Probably there is no such person who would not see footage dedicated to marriage in American feature films. However, the movie does not give a complete picture of the ceremony. And many people are worried about exactly how the American wedding takes place, what customs and traditions are observed in preparation for the celebration and during its actual implementation. Many people are completely sure that in the USA there are no special traditions that would be steadily observed at every ceremony. But that's not the case at all. Moreover, wedding customs in America, like all other holiday traditions, people try to observe completely.
How do the US feel about ceremonies and their traditions?
An American wedding is a list of strict rules that must be followed, and a certain sequence of events. You can't just walk into a chapel and walk out as spouses, unless, of course, the bride and groom are in Las Vegas. But this "city of quick marriages" has its own traditions.
Americans, in their vast majority, are extremely conservative people. This means that it is important for them that the ceremony is not only beautiful, but also consistent with all historically established rules.
How long does it take from engagement to ceremony?
How is an American wedding going and what are its main differences from the Russian one? Firstly, the ceremony itself consists of two mandatory stages, between which at least six months must pass. Of course, we are talking about the betrothal of a couple and the direct registration of their union. The time interval between these stages, which did not last six months, is considered a violation of decency. If a couple is in a hurry to register their relationship, then this is the reason for the emergence of various rumors and gossip. As a rule, people begin to think that the bride is pregnant and by getting married or registering her family is trying to “cover up the sin.”
Of course, in our time, few people are interested in whether a girl is in a position or not. This rule originated in the time of the first settlers. However, it is still respected. Moreover, one should not only rush into the wedding, but also delay it. If a year passes between the betrothal and the wedding or registration, then this is considered a sign of uncertainty about the advisability of concluding a marriage union or the presence of some obstacles. That is, excessive slowness, as well as haste, is a reason for human rumors. And they, in turn, have a bad effect on the reputation of the families of the bride and groom, as well as the spouses themselves.
The optimal time interval between the engagement and registration of relations is considered to be a period of six to twelve months. Typically, most Americans get married eight months after their engagement.
Do I need to pay duty?
The laws in the US are very strict and even rigid, especially those that constitute "family law" or govern tax matters. If in Russia it is enough to pay the fee and bring a receipt confirming this to the registry office, then in the USA everything is much more complicated.
Before getting married, you must not only pay a tax, but also go through a series of medical and legal procedures. Their list depends on the age of the people who are going to start a family and on the state in which they intend to register their relationship. The amount of the fee is also different in each state. As for medical procedures, in most states this means confirming the sanity of the bride and groom. Lawyers usually find out if there are any legal obstacles to marriage.
Marriage age also varies by state. There are no restrictions on registering relationships due to advanced age, if the spouses are of sound mind and do not take strong medicines. But same-sex marriages are not registered in any of the states.
How many rings do you need for a wedding?
Many believe that the ceremony requires only two wedding rings. In Russia this is truesometimes enough, but in the US - no. American traditions dictate the need for a minimum of three rings - two for women and one for men.
However, each jewelry store will offer a man who is about to make a marriage proposal, two options for sets. The first option, or as it is also called, “set”, includes three rings necessary for the ceremony, made in the same style. The second option, "full" consists of four rings. Jewelers add one more spare ring to the basic “complete set”, that is, to the three obligatory rings.
When does preparation for the celebration begin and end?
An American wedding is a very pompous and expensive celebration. Of course, it requires careful preparation. However, it is impossible to start preparing for the holiday until the moment when the betrothal is over. But you should not delay the preparation of the celebration either.
As a rule, preparations for this event begin a week after the engagement. Preparation is considered completed only after the “general rehearsal”. In other words, before the wedding, the bride and groom, their parents, best man and girlfriends play the entire upcoming ceremony, including the ceremonial dinner. Of course, they don't have to try all the dishes, but the rehearsal of cutting the birthday cake is a must.
All this is held on the eve of the bachelor and bachelorette parties, they mark the end of preparations for the celebration. It is curious that the organizers of the wedding have nothing to do with the holidays of "farewell to the bachelor life."Bachelor and hen parties are traditionally organized by the bridesmaids and the groomsman.
What is a wedding script? Who composes it?
The classic American wedding scenario is very simple. It has several mandatory items, to which the organizers add something at the request of the spouses or their relatives.
Required items include:
- arrival of the groom and best man at the place of marriage;
- arrival of the bridesmaids and her father;
- placement of the bride in a separate room;
- gathering guests;
- occupation of the future husband and his witness in the position at the altar;
- girl exits arm in arm with her father, who brings her to the priest or registrar and steps back, taking a seat in the front row;
- wedding itself or registration;
- beginning of the banquet;
- speech of the father of the bride;
- cutting the cake;
- throwing the bouquet;
- departure of newlyweds;
- end of the holiday.
This is the "skeleton" of the celebration. Many intermediate points are added to it, which depend not only on the wishes of the spouses and their relatives, but also on where exactly the American wedding will take place. For example, when getting married in a church, the “decoration of the hall” item will be added. And if the celebration will be held outdoors, then you will need awnings, portable furniture and garlands.
The scenario of a wedding, as well as its organization, is usually entrusted to professionals. In the US, there are a lot of agencies involved in organizing these celebrations.However, if desired, the scenario of the holiday can be entrusted to relatives or friends. It is not customary to organize a wedding on your own. It is believed that the bride and groom have many other concerns.
What are the couple doing before the ceremony?
When watching an American holiday, sometimes it seems that the groom at the wedding is a very minor figure. Most of the traditions and customs are associated with the bride and her relatives, and the future husband, in fact, only pronounces marriage vows and puts a ring on the girl’s finger, which the best man holds out to him.
During the preparation for the celebration, little depends on the groom either. Traditionally, his "duties" include choosing or drafting the texts of marriage vows. Of course, the purchase of rings is also the concern of the future husband.
The bride is busy choosing a dress for herself and the bridesmaids who will surround her at the celebration. It is also customary to consult with her in matters of designing the venue for the holiday.
But everything related to the invitations to the holiday, the bride and groom do together. That is, they choose what the invitation will be and determine the circle of guests. The future spouses give the full list of guests to the wedding organizer. The future newlyweds are personally involved in sending out invitations. Although, this moment is not fundamental. If a lot of guests are expected, then the organizers can also send out invitations.
What does the father of the bride do at the wedding?
The girl's dad is one of the main figures at the celebration. In some statesthere are even humorous sayings that there may not be a groom at the celebration, but the father of the bride must be present. In the event that, for some reason, the girl’s father cannot take part in the wedding, then an older relative replaces him. In this case, the "planted father" takes part in the celebration.
A new tradition arose at the end of the last century. The role of the "planted father" began to be played by the bride's friends, of course, men. It is also not uncommon for these functions to be taken over by one of the colleagues at work.
What does the father of the bride do? Firstly, it is he who gives the signal to start the celebration after he is convinced of the readiness of the groom, guests and, of course, his own daughter. He also brings the bride to the altar, that is, he symbolically transfers the right to take care of the girl to her future spouse.
No American wedding is complete without a celebratory feast, but his father's speech opens the newlywed. This is an unshakable tradition, which is not customary to break. If the father is absent from the celebration, then the eldest male relative or the one who led the girl to the altar makes a speech. The mother of the newlywed does not have to make a speech opening the banquet, as this is considered indecent. There is also a sign according to which the opening of a feast by a newly-made mother-in-law promises her constant interference in the lives of the young.