown their way. The belief in the effectiveness of this custom is expressed by the old adage: “Shards bring luck” (German: Scherben bringen Glück). The expression is derived from a time when the word “shard” referred to the unbroken clay pots of pottery makers, and not just the broken pieces. It was said that a full jar was a lucky thing to have, therefore the expression “shards bring luck”.
Your Twist: This one scares us a little, you’re on your own!
Midwest Cookie Table:
Oh man, it’s cookies! We’re all about personal (and yummy cookies!) Pittsburgh couples don’t need an excuse to have a giant assortment of cookies at their wedding—it’s tradition. In fact, it’s more important to have a cookie table at a Pittsburgh reception than a wedding cake. Originating in southwestern Pennsylvania, it’s said that Eastern European, Italian and Greek immigrants in that region wanted to bring a little of their homeland to the US and made lady locks, pizzelles and other treats for wedding receptions. Now the cookies are mostly homemade (by the hundreds) by the couple’s friends and family, and guests look forward to trying all the different varieties.
Your Twist: While all the cookies on your table certainly don’t need to be homemade, you could have a few family members make their favorite cookie or other dessert recipe to showcase the sweets that mean the most—and taste the best—to you. Making the little signs that tell about each treat is one of the fun things you can do to incorporate your theme, and is great to involve the family or wedding party.
From the South: A House Party
While honorary bridesmaids can be a controversial topic, in the South (especially Texas), they’re tradition and called a “house party.” House parties are made up of the bride’s friends and family members, who don’t stand at the altar with the bridesmaids but are assigned other wedding duties, like giving a reading during the ceremony, overseeing the guest book, handing out programs and more.
They’re also included in all bridal festivities, including lunches, showers and the bachelorette party. Jenna Bush Hegar, former President George W. Bush’s daughter, had a 14-person house party for her Texas nuptials. In Jenna’s situation, a house party was a great way to include friends and family without having a humongous bridal party.
Your Twist: Gather friends or family members for a special party to honor them and their place in your life. Assign a special color (like the colors of the bridesmaids dresses) and have them come ready to be celebrated!
College Football Areas: Game Days
For states where college football reigns supreme during fall, like Georgia, Alabama (or others— you know who you are!) – it’s tradition to never set your wedding date on certain Saturdays. EVER. Many couples in football towns consult the schedule before they set their date, or they aim for those bye weeks. Having said that, sometimes weddings win over football!
Your Twist: If your big day is on a big game day—- have a few football themed items, think cake, special cocktails, etc. You might want to have a place near the reception that has a tv—— your football loving guests will be watching on their phones anyway!
Another international tradition that’s fun- The Kransekake
It’s typical at Norwegian weddings to serve a towering special-occasion cake called a “kransekake.” It’s made with iced almond cake rings to form a cone shape, and a wine bottle is often placed in its hollow center. The naturally gluten-free dough is made from processing almonds until finely ground, then confectioners’ sugar and egg whites are added to bind it together. After an overnight rest, the dough is rolled into ropes and fitted into specialty molds. Once baked, the rings are stacked sky-high and kept in place with royal icing, which pulls double duty as both glue and garnish.
Your Twist: Decorate this show stopping cake in your wedding colors— or add other elements to truly make it yours!
From the American South: A Groom’s Cake
Even if you’re not from the South, there’s no reason why the groom can’t have a cake of his own and MANY weddings all over the country celebrate the groom with cake. While the groom’s cake started in the South as a hold over tradition from Victorian England, the cake today usually bears no resemblance to it’s fruit cake origins. (thankfully!)
Your Twist: We haven’t met a groom yet who doesn’t love having his own cake. Get him involved and with your cakery come up with the perfect sweet treat decorated just as he pleases!
From India, the”Joota Chupai”
In this fun Indian tradition, the bride’s mischievous sisters and female cousins make off with the groom’s shoes and demand ransom money for their safe return. Normally this follows the centuries old Baraat ceremony.
Your Twist: We are not going to suggest anything! Something tells us that you don’t need any ideas to make mischief! (But please tell us because we want to know everything!)
Tony Abbott is a wedding expert and author of several popular books on wedding planning, including “The Ultimate Wedding Checklist” and “Wedding Day Tips and Tricks.” With over a decade of experience in the wedding industry, Tony Abbott has helped countless couples plan their dream weddings with ease and joy. Her writing style is warm and engaging, and her advice is always practical and actionable.