Love ‘em or hate ‘em, these 5 wedding traditions bring people (and their opinions!) out of the woodwork.

There are some very specific things that couples are either all in on. . . or. . . wouldn’t be caught dead having at their wedding, and we’re spilling the tea!

In fact, there’s one in particular that if you post about it on social media, people will divide into one of two camps. They’ll either say, “why would anyone ever do that?” or “OMG that’s great, I’m doing this at my wedding!”

Tune in to find out where we stand together and where we’re a house divided! BUT DON’T FORGET, this is your day! Don’t let anyone talk you into something you don’t want to do or talk you out of something you have your heart set on.

So as we go through the top 5 wedding traditions that get the most debate, remember that your wedding day is a very personal day. The decisions you make should be what you and your partner decided on together. 

Ok, let’s get into them!

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Programs go over the timeline for the day. You can also have the wedding party listed, or have a section for memories, but usually, they just give people an idea of how the day is going to go. 

The people that hate programs usually say that they are a waste. The argument is that they are not worth the money to print them on because no one will take one and they will just get thrown out. 

Those who love programs have found that they can be really handy for a few reasons! Here are a few of our favorite ways to see programs used:

Make the program itself dual purpose:

Some couples attach a stick to their programs so guests can use them as a fan. On a hot day, even if no one reads the program, they are very happy for that fan.

Use them to guide the guests through the day:

During inevitable periods of downtime throughout the day, a program gives guests an idea of what to expect next. Some weddings even have the menu items listed on the program!

Wedding Programs. Top 5 Wedding Traditions that Get the Most Debate! Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?
Photo by Ricardo Moura on Unsplash

Entertain your guests with the program:

They can be used to purely entertain the guests during downtime as well. Recently we saw a program that was just a little 5×7 card that said,  “You’re about to sit through a wedding. Waiting is boring. Here is something for you to read while you pass the time.” It went on to talk about lots of things; their pets, the wedding party, an itinerary. The next section asks for everyone to be unplugged, which is also pretty common. It also had a little game of I Spy they could do while they wait, and then there was a thank you section. 

Make your program a mini-memoir:

Some couples use the program to add cute details about their wedding day that the guests may not have known otherwise. Details such as what the “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” are, or the family heirlooms that have been worked into the day. It’s such a great way to bring attention to those little details that make your day special.  

For more ideas on how to use programs, check out this post

Programs; what do you think, love ‘em or hate ‘em? Let us know in the comments!


Favors are on this list for the same reason that programs are: people think you are putting your money into something the guests won’t value. Which they may or may not. So if you are looking for a way to save a little on the budget, favors are one thing that guests probably won’t miss. 

On the other side, favors can be a really sweet addition to your wedding if you have the desire and budget! (And it can make for a really great personal touch!)

If you do decide to have favors, we recommend doing something edible. Little bags of colored popcorn or candy to end the day can be a very welcome treat for the guests! Make it personal by using a candy or chocolate that is significant to you in some way, even if that significance is just that you both love M&M’s!

Throwing the Bouquet and Garter

The garter tradition is getting less and less popular during weddings because it tends to be an uncomfortable moment for some people. Many brides understandably find it pretty cringe to do that in front of their family and would prefer to skip it. There are brides who are choosing not to throw the bouquet anymore as well, finding it an unnecessary part of the reception; especially if a majority of the guests are already married. 

However, some couples choose to keep the garter tradition because it can be a fun moment for the groom and his friends, and the bride is comfortable with it. Steps can be taken to do it tastefully too. For example, try orienting the chair away from the crowd and not lifting the dress as high. Another unique twist you can try is to put the garter on a nerf football and have some fun with it! 

For the bouquet, if a majority of the guests are married, you could switch it up and just bring all the ladies out to catch it for fun, and a great photo op!

The important thing to remember is that you can choose to do either one or the other, You don’t have to keep or completely cut out both traditions. Do what works for your demographic and personality!

The DJ, and the “Big Three”

Most DJ’s will want to know what’s on your “must play” list and what’s on the “DO NOT play” list. Most people will say they DO NOT want what we like to call, The Big Three, played at their wedding. Those being the Chicken Dance, Macarena, and YMCA.

It’s understandable not to want them played at your wedding. They are seen as cliche and played out to most people. But other than The Big Three, a lot of people vote “no” for all line dances!

Here’s the really crazy thing about these dances though. No matter how many people say they hate them, playing cliche songs at a wedding is guaranteed to get guests out on the dance floor! Against all odds, people will put down their drinks, stop talking, and run to the dance floor at the first notes of the “Cha-Cha Slide”. 

The Big Three, as well as The Cupid Shuffle, the Wobble, etc. are unifiers. They cross generations and cultural differences and are something that allows people to just let go and have fun. If you are ok with that, but still really don’t want to hear them, you can always ask the DJ to play them during a time when you are out of the room (eg: for sunset wedding pictures).

So, love ‘em or hate ‘em, cliche songs are effective from a professional standpoint, but are ultimately your decision. 

Need help choosing music for your wedding? Check out The Wedding Duo Music Planner! An interactive PDF guide WITH song suggestions for every part of your event!

Line Dances. Top 5 Wedding Traditions that Get the Most Debate! Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?
Photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash

Assigned Seating

The final item on our list today, and one that invites very contrasting opinions, is the seating chart.

Some people feel much more prepared when they have the seating organized ahead of time, and others find that it adds chaos instead of mitigating it. 

So what are the pros of having a seating plan?

Creating a seating chart takes away the awkwardness of guests trying to find a place to sit. This is especially helpful for guests who may not know many people at the wedding, such as a plus one of a guest. 

There’s also a chance that not assigning seats will cost you more in tables and decor. For instance, if an odd number of people sit at a table or if more guests show up than you anticipated. Without assigned seating, you need to leave a few extra spaces for that to happen. 

Another benefit is that if you are doing plated meals, a seating plan makes it simple for the staff to know which meal each guest receives since it was all laid out neatly beforehand. 

What are the benefits of open seating?

Having an open seating option allows for a more open flow into the reception space, as opposed to guests getting bottlenecked at the entrance trying to find themselves on the chart. Simply label the tables that are reserved for immediate family and leave the rest open. This prevents guests from ignoring an organized seating plan to, say, drag chairs over to sit with the cousin they haven’t seen in a long time. 

Open seating can still work with plated meals. You can create a place card with each guest’s name on it and a little picture of a chicken, steak, or carrot, depending on which meal they chose. That way the staff can see which meal to set down as they come around. 

Finally, open seating prevents having to play Tetris with the seating chart in the case of any last-minute guest list changes. 

In our jobs, we see about a 60/40 split between the 2 types of seating. Both are entirely doable, and you can even have some fun with them!

Looking for some creative ideas for seating?
Check out this post for some creative ideas on how to seat your guests!

Seating Chart. Top 5 Wedding Traditions that Get the Most Debate! Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?
Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

No matter what decisions you make on your wedding day, there will always be someone with an opinion; especially on social media!

The best thing you can do to create the wedding of your dreams is to just decide what you as a couple want to do and add your personality where you can.

When it comes to these 5 wedding traditions, do you love ‘em or hate ‘em?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Listen (or watch!) the Wedding Duo on:

Or anywhere you listen to podcasts

Connect with us on:

Top 5 Wedding Traditions that Get the Most Debate! Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?

Top 5 Wedding Traditions that Get the Most Debate! Love ‘em or Hate ‘em?



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