Making you dance until your feet bleed since 2005

Our Musings On Wedding Traditions And How They Keep The Night Rolling

Our Musings On Wedding Traditions (And How They Keep The Night Rolling!)

Chicago’s most fire wedding DJs, the Toast & Jam team, discuss common wedding traditions, their thoughts on them, and how they help to keep the flow of a wedding moving!

by Mary Nisi

Dear reader, it’s time for another fireside chat with the Toast & Jam team, complete with rye, sourdough, fluffy white, and a gorgeous assortment of jams and jellies.

Ugh - we wish! Alas, you’ll have to prepare your own toast and jam to enjoy during this missive. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Oh, you’re back? Awesome.

After that bit of whimsy, we want to dive into today’s piece - which is our thoughts (and maybe some hot takes) on the wedding traditions of both yore and now.

We’ll also discuss how they fit into modern day weddings, how we approach them, and how they keep the night moving.

From garters (yikes!) to bouquet throwing to parent dances, there is much to discuss. Settle in!

Discussing The Role Of Wedding Traditions

One of the things we love to say is that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

This means you can remove any or all of these common wedding traditions that we’ll discuss. Some wedding DJ companies may not see it that way, but it’s your day and your say. We love a challenge, we love the offbeat, and we’ll do our damndest to make sure you’re getting the day you desire whilst keeping things moving.

That said, traditions and customs exist for a reason - although not always for great reasons. Traditions like garter toss are rooted in the patriarchy and symbolize ownership of the woman - perhaps her transition from maiden to wife. Yuck.

Now, for other traditions like cake cutting or parent dances - these keep the night flowing (and they do not have to be cheesy).

Fact is, it’s important to remember that wedding customs and traditions don’t always have to be outdated symbols of colonial times - they can continue to hold weight in modern society and tie a wedding together in a way that makes for a fun night.

Keep Your Eye On Context:

Consider the bouquet toss. Iconic, right?

Of course, the traditional nature of the bouquet toss is to invite all single ladies to line up and wait with baited breath while the bride turns her back and tosses the bouquet behind her. The lucky gal who catches the flowers is fated to next be married. Gorgeous stuff.

But - what about your recently divorced sister, aunt, or cousin? Your unhappily single friend? What about your 5 year old niece? It can feel (however unintentionally) like you’re singling people out and basically putting on a show of who is not currently cuffed - that may not feel great and may take the fun out of an otherwise enjoyable evening.

Our recommendation? Invite folks of all ages, genders, and relationship statuses to enjoy the bouquet toss. Make sure your wedding DJ knows you want to do this, too, so that we or whoever they are can make sure folks know what’s happening, announce it thusly, and that the flow of the evening remains intact.

Always keeping context and how things may feel for other people attending your special day in support of you in mind is key. Some group activities may make them uncomfortable!

Discussing Common Wedding Traditions

Anniversary Dance

A sometimes-alternate to the bouquet toss, anniversary dances involve your wedding DJ inviting all couples to the dance floor. After a minute or two of dancing, your DJ will start asking couples who have been married for a certain amount of time to leave and then go up incrementally from there.

To execute this successfully, your wedding DJ is going to need details on the exact longevity of the longest marriage at the party they don’t blow past the year and the dancefloor is empty!


Ahh, the garter. Listen, dear reader, this one gives us the ick.

We touched on this above - we feel this tradition is demeaning, rooted in the patriarchy, and no one wants to see a groom putting his head up the front of his bride’s dress (in the midst of suggestive howling) in front of all and sundry.

As a general rule, we don’t incorporate this tradition into the weddings we DJ.


We do get some clients who state that they don’t want introductions because they don’t want to be the center of attention. Unfortunately, your wedding is a situation where you may have to be in the spotlight once or twice.

Although, we can’t quite blame them - lots of people have seen some seriously cheesified introductions that have been more in line with the Superbowl than a wedding reception.

Yet, remember: you have creative control over your own introduction and the introduction of your wedding party. As well, introductions and announcements are a great way to kick off the evening and give your guests a sense of direction and order.

Our policy is to all but force you to select your introduction songs. If you’re truly stumped, we’ll come up with a few suggestions for your review, but we’ll never leave it to chance.

Cake cutting

Cake cutting serves multiple purposes: It’s a photo op, it’s a way to keep the night moving, and it’s a way to slice through the overwhelm of being announced. Heh. See what we did there?

Imagine you and your spouse have just arrived at the reception area, you’re flushed and overwhelmed already, then you walk into a room with scores of people you know and love the most cheering for you. It’s one of those unique life moments that only happens once, and it’s a lot. There’s adrenaline, there’s tears, and there’s losing your spatial awareness.

Cake cutting helps give you somewhere to go and a task to complete - a powerful tonic for directionless overwhelm. Getting it done early also allows the venue staff to cart it away to cut into servings for your guests.

First dance

Now that food has been eaten and cake enjoyed, we move into the dancing.

First dances are great, but many couples get nervous about them. Lots of people aren’t super co-ordinated. Some, again, hate being the center of attention.

Worry not, we can always do a faded song or a shorter edit. You can forgo it altogether in favor of something else, but kicking off the dancing with you and your new spouse is a great way to, of course, keep the night moving and make it easier for the dance party to get rolling after.

Parent dances

Parent dances can get tricky. This usually happens after the first dance - before the dance floor kicks it up into high gear.

Parent dances bring up a lot of feelings. Love, pride, but it can also bring up painful memories of divorce or death.

Your wedding DJ can help you navigate these weird scenarios. We can do separate dances, we can do dances with surrogate or chosen family members, we can do dances with biological parents and then adoptive parents, in-laws can dance with the bride(s) and/or groom(s) - the list goes on.

There are plenty of ways to make it special, and not everything has to be explained.

Key Takeaways:

Remember: more often than not, people don’t notice things that aren’t mentioned. If you choose to not have a parent dance, a first dance, or multiple introductions - people don’t care. They care about supporting you on your special day.

Not doing things isn’t a big deal, but cohesion to the event needs to happen. Your wedding DJs can help guide you through the evening with proper planning beforehand in a way that makes you comfortable and also ensures that your guests know what’s happening and where to go!

Connect with the Toast & Jam team today!

We’re Toast & Jam, the most poppin’ wedding DJs in Chicago, and we want to turn your wedding into a super-cool, super fun dance rager! We know music, and we love to turn it up.

Sound cool? Cool. Fill out our short little contact form here so we can get a sense of your needs, wants, and desires - and we’ll go from there!

Bonus: We exist on social media! Here’s our Facebook, and here’s our Instagram. Happy scrolling.

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