As a single wedding photographer, I am always asked what traditions I want to have at my future wedding, and what traditions I do not want to do at my wedding. Lucky for me, I’ve been able to attend so many incredible weddings. And at each one, there has been a special moment unique to the couple and their families. It was so hard to narrow down the list of my favorite wedding traditions to only 10, but here they are!
1. Private last dance.
While friends & family were getting lined up for the sparkler exit, the Fairwells had a last dance at their reception without any audience. I snuck a few photos and then let the couple enjoy their song, but you could feel the love in the room. Not one of us had dry eyes! Such a fun way to end their wedding festivities and start their lives together as husband and wife!
2. Share stories about the bride and groom.
Very few people at a wedding reception actually know both the bride and groom. And even less know all of the fun particulars about how they met and fell in love. I loved that during the Berryhill’s reception, the couples’ good friends (who also helped get the couple together) shared their story with pictures, a timeline, and details about who had made the most accurate predictions regarding when the couple would start dating, get engaged, and officially be married. Such a fun way for everyone to get to know the bride and groom’s story!
3. The bride and groom performed a song together.
Music is very important to Sophia & Jake Jensen! The couple even started their own band together. At their reception, the bride and groom performed a song they had written together, which included the sweetest lyrics about when they met at their apartment complex in Provo, Utah. “When we’d meet, little did we know we’d be leaving to make a home, we’d be leaving but not alone.” I absolutely loved photographing this special moment as their family and friends danced to the music.
4. Chick-fil-A lunch for the bride and groom.
Couples often forget to set aside time to eat in between all of their wedding-day festivities. Nobody likes partying on an empty stomach! The Warners thought of this and prioritized getting lunch at their favorite spot, Chick-fil-A. Major bonus, Chick-fil-A didn’t even charge the couple for their food!
5. Have a slideshow playing while the bride and groom are dancing.
Have you ever been at a wedding and watched the dances? You know, the father/daughter, mother/son, and bride/groom dances? It is always one of my favorite moments at a wedding, but couples often feel stressed about having that much attention on them for 10+ minutes. So, I LOVED when Rylie and Preston Tiffany had a slideshow of pictures playing during each of these three significant dances! With each slideshow featuring the two that were dancing together. There was not a single dry eye in the room!
6. Share the father/daughter dance with the bride’s brothers.
Yes, this is another of my favorite wedding traditions from the Warner’s wedding! It was just such a good one. I loved that Beka shared her first dance with her dad with each of her four brothers!
7. The bride wears her grandmother’s wedding dress.
McKenzee Robinson was so stunning in her gorgeous custom wedding gown, which had actually belonged to her grandmother who had passed away just a few years earlier. She had been very close to her, and as a young girl, McKenzee would try on the dress whenever she visited her grandma. McKenzee told her, “This is going to be mine someday when I get married!” It was so special for her to have something on her wedding day that that belonged to her grandma. Betsy Couture redesigned the dress to make it more modern, keeping all of the original lace and adding some new tulle to create the soft, flowy skirt. Betsy works serious wonders on all of her gowns! The long, beautiful train was even completely removable. Such an awesome function!
8. Have llamas at the wedding.
Obviously, this had to make the list since these two llamas were the best wedding guests and best prop for a photo booth! Peru holds a very special place in the hearts of Pedro and Jackie Chipana, so they wanted to include a piece of the country at their wedding. Of course the llamas were a huge hit!!
9. Have photos everywhere.
Call me biased, but I am always surprised by how few photos there are on display at receptions. Especially when the couple’s engagement and bridal photos are so beautiful! It’s the only day you get to show your photos to all of your friends and family. Plus, printing them for your reception gives you a head start on decorating your home! I loved how the Nelsons created a photo display out of a swing set. It was an affordable and beautiful way to decorate the space!
10. Play the shoe game.
Another one of these favorite wedding traditions I’ve seen multiple times is the shoe game! The bride and groom each hold one of their own shoes and one of their spouse’s shoes. Then, they raise a shoe after each question to display who that question describes. You can learn more about how to play the game here. This is a really fun and funny way to get to know more about the couple!
Weddings are full of traditions! But my advice to couples is to choose at least one thing that is important to their relationship and story, whether that be a food they both enjoy, something they love to do together, how they met, or something that is important to their families. Then, incorporate this special thing into their wedding so they can share with their friends and family. I can’t wait for my future wedding so I incorporate all of my favorite wedding traditions I have seen while photographing weddings!