In a country as large and diverse as America, it’s no surprise that there is such a wealth of wedding traditions, traditions defined by origin, religion, ethnicity, culture, lifestyle and preference. Some weddings adhere to the most ancient of traditions. Others are born from the imagination of the people getting married. For those people who want to have a more traditional wedding, or who want to use tradition to create something new, America has 5 wedding traditions that we believe you should know.
The White Wedding Dress
The white wedding dress is a potent symbol of the bride that has been adopted across the world. It is the item most associated with weddings, the dress that an American bride is most likely to wear. The tradition began when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. She wore a white wedding dress made of the very best British silk and lace, with a satin train that needed 12 attendants to carry it as she walked down the aisle. Ever since then, brides have worn white wedding dresses, each trying to recreate the magic of the old love story.
The Bridal Party
Across cultures and faiths, couples typically have groomsmen and bridesmaids. The bridal party is nearly ubiquitous. Perhaps it is a no to the fact that a couple needs a community to keep its love strong. Fundamentally, love is bigger than the people getting married, because it unites friends and families. The groomsmen and bridesmaids are intimately involved in the planning of the wedding and wedding-related events. In the West, the tradition of having a bridal party stemmed from the ancient Roman need to have 10 witnesses at a wedding in order for it to be legal. Women would stand with the bride, men with the groom. Often, the bridal party had no association with the bride or groom. The women would dress in the same color as the bride, so as to confuse evil spirits so they would not attack the couple.
The Wedding Processional
The wedding processional is commonly seen in most weddings. The processional walks down the aisle as the wedding begins, led by the officiant and followed by flower girls and ring bearers. More traditionally, the father of the bride walks the bride down the aisle. These days, both parents share that honor. This tradition began with the wedding of Queen Victoria’s oldest daughter, also named Victoria.
The First Dance
The first dance is awaited with great anticipation. It is the first chance for the couple to celebrate their new marriage. Some couples dance to a slow dance, others dance a much more modern and upbeat choreographed dance. This tradition exists across cultures. In the United States, it arrived by way of Europe, where the guest of honor would begin festivities with the first dance.
The Wedding Cake
The wedding cake is a grand thing. It’s no ordinary cake and can take months to create, from the idea to the final, dazzling product, the centrepiece at the wedding event venue. The couple is the first to eat the cake, feeding each other small slices of the cake, before it is cut up and shared with everyone else. In ancient Rome guests would crumble a wheat scone or small barley cake over the bride, blessing her with fertility and good fortune.