Everything Old is New Again



“The night we got engaged in September 2017, our initial thought was ‘We want to do something different for our wedding,’” says Valerie Ruppel (nee Amodeo) of her May 12, 2018 wedding to Patric Ruppel. For the New York couple, that ultimately meant a destination wedding at beautiful Belfair Plantation beneath a canopy of grandiose oak trees. But many couples can create “something different” for their wedding on a much smaller scale.   

Take, for instance, the many traditions incorporated without much thought into countless weddings every year, from the cake topper to the party favor. Is it really even a wedding if the bride doesn’t toss a bouquet of flowers over her shoulder and watch single women in the crowd dive for it?

Yes, it is. And today’s brides and grooms are recognizing that not every wedding tradition needs to be included or followed to its historical end. In fact, taking some new spins on old traditions can be a great way to express your personality and love story as a couple, and to give your wedding guests something new to rave about.


Little plastic brides and grooms have graced the tops of wedding cakes for generations, but these days couples are choosing other options to give their cakes some personality. Words can make a strong statement, from the laser-cut toppers that spell out the happy couple’s names or such celebratory phrases as “Just married!” and “Best Day Ever!” Others opt for a single letter, the couple’s new shared last initial, usually in a font that’s been carefully chosen for all wedding-related writings. Another popular option is to go with animals on top – tiny swans, which mate for life, for example, or a couple of love birds. That’s exactly what Casey and Joshua Tierney did when they married at St. Andrew Chapel last year. “I have always loved the idea of ‘love birds,’” Casey said, “and now we have the birds on our mantle as a sweet reminder of the day.” 


The bouquet toss heralds to a time when many single young women yearned for the day they, too, would find their grooms. But singling out all the single ladies as “the next one to get married if you catch the bouquet” today can have women diving away from the flying flowers — for myriad reasons. Couples are moving the bouquet toss/garter tradition into the 21st century by opting to do things like “pass the bouquet,” where the bouquet is given to the next couple with set plans to walk down the aisle, or to the couple in the room who have been married the longest. The bride and groom can also pre-select someone unsuspecting and give the second, “toss-able” bouquet to them for their contributions to the wedding or for just being a hero in their lives. Still another lovely twist is to give every lady in attendance a single flower.


The first dance is a sweet moment for many and often kicks off the wedding reception with a solid dose of sentimentality. But there are tons of shy brides and grooms with two left feet who’d rather not have the entire room of people watch them sway in a circle. Instead, couples can opt for the first dance to be their special song but request all married couples join them on the dance floor. Alternately, the couple could choose to be serenaded by a professional musician or band performing their favorite song while they sit in special chairs and take it all in. Or opt for a brief slideshow of pics from your lives and love story to play for guests while “your song” is being played.


Old Traditions2

Traditionally a simple, elegant book in which each guests signs his or her name, the guest book is a wedding’s attendance record. It’s typically something couples make sure to have sitting on a table somewhere — and then often never look at it again. But there are more creative options that give the tradition new meaning and assure that you will indeed peruse the “book of names” at a later date. For instance, take the guest book created by bride Katherine Palmeri for her Palmetto Bluff wedding to Mike Palmeri in 2016. She included a picture of each person on his or her own page with their name at the top, so guests had a specific space on which to write a personal note to the couple.

“I wanted to keep it simple and really personal,” she says of the book, which became a sweet memento from their day.