21 American Wedding Traditions That Couples Continue to Use in This Century 

couple kissing on wooden bridge during daytime

     By Eivan’s Wedding Team  article author

American wedding traditions have been around for many years. They have come up as the rules of a normal wedding. Some of these customs are silly and fun, most being iconic throughout generations.

To some, these are ancient wedding traditions that do not have any meaning. To others, they are not rules but fun to explore and make the big day enjoyable. The traditions that Americans in the United States follow are from other countries. Most of the origin countries already threw them out.

man in black suit jacket smiling beside man in black suit

Let’s have a look at some common ones that you did not know they were traditional.

The Best Man

If you thought the law required you to have a best man as your witness, think again. The best man is a custom and comes from the quality of a man’s swordsmanship. Once upon a time, weddings were business transactions and not a union of love.

The groom needed to find a good swordsmanship to help deal with the transactions. Sometimes deal with a bride’s angry family members or find a runaway bride that might not consent to the union. Today, a best man is usually a best friend chosen from an ongoing relationship not skills.

silver diamond ring on white flower

The Engagement Ring

According to wedding customs, couples in America enjoy a modern engagement party. Engagement bands began in Ancient Egypt, the circle symbolizing a never ending love. A diamond on the engagement ring came from Sicilians who believed the stone was a sign of the fiery love.

Today, couples wear rings or forgo them altogether. Some get a tattoo on their fingers to symbolize their marriage. Others wear bracelets, necklaces or whatever they choose to represent their love.

Kids in black suit holding brown book

The Ring Bearer’s Pillow

An American wedding tradition that symbolized the promises of dreams coming true for the couple. A small child carries the pillow to represent innocence and new beginnings together. Today, we see all sorts of ring bearer’s pillow, could be the couple chooses the best pillow for the sweetest dreams!

woman in white sleeveless dress standing beside woman in blue dress

Page Boys

In traditional weddings page boys carried a bride’s train down the aisle. Today, these sweet little men present the wedding rings. They are ring bearers across the United States. They age between 3 to 10 years old and are close relation to the bride and groom.

person wearing red ribbon on white textile

The Garter Toss

This tradition originates from France and England. Guests would fight to get it from the bride as it symbolized good luck to whoever got it. To avoid the embarrassment of a rowdy mob trying to get the garter. The newlyweds would toss it to the crowd to be able to distract the crowd and run off to the wedding reception. Today, the groom throws the garter to a group of single men. Whoever catches it is to be the next lucky man to marry.

The Wedding Bells

The Irish believed bells would send away evil spirits and give a happy marriage to the newlyweds. Some Irish brides carry small bells in their bouquets to keep away bad luck. Bells are rang in today’s weddings as an announcement, here comes the married couple.

The Threshold Carry

Medieval Europe is the origin of this tradition. They said the bride loved her parents so much she did not want to leave them after the wedding ceremony. The groom carrying her across the threshold was to get his bride home. The threshold carry today is more done for fun.

white wedding gown on brown wooden frame

The White wedding dress

White wedding gowns came into effect during the Victorian era and never left the American wedding traditions. Queen Victoria started a trend that seems to have stuck with us till time immemorial. It’s even known as American white wedding where the bride adorns her white dress for the big day.

The Honeymoon

Even the honeymoon is a custom. The honeymoon served as a hideaway for the couple. After the wedding day, the husband had to drive her bride away so that her family would not find them.

They were usually gone for about a month. The honeymoon is still relevant to the American wedding culture. It’s hard to imagine how weddings would be without a honeymoon.

Bridal showers

Yep, its traditional too! Bridal showers were not meant to be a party for the bride to receive gifts. In 1500s, bridal showers were to help raise dowry money for brides and their families in Europe.

It was for those who could not afford one. Today, bachelorette parties in America are to spoil the bride before her wedding day.

man in black suit jacket holding white and green floral cake

Wedding Cake

In ancient time, the wedding cake represented fertility. Pieces of cake over the brides head during the ceremony were to bless them. The guest also picked up the pieces and carried the home to keep them for good fortune.

Cake toppers only came into life during the Victorian days. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had their small figurines on their wedding cake. Today, the wedding cake continues to thrive with cake toppers in high demand. Americans own unique custom was the grooms’ cake that originated from the South.

Something old, Something new, Something borrowed and Something blue

This old custom meant everything to the couple. The old was the old ties to the bride’s family and her past. Something new was the life ahead with her husband.

Something borrowed was an item from someone who is in a successful marriage to pass on the good fortune. Finally, something blue was for loyalty, purity and faithfulness. Today, they are used in many wedding ceremonies.

Did you know America has also come up with new traditions for the 21st couple.

Let’s see what they entail:

  • The wedding registry: Most couples want wedding gifts of their own choice. Instead they open a wedding registry in a store of their choice. The store works with the wedding guests to choose the right gifts that the couple had spotted before.
  • Wedding vows: The bride and groom write their own vows. They do not continue to use the traditional ones.
  • Seeing the bride before the ceremony: Couples today are spending more time together planning their nuptials.
  • Lighting unity candles or making a unity sand vase: The bride and groom each lights a candle, together they light a larger one to symbolize their new union.
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