10 Sconnie wedding cliches you can either embrace or ... leave at the altar

Tom Giffey

Anyone who has ever gotten married – heck, anyone who has ever even been to a wedding – knows there are countless colorful wedding traditions out there. Every culture and community has them, and Wisconsin is no exception. Forget “something borrowed, something blue,” though: Around here, the wedding colors are more likely to be camouflage or Packer green and gold, and the toast is more likely to be done with a plastic cup of Leinie’s than with champagne. Depending on your perspective, this list gives you a chance to other avoid Wisconsin wedding clichés or to revel in your Wisconsin pride.

1. At the wedding dance, a polka is mandatory

Sure, the DJ’s playlist might otherwise be dominated by such timeless classics as “The Electric Slide” and “Baby Got Back,” but if you really want to get everyone on the dance floor, fire up the “Beer Barrel Polka.” Credit the dance’s popularity to the large share of Wisconsinites with Polish and German roots.

2. So is the “Chicken Dance”

Something about being around two lovebirds makes us shake our wings, wiggle our tails, and clap-clap-clap-clap. Either that, or it’s the beer. Yeah, it’s probably the beer.

3. Speaking of beer, it flows like water.

Roughly half of Wisconsinites have some German ancestry, and it shows when the guest list – erm, beverage list – includes names like Leinenkugel and Miller. Beer is essential after (and sometimes even during!) a wedding. We’ve even seen a Catholic school cafeteria/banquet hall outfitted with beer taps (no kidding). Open bars are standard, as are personalized beer glasses for the wedding party. In Wisconsin, having a “dry wedding” merely means there’s a tailgate party going on in the parking lot outside.

4. The long gap between ceremony and reception

The ceremony ends at 3pm, and the reception doesn’t start until 6. Why? The usual explanation is that the wedding party is being photographed. The real reason, of course, is the bride and groom’s post-wedding bar crawl.

5. The Packers

In a religious wedding ceremony, couples are reminded to leave room in their marriage for God. But whether or not they’re religious, Wisconsin couples also have to leave some room for the Green Bay Packers. If the best man’s speech doesn’t reference the Pack, then the bridesmaids are probably clutching green and gold bouquets.

6. Camo tuxes: Always in season

For the Wisconsin groom, there’s no need to choose between a love of hunting and the love of a beautiful woman. For a more subtle look, there’s always a camouflage vest or complementary blaze orange tie.

7. That one guy who's wearing overalls

Camouflage attire is one thing, but you might also see somebody wearing bib overalls and a seed corn cap. Please forgive this fashion faux pas; Uncle Frank probably just got done milking and didn’t have time to change out of his barn clothes.

8. The dollar dance

Want some “alone time” with the bride or groom on the dance floor? Well, be prepared to pitch in a buck in this traditional Polish ritual. You’ll find dollar dances at weddings elsewhere, but they’re particularly common in Wisconsin where Polish heritage is strong.

9. Mason jars ... mason jars everywhere

Today’s Wisconsin brides must all be browsing the same Pinterest page for crafty ideas, because it appears Mason jars have taken over. Need vases, glasses, candleholders, or party favors? Just raid grandma’s cellar for supplies.

10. It’s wintertime

Winter weddings are a growing trend nationally, but we’ve been doing them for a long time in Wisconsin. Maybe it’s because we’re frugal (winter weddings tend to be less costly). Maybe it’s because snowy wedding photos are pretty. Or maybe it’s just because winter lasts six months here, so why not make the most of it?