An American Wedding
Wedding customs in the United States vary depending on a person’s religious and cultural background. In fact, most wedding customs followed in America come from other cultures. Many aspects of weddings have changed in the past several centuries in America. Whereas weddings used to be small family gatherings at home, many weddings today are very elaborate. Some people even fly to a tropical island, which is called a “destination wedding.” Certainly people in the early 19th century couldn’t imagine flying to the Bahamas just to have a wedding.
While things are sure to change again in the future, there are certain aspects of American weddings that are quite common these days. Once a couple gets engaged, they begin the long process of wedding planning. You can even hire a wedding planner to do everything for you. There’s a lot to think about when planning a wedding, such as location, guest list, food and drink, entertainment, decorations, and much more. With more than two million weddings in the USA every year, the wedding industry is very big and quite profitable. Although many people are happy to hire a wedding planner, some choose to take a do-it-yourself (or DIY) approach to save money.
One modern wedding tradition is for the bride to wear a white dress, which symbolizes purity. It’s common for the groom to wear a tuxedo, although some choose more informal attire. It is customary to have a wedding party in weddings to accompany the bride and groom. The bride will choose her bridesmaids and will designate one the maid of honor, while the groom chooses his groomsmen and appoints one the best man. Typically, the bridesmaids will throw a bridal shower and bachelorette party for the bride prior to the wedding. The groomsmen will also have a bachelor party for the groom. Bachelor parties in America can be a bit crazy, and Hollywood movies have even been made about them.
On the day of the wedding, the bride and groom may choose not to see each other until the ceremony. These days, some couples forego this tradition in order to take “first look” photos, where the photographer captures the moment they see each other for the first time after getting ready. Another interesting tradition is for the bride to have “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” with her. In the ceremony, the bride’s father will often walk her down the aisle. This is a symbol of his acceptance for the groom and the marriage. Usually a wedding ceremony is conducted by a religious official, such as a priest. Other traditions include exchanging vows, putting on the wedding rings, and giving each other a kiss to seal the marriage.
Next is the reception, which is basically a big party. There are a few traditions associated with the reception. Couples will cut the wedding cake and feed it to each other, the bride and groom will have a first dance, and the bride will throw her bouquet of flowers to the single women in attendance. Whoever gets the flowers will be the next to marry. American weddings are a lot of work, but they sure are lots of fun!
Have you ever been to an American wedding? Please let us know how it went.
How are they different from the ones you see in movies and TV shows? How are they similar?
What is different about weddings in your culture?
What was your wedding like, if you are married? If not, what do you want your wedding to be like?