When Traditional Becomes Unpractical: A Guide to Modern Weddings

Throughout our years hosting and DJing weddings one of the biggest challenges we face week in and week out is how do we help our brides and grooms enjoy their wedding to the fullest?  Our job as DJs and hosts is to make sure that timelines are met, everyone is on the same page throughout the night and of course keep the dance floor packed.  With all of this planning and preparation we still find that brides and grooms a lot of times are pulled in multiple directions trying to please their guests.  By the end of the night it can look as if they just got done working a 12-hour shift taking complaints at a customer service job.  What ever happened to the bride and groom enjoying their day, partying the night away and creating memories on the one day that’s supposed to be the night they were never supposed to forget?  Could it be that some traditions create a lose-lose situation for both the newlyweds and their guests? We all know that traditions are very important and even expected at most wedding celebrations.  Many of these traditions go off without a hitch, but some of these standing traditions could get in the way of creating the night a couple always dreamed of or even worse, prevent them from even enjoying the day.  By no means are we saying to exclude any and all traditions but taking a closer look to evaluate why you are considering the tradition as part of your day can really help you manage your most precious resource on your wedding day – TIME.  Here are a few traditions we’ve found over the years that can really challenge brides and grooms at their weddings.  At the end of the day if it works for you, it works.  But, if you are thinking about doing something simply because it’s traditional, then maybe consider these factors to make sure they won’t impact things negatively on your day of celebration.

Pictures before the ceremony

Most brides stand firm on the tradition of whether or not they care if the soon to be newlyweds see each other before the ceremony.  There is something special about keeping this tradition in place before the nuptials.  The first time you see each other on your wedding day is a magical moment that you will never forget.  However, these days this event doesn’t have to happen at the church with all of your guests.  Your “First Look” can just as easily take place earlier in the day in a private moment amongst yourselves or with a few close family and friends.  The “First Look” is becoming more and more common with today’s brides and grooms that absolutely love pictures and photography.   Imagine the advantages of taking pictures BEFORE the ceremony.  Now instead of trying to cram all of your pictures in during the cocktail hour (formals, family shots, portraits, fun pics) you can take your time and actually enjoy your time together with family and friends during your photo shoots.  It helps tremendously in making sure you get all the pictures you wanted and a lot of times our brides feel more relaxed and comfortable without the extra pressure of “how much time” looming in the background.   As a bonus – most of the time the couple can join the end of cocktail hour to get some drinks and food and mingle with guests rather than rush to get back and shuffled into the reception.


The Dinner Rounds

The next tradition of concern for almost all brides and grooms is going around to every table to welcome their family and friends.  In today’s wedding world this meet and greet sometimes just doesn’t translate like it used to.  The problem here is two fold.  Our first dilemma, the bride and groom can’t even enjoy their special dinner together “on THEIR wedding day” because they are rushing in fear of not being able to get to every guest.  More times than not, the newlyweds frantically stuff their face with dinner so they can have enough time to visit every table or skip their dinner entirely.  The dinner is one of the biggest costs a bride and groom take on for their wedding day so being able to take some time to enjoy that expense is well deserved.  The second by standard of the table rounds is once again – TIME.  Logistically, this creates a dinner service that is a lot longer.  If you are having an average wedding of 150 guests you will have an average of about 20 tables for your seating.  Even if you spend just 5 minutes at each table, it would take you over an hour and a half to visit each table at your reception.  Let’s be honest, if you divide 5 minutes to talk amongst 8 people at each table this isn’t really the quality time most people want.  With a longer dinner service something will have to be reduced to compensate the time.  Less time to dance quickly becomes an unwanted truth.  If you are looking forward to celebrating the night with family and friends the length of your dinner service will play a crucial role so plan accordingly.


Other options

  • Recessional line at the end of the ceremony – You can talk to all the guests before the reception so you are not sacrificing dance time later to make your rounds


  • Plan on being at your cocktail hour – Catch up with cousins and coworkers or even knock out some of those “I wanna get a picture with you” moments


  • The Bridal Dance, a Polish and Western PA staple – Your guests get a shot and a dance / you get some cash for the honeymoon.


  • The Dinner Meet and Greet  – For a few minutes towards the end of dinner the bride and groom make their way on to the dance floor and the guests can come to them during dinner to chat and congratulate.  A quick hello and a hug and the guests are now coming.

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