The USA and the UK are firm friends that share a lot of similarities. We both speak the same language, work the same hours, have the same democratic voting system, and share a lot of place names. However, one way in which the two nations differ is in the way they conduct weddings.
The basic principles are still the same in the USA and the UK. Many couples favor church weddings that are followed by reception parties that include cheesy music and dance routines. However, there are some discrepancies between the services that you may not expect. Here are the differences that you will notice between USA and UK wedding styles.
Bridal Showers/Bachelorette Party
There is a huge difference between bridal showers Vs bachelorette parties. A bridal shower is more restrained. This type of party focuses on bringing together all of the important people in the bride’s life to engage in an afternoon of reminiscing and games. A bachelorette party s more raucous. This is where the bride goes out on the town for drinks with some of her closest friends. A bachelorette party often goes on throughout the night and ends with a rather nasty hangover.
You may find it hard to believe, but the British brides favor a bachelorette party rather than the bridal showers that American citizens enjoy. You are far more likely to find a group of UK bridesmaids dressed up and engaging in a pub crawl than you are sitting around and drinking tea. There are more differences between a bridal shower vs. bachelorette party, but the UK preference is worth noting.
While a British bachelorette party is less formal than those in the USA, the same cannot be said for their wedding attire. This does not mean that people in the USA do not dress up smartly for their wedding ceremonies. Far from it. It is perfectly normal to attend a wedding in a full suit and tie, or even a tuxedo if you are brave enough. However, the Brits go that extra mile when it comes to dressing up for a wedding.
A wedding outfit in the UK can include a full three-piece suit, a brand new full-length dress, waistcoat, top hat, fascinator, or clutch bag. An invitation to a UK wedding is also an invitation to buy a new outfit, and the more formal, the better.
The wedding toast is an important part of both ceremonies. It is a chance to share your thoughts and extend best wishes to the happy couple. While both American and UK residents share the act of a wedding toast, the Brits also perform this ritual in a slightly less formal manner.
An American wedding toast is full of love and well-wishing, with those close to the bride and groom sharing treasured memories as the tears flow. In the UK, a wedding toast works more like a classic American roast. The aim is to embarrass the bride and groom, with the best-man speech being a particular highlight of the evening. There are still softer moments during the toasting segment; however, it is perfectly normal to make fun of a British bride and groom than it is in the USA.
Alcohol and weddings go hand in hand no matter what side of the Atlantic you happen to live on. Both British and American wedding guests like to drink during the reception, heightening the atmosphere and filling the dance floor with people that would normally sit peacefully in the corner. However, there is one big difference between the two countries’ ethos when it comes to wedding bars.
It is perfectly normal to walk up the bar and receive a drink at no charge in America. The price for guest drinks is often included in the wedding budget, which means that everyone can enjoy a free bar. Unfortunately, this is not the case for UK wedding attendees. These individuals will have to bring their wallets to the event as most receptions in the UK include a paid bar. It might sound cheap, but this usually occurs to limit the amount of alcohol that guests consume so that things don’t get out of hand. Wedding punch-ups have sort of become a stereotypical tradition in the UK, and these are usually the result of one too many lagers. For obvious reasons, most couples choose to avoid this part of their big day.
There are several anomalies when it comes to picking out bridesmaids’ dresses in the UK. For one, there are fewer superstitions about the color white. This means that all bridesmaids can show up wearing a white dress without any bother. In America, it is customary for only the bride to wear white, and it is considered unlucky for anyone in the bridal party to don the same color.
Also, while you may think that a paid bar is a bit cheap, the Brits do make up for it in other ways. For example, many brides are expected to pay for the bridesmaid’s dresses on top of their own gown. This can be quite expensive, so you can forgive them for cutting costs elsewhere.
The idea of ranking guests will sound completely foreign to American ears, but it is not as barbaric as it sounds. Guests are ranked in terms of closeness to the bride and groom in spate tiers. This allows first-tier guests to sit on the front row at the ceremony and nearer the bride and groom during the main meal.
In America, guests can sit wherever they choose, and it is common sense that those closest to the bride and groom can sit on the front row. However, you may also end up with a vague work colleague sitting behind them while a long-time school friend has to crane their neck to see. There are bonuses to both approaches, and ranking the guests is expected at UK weddings.
Some of these differences may seem alien to you; however, there is no denying that both countries have their quirks. At the end of the day, a wedding is still a wedding. All that matters is that the bride and groom want to celebrate their union with those they care about.