Awkward or amusing?: Why brides and grooms are nixing the garter toss and other time-honored rituals

PHOTO: GMA Photo Illustration, Bouquet TossPlayGMA Photo Illustration, Getty Images
WATCH Awkward or amusing? Why brides and grooms are nixing traditions like garter tosses

Something old, something new, to the garter: bid adieu?

Wedding traditions far and few are slowly on the decline, but how did staples like the good old garter toss suddenly become a thing of the past?

Kristen Maxwell Cooper, The Knot's editor in chief, says that couples who are abolishing notorious wedding customs are reserving those timeslots for other personalized events.

"Maybe they want to highlight more speeches, more time on the dance floor or they might have a surprise performance," Cooper told ABC News. "They're really dedicating time to those types of things."

The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study, which captured responses from more than 12,700 U.S. brides married between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2017, reported many time-honored rituals that are on the outs including cake cutting, dances, the bouquet toss, the garter toss and more.

PHOTO: These time-honored rituals are on the decline, according to The Knot.ABC News
These time-honored rituals are on the decline, according to The Knot.

While 85 percent of brides are still having a cake cutting ceremony, this tradition was down 3 percent since 2016.

"[M]aybe they're having a doughnut wall, maybe they're getting married in the summer in there's a snowcone bar," Cooper noted. "While we're still seeing cakes, it may not be the only dessert that's there and they may feel like it doesn't need to be 'the moment.'"

Bride Erika ten Napel, a 31-year-old registered nurse from New York, was married on May 11 in Montauk. She and now-husband Christian Yakstis quite literally cut the cake ceremony out of their reception.

PHOTO: Bride Erika ten Napel and now husband Christian Yakstis omitted the cake ceremony from their May 11 wedding reception. Michael Cassara Photography
Bride Erika ten Napel and now husband Christian Yakstis omitted the cake ceremony from their May 11 wedding reception.

"We both agreed that we didn’t care much for the cake cutting tradition, most of the time your guests don’t even know it’s happening and maybe one-eighth of the very expensive cake will get eaten," ten Napel told ABC News. "Christian and I planned our wedding, like many on a budget and felt that a cake was a waste. We really and truly tried to be as resourceful as we could."

In lieu of a cake, ten Napel decided on cookies and mini cupcakes for a dessert choice. She did not hold a garter toss - -a tradition that only 37 percent of brides reported taking part in, as noted in The Knot survey.

"The garter tradition we felt was awkward," ten Napel said. "There are very few friends that we can remember doing this tradition."

PHOTO: Christian Yakstis and Erika ten Napel were married on May 11, in Montauk, N.Y. Michael Cassara Photography
Christian Yakstis and Erika ten Napel were married on May 11, in Montauk, N.Y.

Cooper, who wed in 2013, said she also did not have a garter toss at her own reception. Cooper also ditched the bouquet toss, which declined by 4 percent since last year.

"When it comes to the bouquet toss, am I really going to call my single friends out on the dance floor and do this?" Cooper said. "People who are single typically don't want to be called out for something like that, especially on a romantic day where two people are professing their love for each other."

Cooper added: "There was something that felt a little old-fashioned to me about the garter -- not only may it be uncomfortable for everyone watching, but it could be pretty uncomfortable for the bride and groom as well."

PHOTO: A bride is pictured with her garter and stocking on her wedding day in this undated stock photo.STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
A bride is pictured with her garter and stocking on her wedding day in this undated stock photo.

Bride Kellie Parise, a 28-year-old human resources professional, and her husband Paul Parise nixed the garter toss at their March 23 wedding in New York to avoid dance interruptions with their guests.

"Additionally, Paul and I are not people who enjoy being in the spotlight, so making reception choices that made us feel comfortable was important," Parise told ABC News.

Parise said she also omitted traditional father-daughter and mother-son dances -- a custom that was down 2 percent since 2016.

PHOTO: Bride Kellie Parise, 28, and her husband Paul Parise eliminated the garter toss at their March 23 wedding.Patken Photography
Bride Kellie Parise, 28, and her husband Paul Parise eliminated the garter toss at their March 23 wedding.

"Instead, we asked my dad and Paul’s mom to cut into our first dance, essentially combining it all into one song," she explained. "It flowed really well and reduced the time that Paul and I had to spend in the dance spotlight."

Taylor Coon, a 29-year-old patent attorney, will marry fiance Spencer Curtis in Westchester, New York, on June 9. While traditional, Coon said she is on the fence with certain rituals.

She went on, "[I]f the dance floor is packed, we will eliminate the garter and bouquet, so are kind of playing this one by ear."

PHOTO: Taylor Coon and her fiance Spencer Curtis will marry on June 9.Vicki + Erik Photography
Taylor Coon and her fiance Spencer Curtis will marry on June 9.

For couples like Coon that hope to maximize time on the dance floor, Cooper suggests an anniversary dance as an alternative to a bouquet toss. During the dance, the M.C. eliminates people until the couple who has been married the longest is left on the floor. The bride can then gift her bouquet to that couple if she wishes.

The Knot survey reported best man speeches were down by 3 percent. While still common, Cooper says to be mindful of the length of wedding speeches. She recommends a time cap of three to five minutes.

"There's a moment for the speeches and couples are coaching them [to] keep it short, keep it sweet ... and hopefully then, everyone's hitting the dance floor," she said.

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