Have you ever been at a wedding and experienced an awkward moment? Sometimes these awkward moments are unplanned, like the officiant yelling at the photographer, one of your bridesmaids passing out, or your entire bridal party falling in a lake. It’s often the unexpected and hilarious things that happen at weddings that make for the best memories of the day, but not every uncomfortable matrimonial moment is fun — or unplanned. Below are listed some of the awkward wedding traditions and trends that brides and grooms include in their festivities simply because most people do, plus some ways to tweak them so they’re less cringe-worthy or advice to avoid them altogether:
The "Objection" Moment 1 of 8
If life were like the movies, every time an officiant said the phrase, "Speak now or forever hold your peace," someone would jump in and stop the wedding. But in real life, no one ever does that, but why provide some goon (like me) the opportunity to even jokingly object to a decision you've thought long and hard about? (You have thought long and hard about getting married, haven't you??) During that pregnant pause, I'm always waiting for someone to say something stupid, all while forcing myself not to.
A Religious Ceremony Where No One Knows How to Participate 2 of 8
If you're having a religious wedding but your friends and family aren't terribly observant or come from various backgrounds, be sure to have a program that guests can easily follow along with so that they know what to say and when. Even if most of your guests were culturally raised in the same faith you were but have stopped practicing or never really practiced (I'm looking at you, Catholics), provide them with a guide. You'd be surprised how many people forget the flow of the service over the years, and it's awkward to sit in a silent church during a wedding.
Choreographed Dances for the Bridal Party 3 of 8
Just because they're big on YouTube doesn't mean you and your bridal party should feel forced to dance when you enter the service or reception. If you're good dancers and/or you want to dance, so be it. But it's awkward to watch people dance in front of a big crowd who are only doing it because they feel like they have to be trendy. You don't even have to announce the entrance of the bridal party or the couple at the reception! Instead, there are other ways to draw attention to the special people at your wedding, like via speeches, readings, music, the slow dances that usually start a reception, etc. Don't feel like you have to do things at your wedding just because they're typically done.
The Bride and Groom Feeding Each Other Cake with Their Hands 4 of 8
This is such a tense moment at every wedding. IS ONE OF THEM GOING TO SHOVE THE CAKE IN THE OTHER'S FACE? Oh God, please don't let them smash cake in each others' faces. LOOK AT HOW NERVOUS THE BRIDE LOOKS. She can't relax. Has she married a boob??? No. Whew. Cool. BUT WAIT, IS THE BRIDE GOING TO SMASH CAKE IN HER HUSBAND'S FACE? If you must make a moment of cutting the cake, simply cut a piece of cake, put it on a plate, and eat it at your table with a fork. Or feed each other at the cake station with a fork. None of this finger food business.
Washing of the Feet 5 of 8
Okay, this one is kind of left field, and I've only seen it done at one wedding, which is one of the reasons why it felt so awkward to watch. But yes, the bride and groom washed each others' feet ... for Jesus. Is this commonly done at evangelical weddings? My friend had only recently become born-again, so those of us who had been in her life for years were a bit shocked at seeing such a weird religious rite at a reception. Her groom also took it upon himself to give my infant daughter a forehead blessing, so ... it was definitely a memorable wedding!
Group Dances 6 of 8
When I was a little kid (in my flower girl phase), you did the Hokey Pokey and you turned yourself around at every wedding you went to. Over time, the Hokey Pokey fell out of favor, only to be replaced by the Electric Slide and the Macarena. Every once in a while, a DJ will still trot the ol' slide out at a wedding, so if you don't want it on your playlist, be sure to let him or her know ahead of time. Lots of DJs pass out props, too, so if you don't want to deal with those, it's best to ask about the prop situation beforehand. I told my wedding DJ no group dances, and we did karaoke instead (since there were lots of legit singers there), but I had no idea he was going to ask guests to wear Rasta hats with dreadlocks underneath! #AWKWARD The exception to the no group dances rule would be any religious/cultural dances, like the Hora.
Tapping Glasses to Make the Couple Kiss 7 of 8
In a way, the bride and groom can't control whether or not this happens at their wedding, because unless you supply your guests with plastic cups (you think Miley Cyrus and her ex-fiance broke up over a plastic cup dispute? "I want red cups and sweaty bodies everywhere!"), your guests can find a way to tap their glasses, urging you to kiss. Some brides actually provide their guests with bells for the express purpose of demanding that the couple kiss, but if you don't want to be forced to kiss all night, just don't respond to the crowd's first clamoring -- they'll get the picture and stop soon enough.
The Garter Removal 8 of 8
I don't mind being a single lady on the dance floor trying to catch a bouquet to the tune of "Single Ladies." I wouldn't even mind being forced to dance with a stranger who caught the garter if I caught the bouquet, because you never know when you might make a love match! But I feel like it is never not awkward to watch the groom looking like he's giving his bride a gyno exam on the dance floor just to get the garter off her leg. It doesn't help that this moment usually happens when everyone is drunk and the couple is super ready to consummate their marriage, which can lead to a lot of dry/air humping. At my own wedding, I almost had a massive wardrobe malfunction during this moment, and there's a picture of me with the top half of my boobs hanging out of my dress while the bottom half was being rifled through. Class. Either use a stunt garter for this part or wait 'til you get to the hotel room to get your sexy party started.