HomeExperienceCulture & ArtWedding Customs Around the World: USA

Wedding Customs Around the World: USA

When many of us think of weddings, several things come to mind, like white gowns, flowers, receptions, bridesmaids, groomsmen, cake, party favors, etc. In a traditional sense, all of these things are perfectly normal in a standard wedding. 

But have you ever considered that there is a WORLD of wedding customs and traditions outside the realm of traditional thinking? 

There are so many traditions around the world that are unique and equally important to the standard American wedding customs we all know. In this new series, City Signal will explore the customs and traditions that few people know about.

To kick things off, we will begin with the United States. Let’s take a trip around the nation and investigate some non-traditional wedding customs and traditions. (Fun Fact: Many of these traditions are old customs in the southern states)

Proxy Bride

This unique custom is traditionally found in the southern states. The bride chooses someone who is not in her wedding party to be her “proxy” bride. The Proxy Bride will stand in for her during the rehearsal and other pre-wedding events. This gives the bride a chance to confer with her wedding planner and see the ceremony from the outside. 

Usually, ribbons and bows are kept from the bridal showers held before the wedding. The various ribbons are used to make the proxy bride a “bouquet”. 

For all of your ribbons, bows, and tinsel needs in NYC, give M&J Trimming a visit, right down the street from the Bryant Park Towers.

Burying the Bourbon

This southern custom is more “superstition” than custom. This age-old tradition is supposed to keep rain from ruining “the big day”. Approximately 30 days before the wedding, the bride and groom bury a full bottle of bourbon at the wedding site. The trick is to bury the bottle upside down and the bottle must be full!

Give Park Avenue Liquor Shop a visit if you need to buy a bottle for your wedding. The local liquor shop for residents of the Fifth Avenue Tower.

Cake Pulls

With roots from the Victorian era, cake pulls are still traditional in some parts of the United States. Symbolic charms are attached to ribbons that are baked into the bottom of the wedding cake. A small pieces of ribbon stick out from the cake. 

At the reception, the bridesmaids and single ladies each pull a ribbon from the cake. The charm that is attached will be a sign from the universe, telling the future of the lady who pulled it from the cake. 

Sometimes, the cake pull tradition is not done during the reception. Similar events are held at the rehearsal dinner or other pre-wedding events. Piñatas with ribbons and charms inside are also great ideas if a “cake pull” doesn’t tickle your fancy or if you want a fun event without disturbing the look of your wedding cake.

Trashing the Dress

With origins in Las Vegas, trashing your wedding dress has become a popular tradition for getting some wild and crazy wedding photos. Remember, wedding gowns are an average of $1200, and people are purposely ruining them for the sake of photography.

Many brides who participate in this newer tradition opt to jump in a swimming pool and the photographer takes stunning underwater photos. Some prefer to stand in non-traditional settings such as abandoned buildings or mud pits while riding ATVs. Whatever is chosen, the gown is sure to be in worse condition than in the ceremony.

If you are interested in Trashing the Dress photography at your wedding, visit Leyre Photography

Charivari-Disturbing the Newlyweds

This strange custom dates back to the Middle Ages. We all can agree that newlyweds want to be congratulated or they want to receive well wishes after the ceremony. With Charivari, the newlyweds are disturbed DURING their wedding night. 

This odd custom was even tolerated by President Grover Cleveland on his wedding night. The participants in this tradition usually play very loud music outside of the newlyweds’ homes Sometimes they blow horns or yell loudly.

Even the United States has some odd customs that you may never have heard of. Some customs are normal in certain parts of the US, while others are widespread. If you are preparing for a wedding yourself, be sure to make yours as unique as you are. 

Kristi Hill is a freelance writer who loves to travel, cook and watch college football. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually listening to classic rock and spending time with her dog, Chico.