Couples have been getting married in America for centuries, which is long enough to have developed unique cultural traditions surrounding this social milestone. The population is diverse, so many of these traditions pull from various cultures and have solidified into something truly American.
There is no right way or wrong way to hold a wedding, especially in the U.S. However, certain traditional activities, events, and items are worth continuing. Start with these touchstones and adapt or add to them to match your and your partner’s values and personalities.
1. Bridal Showers
The history of the bridal shower is pretty unique and spawned an entire tradition. Supposedly, it dated back to a Dutch bride in the 16th century. Her father disapproved of the groom’s choice, so he refused to provide a dowry. Members of the town got together to support the bride. They gave her gifts to start her new household using the dowry money.
While the part about the father isn’t amicable, the generous friends and neighbors created a lovely tradition. Today, bridal showers have a similar purpose. We may have done away with dowries, but the new couple still gets support from their community.
Friends and family come together to celebrate the bride and give her small gifts, typically household goods. A modern spin on this tradition is to hold a couples’ shower rather than restricting it to the bride and female guests.
2. White Wedding Dress
One of the most visible symbols of the American wedding tradition is the white gown. It is also arguably the most important element of a wedding. For the bride, it is the ultimate dress. It represents the couple’s relationship and the bride’s dreams for the future.
It’s possible that the first brides to wear white lived in ancient Rome, where the color symbolized purity and Vesta, the goddess of home and hearth. The tradition didn’t persist, though. For centuries in Europe, brides simply wore their best dress. In modern times, Queen Victoria restarted the trend of a white wedding dress. Western brides have been copying her ever since.
Most brides reject the association with purity, but the tradition has staying power. More important than color is finding the right dress that makes a bride feel beautiful and unique—even the act of shopping in particular. Many brides shop for wedding dresses in NYC, making a weekend out of the event and spending quality time with close family or friends.
3. Wearing a Wedding Veil
The wedding veil is not something new in American wedding tradition; it all started in ancient times. The purpose of the cover was to protect the bride from evil things because, at that time, people believed in the existence of spirits. But now, the bride wears it as a stylish addition by looking at various wedding veil styles. Also, it comes in different wedding veil lengths, and the bride tries different wedding hairstyles with veil.
There are four types of veils that a bride can wear.
- Bluser; a short length to cover the face
- Mantilla; a short round veil with lace that you can wear with a crown wedding veil
- Fingertip; is a medium length veil style that you can be the right option for all types of elegant wedding hair updo with veil
- Cathedral a long veil of up to 9-25 feet
It’s on the bride and her dress which veil suits her the most.
4. Wedding Cake
If you and your groom hope to have kids, don’t skip this tradition. A wedding cake is an ancient custom that symbolizes fertility. Someone would break a cake over the bride, and guests picked up the pieces for luck.
You can thank Queen Victoria for another American wedding tradition: the cake topper. She had figures made to represent her and Prince Albert. Today, many couples use figurines or initials to express themselves on the cake.
While many of these traditions come from Europe, the groom’s cake comes from southern states. It is a smaller cake, traditionally with bolder flavors and more masculine decoration. It’s a fun tradition you can make modern by decorating the cake to reflect the groom’s personality or interests.
5. Carrying a Bridal Bouquet
In an American wedding, the bride carries a beautiful cascading bridal bouquet, but it was not the same in the past. The purpose and the tradition were different from what we follow currently. In ancient times, brides carry bouquets of herbs to keep away the evil spirits. But as time passes, people forget its purpose, and now the bride has their favorite flower bouquet with bridal bouquet charms.
If you are a bride and want to know how to make a bridal bouquet, then you can get different bridal bouquet ideas on the internet. By watching various tutorials, you can find a perfect bridal bouquet with a bridal bouquet holder to make your day extra special.
Bridesmaids are a big part of American weddings. It’s a lovely tradition that allows a bride and her closest friends and family to bond and shares a great experience. As a bride, you can ask someone to be your bridesmaid and make your day special.
The origin of bridesmaids is to protect the bride. They dressed similarly to the bride to confuse evil spirits and to protect her against any vengeful ex-lovers. This is an excellent idea that stands today. Modern bridesmaids don’t have to defend their friend anymore, but they support her in practical and symbolic ways. Also, according to ancient people, the same dressing brings good luck.
However, now these dresses are more like an aesthetic addition. Bridesmaids wear beautiful dresses like champagne bridesmaid dresses and try different bridesmaid hairstyles to look elegant and make their best friend special. Also, they can carry gift for bride on the wedding day from the bridesmaid with her favorite things that she can remember her whole.
Moreover, if you are confused about who pays for bridesmaid dresses, it is clear that the bridesmaid pays for her dress. Also, bridesmaids pay for their jewelry, hair-dos, and everything they wear to look perfect.
7. Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold
Another tradition that originated with evil spirits comes from Europe. Grooms used to carry their new wives through the doorway to keep them off the ground and out of reach of evil spirits. It was thought that the bride was vulnerable to evil spirits through the soles of her feet.
Today, this is an unnecessary but nice tradition. Consider it a modern version of a groom protecting his bride. He is helping her get some relief after spending hours on the dance floor.
Make Your Own Traditions
Traditions are a good starting point, but they aren’t required. Ultimately your wedding should be your own. Pick the traditions you like, reject those you don’t, and add personal touches for the best experience.
John Davis is a passionate content writer with a knack for crafting engaging narratives across various subjects. With a keen eye for detail and a love for storytelling, John brings ideas to life through the power of words. His dedication to delivering high-quality and informative content has made him a trusted voice in the digital realm. When he’s not at his desk, you’ll find John exploring new hobbies and seeking inspiration in the world around him.