American Wedding Traditions

wedding-ringJust like the vast majority of countries throughout the world, the United States has many wedding traditions that are unique to our country. Though America shares many of the same classic traditions that are found everywhere else, much of the time there is a unique flavor added that can’t be seen anywhere else. On the flipside, since we have the most diverse collection of cultures on the planet, you will see traditions from other countries occurring at wedding ceremonies here in America. Nevertheless, the vast majority of American weddings have a style all their own and utilize traditions that make them uniquely American. Below, we will discuss some of these American wedding traditions to give everyone a better understanding of what to expect at a ceremony.


Getting engaged is a tradition that dates back for centuries, and it is almost always part of the marriage process in America. Traditionally, the man will get down on one knee and ask for her hand in marriage, then slip a gold diamond ring on here finger as a symbol of their love. Though this is still typically the case, some couples prefer rubies or other gemstones to diamonds or platinum instead of gold.


One of the more unique things that we do in America and not in many other countries throughout the world is our wedding invitation system. Most couples send out a “save the date” postcard well in advance of their invitations, and then send the actual invitations a few months before the wedding date with an RSVP card to return. Guests are expected to return their RSVP card whether or not they plan to attend, but many guests will simply not send the card back at all.

Rehearsal Dinner

Having a rehearsal dinner is a key part of any American wedding ceremony. Though it is common sense to get together the day before the wedding to go through the motions and ensure it will all go smoothly, getting your bridal party and family together for a group meeting before the big day has become a tradition. The wedding day is very busy, so taking a moment to share with your closest friends and family is also a welcome idea.

Not Seeing the Bride

Though it may be superstitious, many couples in America observe the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride before the ceremony. While most couples don’t actually believe this would lead to bad luck, most of those same couples will still practice this tradition.


Many countries include something similar to a wedding reception after their ceremonies to celebrate the union of two people, but America has its own set of traditions at this type of event. Usually guests will be greeted with some sort of small trinket such as sparklers for weddings, salt and pepper shakers, or even a small basket of hard candies. Next, they can move up to the open bar to enjoy complimentary drinks before dinner. Following drinks, dinner is served along with the wedding cake. Lastly, everyone makes their way out to the dance floor until the reception ends later in the evening.

Wedding Gifts

Though most couples would not consider a gift as a requirement, most people find it traditional to give at least a card with some money to the bride and groom. Normally, the couple will register at a store or series of stores with a huge list of things they are interested in owning. Their friends and family can then go to the store, select an item off their gift registry, and drop it off at the gift table on their way into the reception hall.


Lastly, the newlywed couple will often plan a vacation that immediately follows the wedding reception. Usually couples go somewhere tropical, but they may also choose to go somewhere more romantic like Rome or Paris. Originally, the honeymoon was meant for the couple to go somewhere private to conceive their first child, but that tradition is all but extinct. Instead, the honeymoon is now looked at as an opportunity to start their life out on the right foot by giving each other the love and attention needed to have a blossoming relationship for years to come.