10 + 1 Fascinating Differences Between English and American Weddings
Although the Brits and the Yanks seem similar on the surface, speak (almost) the same language and have pretty similar physical traits, there are actually a multitude of cultural intricacies which make these two nationalities more different than they seem.
Weddings – and the various traditions that surround the big day – are a great place to spot the difference.
So, without further ado, Eventhuse presents American vs British weddings: the facts.
- The Stag and Hen Events: Both the British and the Americans indulge in the hallowed pre-wedding final farewell ceremony which in the UK we call the Stag do for the boys and the Hen do for the girls.
In the US, it’s a Bachelor Party for the Boys and Bachelorette Party for the ladies.
- Bridal Showers: In the US, a big fuss is also made of the bride at her bridal shower, where female friends come over and ‘shower’ her with gifts.
This is not a custom in the UK although more and more people are adopting it.
- Rehearsal Dinners: The Brits also don’t follow the tradition of hosting a big rehearsal dinner before the wedding – a popular tradition in the US.
- The Bridesmaids Dresses: British brides will traditionally buy the dresses for their bridesmaids, while in the US it is usually understood that the maids of honour buy their own dress.
- The Invitations: American weddings are all-inclusive and an invite means you can come to all the events of the day.
In the UK, the closest friends and family are invited to the whole day, while lesser known guests are only invited in the evening.
- Walking down the Aisle: American bridesmaids usually walk in front of the bride, while their British counterparts follow the bride.
The British ushers or groomsmen don’t walk the aisle with the bridesmaids as they do in the US.
- The first time they see each other: In the UK, it is customary for the groom to keep his back turned until the moment the bride reaches him – a tradition the US grooms do not do.
- Sitting or standing: Once the aisle has been walked, the bridesmaids and groomsmen will go and sit down in British weddings, whereas at weddings in the US, they stay standing up at the alter with the bride and groom for the duration of the ceremony.
- Fancy Hats: Wearing elaborate and fancy hats or fascinators is a custom that many women in the UK adopt – in America hats are never a part of the dress code.
- The Speeches: In the UK, usually only men (the groom, bride’s father and best man) will give speeches at the wedding party and the best man is expected to get a bit controversial with his joke.
In the US the maid of honour is also expected to speak and any rude jokes or embarrassing comments are a no-no.
- The Bar: The Americans win this one hands down, with cash bars hugely frowned upon at Yankee weddings.
The Brits on the other hand see no shame in asking their guests to pay for their own drinks after the meal.
So now, next time someone asks what are the differences between a British wedding and an American wedding,’ you’ll have the answers for them.