Regional Differences in Weddings

posted 9 years ago in Venue
Post # 3
Member
2433 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

Regional differences I have noticed involve the reception traditions. Certain parts of Ohio always include square dancing as part of their receptions.. in my part of Ohio, I’ve never witnessed that. Also, many brides and grooms here do the "Dollar Dance", which my fiance and I despise and are not including, but this is honestly going to shock many of our guests. I recently found out that the dollar dance is a regional thing. It is when guests pay a dollar (or more) for a chance to dance with the bride or the groom, dance for about 30 seconds, and the next purchaser cuts in. I always thought it was weird to ask guests to pay to dance with you, especially after they’ve more than likely given you a nice wedding gift, paid for transportation there, and many are paying for a hotel.

Post # 5
Member
2404 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

midwest girl here…..i’m also not doing the dollar dance, bouquet/garter toss or receiving line….. i do feel like alot of my friends have gotten married (i’m 26, 28 when i get married), but there are still alot that aren’t. 

Post # 6
Member
773 posts
Busy bee

I live in Pittsburgh currently, and people around here keep asking me about having a cookie bar at our wedding.  They’re pretty serious about them here!  We’re both from the South and will be getting married in Raleigh- sans cookie bar.  My Pittsburgh guests might be offended 🙂

Post # 7
Member
159 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Well, as far as open bars, I live in the very center of the Midwest and while most of my friends would like to have an open bar, not everyone can afford it.  Maybe that is more of an economic difference —  I’d say it is about half and half among my friends and family.  Personally, we can only afford a beer/wine bar at our wedding.

Are bouquet and garter tosses truly a regional thing?   I don’t think we’ll be doing either in our STL wedding, but I have maybe been to one wedding where people have not done them.  Dollar dance?  Yup, count us in.  Most family members have had it and about half of our friends have.  Is it tacky?  Probably, but whatever – it’s tradition – and it’s kind of fun if you let loose.  But, no one said anyone has to participate, and, fortunately, the cost is only a $1.  😉  Just attended a wedding last night, FI danced with the bride and I danced with the groom. 

To each her own — but it labeling things as tacky can be tricky. Do you think some parts of the country are more concerned with appearances?  Or some parts of the country are more or less family-oriented than others?  Or are wedding differences mostly tied to affluence?  

Post # 8
Member
159 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

cookie bar — that SHOULD be a tradition! HA!

Post # 10
Member
39 posts
Newbee

I was in the same boat. Grew up in NJ and live in NY and husband’s family is in MI and wedding was in MI. I’m 28 and the first of any of my friends to get married. Girlfriends are not even thinking about marriage. But in MI, I was an older bride.  And probably because of my older age and being from east coast, we did not have a typical wedding.  Open bar was a must, but we limited the types of alcohol to fit our budget.  No dollar dance (never knew about this until my first weddings outside of NJ/NY). No head table (this was a first for our vendors!). No bouquet toss. No garter toss. No deejay. Only music from our Ipods. Wow, it’s starting to sound bland. But it was us. That’s all that counts. Who cares what others expected, this is what we wanted. 

Post # 11
Member
522 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I’m from the midwest (Illinos) and I don’t remember ever being at a wedding that wasn’t open bar.  I’ve seen the dollar dance many times, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that at my wedding.  There will probably be sad relatives expecting the dollar dance – and all the other traditions I’m scrapping.  I’m going to be the first person in my family (and in my fiance’s family) to have a ceremony that isn’t in a church.  Every Illinois wedding I’ve ever attended has been at a church and then at the same banquet hall. 

 One thing I’ve noticed since I moved from the midwest to the west – I’ve heard from a lot of people that they don’t like the idea of a head table for the wedding party.  Many prefer to have bridesmaids and groomsmen sit with their dates.  Growing up in Illinois, I have NEVER been to a wedding that didn’t have a big head table just for the bride, groom, and attendants.  That’s what I’ll end up doing, and it never occurred to me to do something else.

Post # 12
Member
25 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Where I’m from the dollar dance is a bit different (I think we call it the money dance).  As the bride and groom enjoy their first dance together as husband and wife, guests will come up to the couple and place a dollar (or whatever kind of bill) either in the mouth or on the person of the bride or groom (they usually put it on the bride).  The groom/bride then takes the dollar from the bride/groom without using his/her hands.  Everyone gets a kick out of it, especially when the dollar is placed near (or in!) the bust of the bride.

Despite tradition, however, we will not be doing the money dance.  Most of our guests are from out of town anyway, so no one is really expecting it.

 

Post # 13
Member
133 posts
Blushing bee

I think a lot of the differences are  class differences (working class v. middle class v. upper middle class norms and expectations) rather than regional. Or they are based on your ethnic heritage and traditions that have been carried over from the old country.

However, one difference that I’ve noticed here in the DC area versus Southern California is the large number of people getting married or holding receptions in historic houses. Part of it is that California just doesn’t have as many old houses because the state didn’t start growing until post-WWII. Also, many people in the DC area, if they are planning an outdoor ceremony or reception need an indoor back-up plan in case of rain/ thunderstorms and historic homes often have a combo of indoor/ outdoor space. Rain back-up plans aren’t as necessary in Southern California.

 

Post # 14
Member
2470 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’m from East Coast and I agree, open bar all the way. I’ve been to some that have limited bars though (just beer, wine and a few cocktails) and then the rest was cash. It honestly didn’t go over well with guests. I’ve seen dollar dances and will not be doing one myself.

I’ve heard that some "Southern" Traditions are having the groom’s father as his best man and buffet style or station style dinner instead of sit-down. Can any Southern brides say that is accurate? I’ve never been to one personally, just from friends perspectives have I heard this.

Post # 16
Member
672 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

I’m in Minnesota and all of our families/friends are from MN or Wisconsin and I haven’t ever been to a wedding with a totally open bar before, just hosted wine and beer.  We’ll be doing the same – while I’d love to have an open bar it’s just not at all in the budget.  We’re also not doing the bouquet/garter/etc kind of stuff, but nobody in our families that we’ve talked to about it seems to really care. 

As far as age, we’re among the first of our friends to get married and we’re 24/25.  The vast majority of our friends are our age and not even thinking about marriage anytime soon.  I was surprised when I met my FI and found myself being open to getting married at what I considered a young age.  So my group of folks may be outside of the 19-25 marrying age for the midwest.  

The only thing that I can think of that may be regional to us in the upper midwest is that there will ABSOLUTELY be a couple of polkas.  No question about it, haha.   I don’t know how popular that is in other parts of the country.

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