An American wedding is typically a happy, joyous occasion for all people of all backgrounds. American wedding traditions really vary from one religion or culture to another, but in American wedding tradition it's a happy time and the life of the new bride and groom is toasted and celebrated as they come together.
Every American wedding has subtle traditional elements, but there are no really strict guidelines that we follow when planning our big day. Over the last ten years, wedding etiquette has really relaxed and American wedding traditions have become a lot more liberal. This new liberal outlook has enabled couples to marry in a style that they are comfortable with, instead of the sometimes rigid standards that some used to associate with American wedding tradition.
One American wedding tradition is still the white dress for the bride. Brides only used to wear white if she was still a virgin and it was her first wedding. American tradition now dictates that any bride can wear white proudly, even though the second weddings tend to be a little bit less formal. The white dress really seals the deal though, and most women choose to wear it!
Another American wedding tradition is to have the ceremony in a church or place of worship. Those that don't have the ceremony in a place of worship usually have a member of the church clergy marry them in another location such as outdoors in the mountains. The majority of people still get married in a place of worship, involving faith in their union, even with less rigid etiquette.
One great follow up to an American wedding is a reception or big party celebrating the bride and groom. The reception usually includes a meal, dancing, and mingling among friends and family of both the bride and the groom. A reception really is a great way to get everyone together as the two families really sort of merge as a result of the wedding. Receptions are often the most anticipated event when planning the wedding because there is so much to plan for!
Following an American wedding and reception it's a tradition for the bride and the groom to go on a honeymoon or vacation. The honeymoon was originally done for the bride and the groom to go away and enjoy the company of one another with chaperones for the first time, and even consummate their marriage. Now, it's more about getting away and just enjoying one another for the first time. A honeymoon gives a new husband and wife the chance to dote on each other with no distractions to sort of nurture the new union.
An American wedding has really morphed into a wedding of personal preference. Couples are free to plan a wedding and join in matrimony as they please and when they please. As long as there is a wedding certificate, all is legal, and everything else is up to them. Unlike many other cultures, there are no rigid guidelines or laws about marriage.
In America all you have to do is love someone, and you can marry him or her! And really, what's better than being free to marry and love whom you wish to? Just one more reason for America is so great...