Weddings are a part of our everyday culture. In fact, about 5 million people or 2,5 million couples get married in America each year. It’s said that the wedding industry is a $60-billion industry. But no matter how much the newlyweds have spent on their wedding, it still is a memorable and happy event which they will remember for the rest of their lives. The American wedding doesn’t have a lot of old traditions – like the wedding in many other parts of the world – and these wedding traditions and superstitions are comparatively modern. Though, some of them are really interesting.
Some weddings are small and simple, while other couples spend up to $20-30,000 on big, luxurious weddings. And there are many that are in between. But no matter how much money we spend on the day, the wedding is something that the couple will cherish for the rest of their lives.
No two weddings are the same. Every wedding is unique. And that’s what keeps it interesting.
There are many details and much planning that goes into a typical American wedding. The bride has prepared as much as she could for the day – reading wedding books, magazine articles, and visiting countless websites. She’s picked up the perfect dress, the reception hall, the wedding colors, the flowers, and even knows what everyone will be having for dinner. Though, many brides admit they’ve never been to a wedding before. Even when they have been to a wedding, they’re often unaware of the details that take place, such as how you stand with your dress for pictures or how you cut the cake. So, for those of you that might get married some day, this article will show the culture that is weddings in America.
Typical American wedding. What activities does it include?
The day begins with the bride getting ready.
Sometimes, the bride and the groom don’t see each other on the day of the wedding until the ceremony begins. And sometimes, they see each other after they’re dressed. Usually, they see each other for the very first time while the bride walks down the aisle.
Professional photos are usually taken before the ceremony. If the bride and groom have agreed to see each other before the ceremony, all pictures are taken. If not, then photographers take all the groomsmen’s and bridesmaids’ shots separately and take group shots after the wedding.
After photos, guests arrive. Once everyone is seated, the procession begins. Traditionally, the musicians play. The ushers bring the bride and groom’s grandparents to their seats. Then, either the groom or an usher brings the groom’s or both bride and groom’s mothers.
Next, the bridal party enters. Sometimes, the bridesmaids enter by themselves and meet up with the groomsmen near the altar. Or they walk down the aisle together.
They are then followed by the flower girl and the ring bearer.
The music changes to signify that the bride is about to enter. The audience stands. The bride is walked down the isle by her father. At the end of the isle, he gives his daughter away.
Next, the ceremony takes place. Not all American ceremonies are religious. However, most follow the same ritual.
The ceremony usually contains greetings by friends and family, which can either be scriptures from the Bible or words of wisdom from an alternate source.
The priest will then give the ceremony or tell a story about marriage to the couple. Sometimes, there is a performance of music by a friend or family member.
Eventually, it is time to state each other’s vows and intentions. Sometimes, the couples read traditional vows. Or they could make up their own.
After the vows, they give each other rings which are held by the best man till that moment of the ceremony.
Once they have given the rings, they usually do two things: they light a unity candle or they pour sand into a glass space (a current popular trend).
The couple usually ends the ceremony with a kiss. And the couple is introduced for the very first time as Mr. and Mrs.
The couple usually has a receiving line where they meet with everyone who attends the ceremony.
After the receiving line finishes, the couple leaves the church, with friends and family cheering them up. Rice was traditionally thrown at the couple but it is more common with bubbles now.
There are usually a couple of hours before the reception begins. Most couples take this time to go to a different location and take more photos with their wedding party.
While waiting for the bride and groom to arrive, the reception hall will have a little cocktail party. This gives the guests time to arrive and mingle.
Once the wedding party arrives, they’re introduced to the grand march. Often, the couples will perform some kind of unique dance move to make their entrance memorable. From experience, the silliness or seriousness of the grand march is a good indicator of how the rest of the evening will go.
Guests can be served dinner in two ways. More budget weddings generally have a buffet instead of a sit-down meal, where people go and serve themselves. Higher-budget weddings usually have several courses being served at their tables.
Once everyone has received their dinner, speeches and toasts are given. Most commonly, the best man gives speeches, followed by a thank-you from the bride and groom. It’s also become more common for the last years to hear toasts and stories from siblings and parents.
Clanking silverware against glasses encourages the newlyweds to kiss. Some couples get really intimate, while others specifically ask their guests not to do it or offer an alternative activity.
After the speeches, the couple usually cuts the cake. Most couples are unaware of how to do this. So that’s when the photographer’s and other stuff’s knowledge and expertise are handy. Usually, the bride and groom cut the cake at the same time with the same knife and feed it to each other in a careful, loving way.
The next part of the reception includes the first dances. The bride and groom share their first dance together. And the bride dances with her father. Next, the groom dances with his mother. Sometimes, an anniversary dance follows in honor of the parents and grandparents.
Then, the real fun begins. The wedding party’s invited to the dance floor. Most wedding receptions have DJ-played music. However, there is still a demand for live music performers.
At some point through the dances, the DJ announces that it is time for an activity. And this is fun to watch and participate. For instance, the blindfolded bride must guess which of the legs she touches is her husband’s. A “dollar dance” is typical as well, where people give money to the bride and groom for a dance.
The bride tosses her wedding bouquet over her shoulder to the group of unmarried women. The one who catches it, the superstition has it, will be the next to marry.
The groom usually has to work to get the garter off the bride. He then tosses the garter to the single men at the reception. They aren’t usually as eager to catch it as the single ladies.
Eventually, the reception ends and everybody goes home.
Each wedding is unique but similar in many respects. Weddings have and will continue to be a very important part of our culture. We hope that this article helped you to learn and understand at least some aspects of the American wedding.