8 New American Wedding Traditions

Today’s couples are very different from decades gone by. Between soaring student debt, the dream of home ownership feeling evermore distant, same-gender marriages, 2nd (sometimes 3rds or more) weddings, and the introduction of new technology, wedding traditions are shifting.

New wedding traditions are being introduced, some traditions are evolving, and some wedding traditions and customs will stick around for a very long time. Read along to see where we are these days.

1. Going Digital

These days is tremendously easy to build a website and connect all of your guests to social media. One of the cooler modern wedding traditions is organizing everything online.

Couples are creating wedding websites, and it’s making things a lot easier. Guests can check in from time to time to make sure they’re completely in the loop with venue and menu details, times, registries, and every other bit of information that needs to be shared.

Beyond that, hashtags and wedding-specific apps are being used so that it’s tremendously easy for guests to share their pics and create virtual wedding photo albums.

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 2. Entertainment

Another new wedding tradition is to focus on guests. Budgets are being redirected towards guest entertainment. This is as simple as oversized wedding tradition games like giant Jenga, something a little more elaborate like a fireworks display after the sun goes down, or something over the top like a hot air balloon ride.

A short while ago the bride and groom’s goal was to throw the party they’ve been dreaming about since they were kids. Today couple’s primary goal is to show guests a night they’ll never forget.

3. Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties

Some wedding day traditions that have changed drastically over the past few years are the parties that occur prior to the ceremony and reception.

Many couples are choosing co-parties where the bachelorette and bachelor celebrate together. The entertainment is tame and family-friendly.

Even when they choose to celebrate separately, it’s no longer viewed as the “last day as a free man”. Rather, parties are viewed as a celebration focused on comradery. Grooms are skipping the strippers and opting for white water rafting, paintball, murder mystery dinners, and other such thrillseeking adventures.

4. The getaway

There’s actually no scientific proof behind this marriage tradition changing, but couples rarely throw rice at weddings anymore. There’s an urban legend stating that rice is bad for the birds and make them sick. The reality is more likely that it’s a nightmare to clean up afterward. Usually, this is replaced by confetti, which is much more photo-friendly.

Other things seem to be on their way out as well, like the garter belt wedding tradition and the throwing of the bouquet. Most experts speculate that this is due to budget, but our experience is that couples simply want more time to dance.

5. Budgeting

One fairly significant wedding reception traditions that dropped off very quickly is who pays for the wedding. Traditionally the bride’s parents were expected to foot the bill for the majority of the events while the groom’s parents were expected to cover travel, the honeymoon, and a few other essentials. The total figure can add up quickly especially if the newlyweds are aiming at some of the top European honeymoon destinations.

With today’s modern families and very-different social structures, things aren’t so simple. Many couples are paying their own way, and others try to divide the costs among the family as best they can.

One thing that is compensating for this is the shift in wedding registries. Newlyweds used to ask for useful household items to give them a running start to build their new home and family. Today, many couples already have a home and all the stuff they need and are opting to ask for cash to cover the costs of their wedding and/or honeymoon. Sometimes this is delivered in an envelope or – more often these days – delivered through their website or wedding app. This has become very normal and very acceptable.

6. Hi-Tech

These wedding ceremony ritual ideas are new, exciting, and guaranteed to be improved as time goes by. New technology like VR and drones is drastically changing the marriage landscape. Drones – for example – are delivering photoshoot results that you’d only be able to dream about a few years ago. Virtual reality is making entertainment, mainly photobooths, much more engaging and memorable.

On the decor side of things, technology is enabling party and wedding planners to do wonders with their space thanks to digital renders and new materials like LED lighting and 3D printing.

We’ll have to keep an eye on this category and keep you posted as things evolve.

7. Wedding Favors

As mentioned earlier, the budget concern is real. Many couples are happy to spend money on experiences but are wise enough to cut corners on non-essentials. Wedding favors are pretty high up on the chopping block. The guests we’ve asked about this appreciate the effort that goes into entertainment and the overall experience and don’t seem to mind missing out on a wedding favor at all.

When couples do choose to include a gift for their guests, it’s usually a DIY project – like homemade wine with a custom label – that has more sentimental value.

8. Open Bar

One of the biggest costs a couple can cut is an open bar – we all know how much uncle Norman can drink in an evening.

Replacing this is one of the hottest love traditions that we highly endorse – the signature cocktail. Couples are coming up with their own mixed that tells the story of their personalities and relationship.

We all know how stressful the wedding planning process can be. We see a lot of couples indulging in a weekend end and attending mixology classes to not only relax and reset but to determine which mix of spirits they’ll be serving.


It’s a scary thing when traditions change, some people feel like we’re losing something sacred. But, as far as we can tell, the reception has been fantastic. Not only have meanings behind the traditions remained intact, but newer wedding traditions are also introducing a whole new world of sentiment and enjoyment.