Weddings are glorious occasions full of love, laughter and tears.

But they also have their baggage.

Including weird wedding traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Along with the inevitable awkward moments that come from throwing a bunch of near strangers into a room together with a certain amount of pomp and circumstance combined with cheap booze and good tunes.

So here are my top 5 crinegeworthy wedding moments and how to avoid them (if you want to, that is):

1. The Tossing Of The Garter

blue ribbon garter

Tec Petaja via Once Wed

Recently I was scrolling through a selection of beautiful wedding images on a photographer's blog when something stopped me in my tracks ~ it was a 'garter' shot.

It wasn't a shot of the bride coyly lifting up her skirts to give a glimpse of her garter but the other kind of garter shot...

The bride was sat on a chair, legs akimbo while the groom attempted to take her garter off with his teeth.The groom's head was so far up her skirt it looked obscene!

What a bizarre tradition. (Read up on the somewhat sordid history behind it here.)

How To Avoid The Cringe ~ Have your new husband take your garter off in the privacy of your honeymoon suite. If you really want to include a garter toss, ask your groom to use his hands as opposed to his teeth. Let's keep it classy, folks!

2. The Receiving Line

Yes, it's an ego trip for any bride to hear 'you look beautiful' 100 times but this formal, outdated tradition eats into your special day leaving less time for 'real conversations' (albeit quick ones) with your guests.

vintage wedding receiving line

via June and Art (A charming blog for vintage romantics documenting a courtship in the 40s/early 50s)

Speaking from a guest's perspective, there's nothing more awkward than waiting in line to say some forced greeting to your boyfriend's friend's mum who you've never met/the childhood best friend of your friend's husband. Do you go in for a hug, a kiss on the cheek, two kisses European style or a handshake?

How To Avoid The Cringe ~ Far better to do the rounds during dinner, visiting each table after you've had your meal. The bride and groom always get served first, so you should have time for a quick hello after you've enjoyed the culinary delights of your wedding breakfast.

3. The Speeches

Let's face it, most people aren't natural born public speakers.

Some compensate for this by drinking copious amounts of alcohol for dutch courage, others write reams and reams so that they are super prepared. When the father of the bride unfolds a stack of crumpled A4 pages you know that you're in for a cringe worthy moment or two. And a lot of clock watching.

The best man's speech is traditionally a little cheeky. A bit of innuendo is to be expected. But there's a fine line between cheeky and inappropriate. If the best man crosses that line, whole ballrooms/barns/hotels have been known to fall deadly silent. Alcohol infused speeches that include slurs, swearing, tears or all of the above tend to cause the most cringes per minute.

wedding speech photo

Photo of our wedding by the lovely Hannah of Funky Photographers

How To Avoid The Cringe ~ Have the speeches at the beginning of the meal. This means that everyone who is giving a speech can then relax and enjoy the rest of the meal. It also means a few less glasses of bubbly/wine/beer will have been consumed beforehand.

I was very nervous about my dad's speech, mainly because he has a rather weird sense of humour. But I'm pleased to say he kept it short and sweet. Which, I think you'll agree, makes for the best kind of speech.

4. The (sloppy/grabby/x-rated) First Kiss as Husband and Wife

So cringe worthy I dedicated a whole post to it. Read it here ~ You May Kiss The Bride.

bride and groom kissing

via Better Than Fine

How To Avoid The Cringe ~ Just remember one simple rule ~ tongues are not invited to this party!

5. The Dodgy Dance Floor Action

Nans, uncles, aunts and, in my case, my mum, are all bound to throw some seriously dodgy shapes on the dance floor that could well be considered cringe worthy. However, there is nothing better than seeing your loved ones dancing, laughing and having fun.

So what if Uncle George is attempting to do the robot/caterpillar/moonwalk or if Nana's twisting and shouting?

Go join them on the dance floor ~ you might just learn a few new moves!

dad-dancing-at-wedding

via Noah Hawthorne Photography

It's all part of the fun and it's nothing your guests won't have seen before.

I suppose you could say that about all of these cringe worthy wedding moments.

They are a rite of wedding passage and when you're old and grey, you won't look back on those moments and cringe ~ you'll smile.

Can you think of any more cringe worthy wedding moments? I'd love to hear them!

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