Traditions are kind of what make weddings the big, important, special, gorgeous days that they are.

We're all for paving your own way on your wedding day, with unique ideas that reflect your style and personality, but there's still a big space in our heart for the white dress, the something blue, and of course, the toast.

Wedding Traditions Francis Ford Coppola Winery | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Photo by Carla Ten Eyck via Frosted Petticoat Blog

Today, we're joining forces with the Francis Ford Coppola Winery (yes, fun fact of the day, the acclaimed Godfather director and his filmmaking family own a beautiful winery in Sonoma County!) and we're raising our glasses to wedding traditions.

Cheers to those treasured traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation.

Mazel Tov to those traditions that can sometimes seem outdated (being ‘given' away, really?), unnecessary (a receiving line featuring 150 handshakes/kisses) and perhaps even a little cringeworthy (the garter toss, anyone?). But we still love them!

And Salut to the fun, new, contemporary traditions that couples are creating on their wedding days.

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We've poured ourselves a glass of Francis Ford Coppola Votre Santé Pinot Noir and we've decided to make a toast to our favourite wedding traditions, both old and new…

The Family Photo

Wedding Traditions Family Photo | Francis Ford Coppola Winery | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Photo by Erich McVey via The Wedding Chicks

The outfits may have changed but there's still something so special about having a keepsake photo of your nearest and dearest gathered around you in all their finery.

While family photos of yore could be a little stiff and awkward, we love modern candid family shots with everyone chatting and laughing together.

The perfect way to tell the story of your wedding day. With a family tree dotted with lively characters and a rich history, the Coppola's share lots of their photos and stories on their website, each of their wines is a dedication to a part of Francis Coppola's family story, from memories of his grandmother and how he met his wife, to his passions for film-making, art and food.

The Toasts

Wedding Toast | Francis Ford Coppola Winery | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Photo by Traci Griffin Photography via Bridal Musings

We love toasts. They can be both funny and tear-jerking, and they can give great insight into the couple and their family story.

The Coppola family have a special place for toasts at their table, whatever the occasion. Francis Coppola's grandmother, Maria Zasa, was an Italian, born in Tunisia, which at the time, was a French protectorate. Because of her international beginnings, she spoke four languages, English, Italian, Arabic and French.

With each sip of wine she would offer a toast, “À votre Santé” – to your health. This memory is so special that the family created Votre Santé wines, to toast their Grandma Zasa Coppola.

Crafted in the French tradition, the elegant Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Chateau Red (Red Blend) Votre Santé wines are graceful, light on the palate, lower in alcohol and extremely food friendly – making them the perfect tipple for a wedding toast.

The First Dance

First Dance | Francis Ford Coppola Winery | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Photo by Paperlily Photography via Style Me Pretty

It may seem a daunting prospect, dancing in the middle of a room, with almost everyone you know looking at you!

But we're always overwhelmed by how many of our real brides and grooms say their first dance was the most special moment in their day. It's a culmination of the romance, the hard work, and the people, where the whole occasion comes together in one moment.

We also love the traditions of father/daughter and mother/son dances. While this may seem dated, ideas for these dances are perhaps one of the most requested posts on Bridal Musings!

For the record, we love The Temptations, My Girl for father/daughter, and What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong for the mother/son!

As for your first dance, pick a song that's not just romantic, but really means something to both of you, and tells your love story.

The First Look

First Look Wedding Tradition | Francis Fod Coppola Winery | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Photo by Victoria Greener Photography via Bridal Musings

As we said, while we can be sticklers from some traditions, it's also fun to make some new ones. We'll readily scrap something that doesn't feel relevant to us, and replace it with something that's more fitting.

Which is why we love The First Look.

This sweet, modern tradition gives couples the chance to clap eyes on each other for the first time away from their guests, and enjoy a moment alone, (well, almost alone, their photographer is on hand to capture their adorable reactions!) before their hectic day gets underway.

Walking down the aisle can be pretty nerve-wracking, it's hard to take everything in. So why not savour your first look, (and get some of the photos out of the way) before you have to make your big entrance?

The Cake Smoosh

Francis Ford Coppola Winery | Wedding Traditions | Bridal Musings Wedding Blog

Photo by Mandi Nelson Photography via Wedding Party App

This is a weird one. We're not quite sure whose idea it was to smash cake in your new spouse's face but it's fast becoming a new wedding tradition!

Some people think the wedding cake smoosh (smash?) is a bit of fun, others are not so keen (too much mess, if you ask us). But either way, we suggest couples come to a mutual agreement about whether it's a do or a definite don't, before the big day to avoid a rocky start to their marriage!

The Sparkler Send-Off


Photo by Rebecca Arthurs Photography via Style Me Pretty

The sparkler send-off has to be one of our favourite new traditions of recent years.

Make sure everyone at your wedding gets a sparkler or two (and something to light them with) and let them know what time you and your other half are riding off into the sunset.

Then, not only do you have a memorable and special departure from your wedding, but you have the perfect photo-op for a quick kiss under a ceiling of sparklers to finish off your day.

How gorgeous!

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So, we'd love to hear from you. What are some of your favourite family wedding traditions? Any new traditions you're planning on incorporating into your big day?

Thanks to the Francis Ford Coppola Winery for inspiring us to take a look at our favourite traditions.

Head to their website to discover more of their delicious wine collections.

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Just like planning your wedding, they bring a personal touch to everything they do.

With wines inspired by family members, favourite foods, and passionate past times, there's a Francis Ford Coppola wine for toasting every celebration –  engagements, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and of course weddings!

Or even just toasting to good health, ‘Votre Santé', over a family meal.