American Wedding Customs
Weddings are important all around the world. They are events where two people will confirm their love for each other through the undying bond of marriage. Weddings are held practically every day all throughout the United States.
In fact, the number of weddings in the United States every year is exceptionally high. It is estimated that there are nearly 2.1 million marriages held in the United States in a typical year.
Weddings are held all around the United States but they all have their own specific and appealing customs. These special routines are designed to make the wedding experience all the more memorable.
The Bridal Shower
A bridal shower typically occurs weeks before the wedding. This is a time when friends of the couple getting married will shower them with gifts. This is to help them have a great start in their new lives together.
This tradition started in the late nineteenth century when the bride and many of her friends and family members would get together for a party before the wedding. In fact, a few gifts were placed in an umbrella. The bride would then open the umbrella as many gifts are “showered” down upon her.
Bridesmaids always wear the same identical type of dress at a wedding. This is done as a symbol of luck and hope for the new bride. This is also symbolic in that it confuses any evil spirits that may try and harm the bride on the way to her wedding.
The White Gown
The white gown for the bride is a key custom of any wedding. It is a symbol of purity and peace. It is also a sign of hope for the future. While some women might prefer to wear dresses in other colors, they typically look for lighter-colored tones for such dresses.
Regardless of the color, black is off-limits when it comes to choosing a gown color. Black is often seen as a color of mourning in the United States. It may also be too dour for a wedding.
Also, while red has long been seen as a traditional color for a wedding dress in China, it is bad luck in the United States. Red represents how the bride might wish that she had never gotten married. Therefore, white has become a more important color for dresses even in China. This is a part of American wedding customers that has carried itself over to the rest of the world.
Symbols During the Ceremony
There are a number of symbolic actions that take place during an American wedding:
- The couple will light what is called a unity candle. This is a single candle that symbolizes the love for each other. It is also symbolic of the union of people from separate families into their own grouping.
- Rings are exchanged between the bride and groom. These are given as symbols of love between the two. These are typically brought out to the couple by a young child who bears the rings.
- Vows are often read at the altar. These are typically written by the bride and groom and are read to each other. They are read to confirm their love and to offer their pledges for a positive and romantic life together.
Tossing Things For Luck
When the couple leaves the altar, many people will toss small items at them. Rice and bird seed are often tossed at them. It is a message of great luck to the couple. It originates from ancient Rome when people would throw coins at new couples as a means of providing them with great fortune and luck.
Uncooked rice may especially be tossed at couples as a symbol of fertility. It is in the hopes that the couple will have children. Some people prefer not to throw rice as they fear that birds will be harmed if they consume the rice. This is in spite of that being just a myth.
Sometimes wedding guests just blow bubbles at the couple for good luck. This is due to how small items like rice or bird seed can get stuck in one’s hair and outfit.
Tossing the Bouquet
One tradition that the bride does when leaving the wedding is that he will take the bouquet of flowers she has and toss them into a crowd of single women. It is believed that whoever catches the bouquet will be the next woman to be married. It is a custom that gives many women who are looking for love hope for the future.
How the Dancing At the Reception Works
Dancing is one of the most popular customs at a wedding reception in the United States. There are a few rules for how the dances at the reception will work:
- The new couple will dance with one another at the start. This is done briefly before they go on to dance with other people.
- The bride and groom will then dance with a parent. Each person may also dance with other members of a wedding party.
- In cases where children are involved, the married couple will have dances with their kids. These include mother and son dances plus father and daughter dances.
- After those dances, the married couple will get back together for another dance. This may be done with a very romantic song or with a more orchestral flair.
The type of music that will be played at these dances will vary based on the selections that the couple chooses. The songs may be romantic or they might have some rather specific meanings to the couple. These include songs that they have strong emotional relationships with.
The honeymoon is a wedding custom that takes place after the wedding. This is where the new couple will go on a vacation together. The concept originated as the groom would often abduct his own bride after the wedding and head to a hidden location for a period of time. Today the honeymoon has evolved in that people know where the couple is. Also, both the bride and groom have an equal say as to where they want to have their honeymoon at.