North American Wedding Traditions

bride image by cherie from

The United States is comprised of many different ethnicities and cultural influences, which span the globe, influencing the traditions of wedding ceremonies. Traditions unique to cultural and religious backgrounds might be observed in a North American wedding. However, American influences have carried over and dominate older customs and superstitions around the wedding event. Weddings are considered by many to be the most important day in a person’s life. Extreme care and detail is put into planning to insure a perfect day.


North American weddings take place in various types of venues, including places of worship, resorts and hotels. The church is the most popular venue for North American weddings, often reflecting the backgrounds of the couple. Wedding chapels are also trendy venues, and the most renowned in the U.S. are located in Las Vegas, Nevada. They appeal to couples looking to wed and honeymoon in the same location and for a cheap price. Gardens and beaches are other types of venues that create a backdrop for a memorable North American wedding.


Order of service, religious customs, gifts, wedding party etiquette and ceremonial rituals vary depending on the background of the couple and their families. Common aspects of North American weddings are an intricately decorated wedding cake, a symbol of the couple’s love (rings) and a wedding party of bridesmaids and groomsmen. North American weddings are not prearranged, as a bride and groom have the option of choosing their mate on the basis of love. The ceremony is either religious or civil. The father of the bride gives her away to the groom at the start of the wedding ceremony.

History of White Wedding Dress

The history of the white wedding dress began with the British wedding of Queen Victoria to Albert Saxe-Coburg in 1840. Then the white wedding dress was a symbol of wealth and affluence because it could only be worn once due to the difficulty in cleaning it. North american brides adopted the trend and chose a white wedding dress to exude style and classiness as well as show off their wealth in order to imitate the wealth of the monarch. With the introduction of the television and the emergence of Hollywood stars, the white wedding dress has become a staple in North American weddings.


There is a traditional time line of events that take place around a couple getting married. The man traditionally proposes to the women. The couple gets engaged. Announcements go out announcing the engaged couple and an upcoming wedding date. A wedding takes place followed by a wedding reception. The reception features food and drinks for the attendees. Usually, the couple leaves the reception and goes directly to a destination to celebrate their honeymoon.

Bouquet Significance

North American brides carry a bouquet of flowers. The flowers symbolize the bride’s emotions toward the marriage. Intricate floral designs will include cascading arrangements or pomander balls wrapped in delicate fabric. Throwing the bouquet after the ceremony symbolizes the bride giving her good luck of love to the person who catches the bouquet.