Understand, there is no 'normal' or 'correct' way to have a wedding. Traditions vary based on the couple's origins, religion, ethnicities, culture, and lifestyle, BUT American traditions are still there. Still, there are some honored traditions that a majority of American couples still perform - for example, a wedding cake and bride/groom first dance still feel like staples at most weddings.
We've worked with brides and grooms across the state and even the country, so we've seen A LOT and know what couples are up to nationally, as an 'American Wedding Tradition.'
W H I T E W E D D I N G D R E S S
Long before they've met the love of their live, many girls dream of their wedding dress, and more often than not it's white. A white dress is one of the most practiced American traditions, and is worn amongst almost every American bride during their ceremony and reception. The tradition comes from across the pond in England, when Queen Victoria had a fancy, very public wedding in the mid-1800s where she wore a white dress (silk and lace, with a satin train that was so long, 12 people were needed to help get her down the aisle). The gown captured people's attention from all over the world, and ever since bride have been wearing white. Of course, in modern time we see women put their own spin on their dress by wearing off-white or adding accessories.
T HE W E D D I N G P A R T Y
Regardless of culture or faith, many couple have bridesmaids and groomsmen at their wedding. They're often seen as a part of the processional, standing on the sides of the couple during their ceremony, and introduced into the reception. Not to forget, they're an important part in planning wedding-related events such as bachelor and bachelorette parties, and bridal showers. Now days, couples chose who they want to be part of their wedding party, BUT that's now how its always been. The concept of 'needing' bridesmaids originated out of 10 witnesses required by law in the time of Ancient Romans. At the time, these witnesses were not necessarily related to or even know by the bride, but would still stand by the bride like they do today dressed similarly and in the same color to confuse evil spirits and not attack the happy couple.
T H E W E D D I N G P R O C E S S I O N A L
We've actually never not had a couple include a wedding processional (even our elopement couples) where grandparents, parents, and the wedding party walk down the aisle at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. The order is generally the same, and in more traditional ceremonies, the bride's father walks her down the aisle. However, in modern ceremonies, both parents walk the bride down the aisle. This is another tradition that started in England during yet again, another royal wedding, this time Queen Victoria's oldest child.
T HE F I R S T D A N C E
It's true, the first dance is one of the most anticipated events where the newlyweds make their way to the dance floor and make their debut as a married couple. Some couples choose to keep it romantic and slow, while others impress the crowd with a choreographed routine. This tradition is taken from Europe, during the 1700s, noblemen would throw a lavish ball, and the guest of honor - the person with the highest rank of social standing, would kick off the party with a first dance. Today, the newlyweds get that honor.
T HE W E D D I N G C A K E
Face it, the wedding cake is the centerpieces of the evening. It's beautifully display at the reception, but cutting it is one of the wedding festivities guests look forward to. Wedding cake is an important aspect of one's celebration, with the tradition of two people feeing each other. Many couples today still have a traditional wedding cake, and if not, at least a small cake for cutting purposes. This tradition goes back to Rome where guests would crumble small barley cake or a wheat scone over the bride's head to symbolize fertility and good fortune. Interesting, huh?
T H R O W I N G R I C E
Yes you read that right, throwing rice is a tradition in American weddings to give the newlyweds a grand and festive send off. Historically, guests used to throw rice at the couple as they got into their car (decorated with newly married signs) to leave. Today, guests don't generally throw rice anymore - it's too messy, and can be dangerous, BUT what we do see are bubble, sparklers, bells, etc. This tradition comes from Ancient Rome, where wheat was thrown which represented fertility. In later times, people threw rice to keep away evil spirits and to symbolize prosperity.