Meraki Image

WESTERN WEDDING TRADITIONS

Wedding traditions of every country always bring the beauty of its culture through each historical period. Although the culture, conceptions, and rituals of weddings will change over time, the ultimate meaning of the wedding nuptials will always be to honor the beauty of human love. Let’s take a look at some of the traditions that usually happen in a typical American wedding and how different they are to the Asian wedding traditions.

First look

First look is an intimate moment when the couple sees each other fabulous on their wedding day before the ceremony. This modern idea opposes the old Western tradition of not seeing each other until the bride is coming down the aisle.

First look is not only the time when the couple settle their nerves and stress but also a private moment to spend together before entering the ceremony. And we believe that this is always one of the most special and emotional moments on a wedding day. In addition to the first look with the groom, the bride also does a first look with her father and her bridal party.

First touch

Some brides want their partner to first see them beautifully in a wedding gown on the aisle, so “first look” isn’t something that best fits their call. 

A first touch, on the other hand, could be a wiser choice. It is a sweet and private moment for the couple to exchange notes or just have a quick chat to get rid of some jitters without seeing each other.

On first touch, the couple normally stand at the corner of a building, divided by a door, or standing back to back. Then, they reach out for each other’s hand and exchange words from the heart

First dance

The first dance of a married couple is a popular element at modern American and European wedding celebrations. The first dance shows love and wholeness. It is the most awaited moment for the newlyweds as well as the guests.

To brush up on their dancing skills and to make sure they’ve got all the right steps, some couples will invest in a dance class. The first dance usually takes place at the beginning of the reception, after dinner, or following the cake-cutting. The first dance song, too, is one of the most important musical selections for the wedding day. It’s meaningful, reflects the couple’s love story, and usually is the kick-off of the party.

Wedding toasts

Wedding toast is a celebratory speech made to congratulate the happy couple who have just tied the knot. It normally tells the relationship of the toaster to the bride or groom, the anecdotes about them, feelings and thoughts, as well as good wishes.

Toast in American weddings are generally hilarious, memorable, and totally sweet. The clinking of the glasses is thought to keep off any evil spirits who may be lurking nearby, ready to bring bad doing to a wedding couple. The American traditional wedding speech order should go: father of the bride, groom, bride, bridesmaids/maid of honor, best man. The best man’s speech always go last.

Cake cutting

The cake cutting is the first task that the bride and groom perform jointly as husband and wife and it reflects the life they will share as a couple. It symbolizes his support for her and her promise to take care of him and their family. After cutting the cake, the couple will then feed each other a piece of cake and sip the champagne.

One of the old traditions of Western, which is also not so common in Asian, is preserving the top of wedding cake. Traditionally speaking, the top tier of a wedding cake is often saved and preserved to be eaten once again at one of two occasions— the couple’s one-year anniversary or their first child’s christening. Depending on the cake ingredients and how proper it’s stored, the cake can be as delightful and tasteful after a long time.

Another popular tradition of the Western is having a groom cake. Unlike the bride’s cake, which is basic and minimalist, the groom’s cake is fully influenced by him, reflecting his interests and favorite hobbies. It normally will be cut after the bride’s cake.

Bouquet toss

The bouquet toss has been practiced for hundreds of years and has developed over time. Traditionally, the bouquet toss is open to all unmarried ladies with a meaning of whoever catches it will be the next in line to wed. Bouquet toss usually happens toward the end of the reception.

To the bride, it is a fun way to share the spotlight with her single friend as long as the good luck. For the lucky woman who catches the bouquet, if she hasn’t met the person of her dreams, at least she will come home happy with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.

Garter toss

The wedding garter is a piece of bridal lingerie, which the bride wears under her gown. During the reception, the groom will (with his hands or teeth) pull the garter from beneath the bride’s gown and fling it into the crowd of unmarried men. 

The garter toss now represents the bride and groom’s transition from single to wedded life. It is similar to the bouquet toss in that the person who catches the garter is considered to be the next man to be married. Although this tradition is not popular in Asia, people usually combine a bouquet toss for both unmarried men and women instead.

One of the joys of our work is making traditional rituals unique to couples and reflecting their uniqueness to the fullest. Some couples choose to stick with traditional rituals, some add their own, and some completely skip it altogether in favor of starting a new family tradition. There is no right or wrong way, as long as it’s meaningful to the couple.