The American versus The British Style Wedding…

Morning all!   I thought I'd open up today with something a little bit different;  a guest post by Erika Unbehaun of Flutterfly Events – an American Wedding Planner working in London.  I bet Erika has seen a whole variety of weddings in her time, and it is with this in mind that she wrote this short but interesting piece comparing American to British style weddings. I think it's good to throw something a little different in to the pot every once in a while! 😉

Image Below Copyright (c) 2011, Cat Hepple

On a beautiful British summer morning, the wedding day is finally here. The guests have been seated and are waiting for the grand entrance of the bride. The procession starts and in walk the bridesmaids. Hold on…we’re in Britain (!), I thought the bridesmaids enter after the bride? Is this an American couple? In this story they’re British but in reality more and more British couples are incorporating American wedding traditions into their weddings and looking to the US for inspiration.

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photography Copyright (c) 2011, Lisa Devlin
See the full 'A Very British Wedding for a London Loving Bride' here on Love My Dress


 As an American wedding planner in London, I’ve watched British couples take on American traditions and trends more so in the last two years than ever before. With the boom of wedding blogs and the increase of brides who want to have a unique and personlised wedding, it’s easy to find creative ways to incorporate traditions from another country.  As long as it’s meaningful for the couple and won’t confuse guests, swinging a new tradition is worth the effort!

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For all of you American and British readers who’d like to shake thinks up a bit, check out the differences between American weddings and British weddings then think about incorporating one into your wedding. Heck, even do two!


The Pre Wedding Celebrations…



In America, the Bride get's together with her best friends and maids to have her 'Bachelorette' party prior to the wedding.

In Britain, this is known as 'A Hen Party', of course! 🙂

The Grooms have a Bachelor's Party prior to the wedding day    

The Brit's have a 'Stag do'.


The Ceremony…



The groom faces the congregation so he can watch his bride walk down the aisle

The groom has his back towards the congregation and does not get to watch his bride walk down the aisle L

The bride walks down the aisle after her bridesmaids

The bride walks down the aisle before her bridesmaids

The wedding party stands with the bride and groom for the duration of the ceremony

The wedding party sits with the congregation for the ceremony


The Reception…



Sit down meals are shorter at your typical American wedding so more time can be spent on the dance floor

Brits like to enjoy their meal and make this the focal point of the wedding reception


Many guests hit the dance floor in-between dinner courses.


Dancing is reserved for after the meal

American wedding cakes are made of sponge and the tiers are usually stacked on top of one another. During the cake cutting ceremony, the newlyweds will hand feed each other a piece of cake.  Sometimes, they will stuff the cake into each other's faces! 😉

British wedding cakes are traditionally made of fruit cake and are displayed using pillars inbetween each tier. While this tradition is slowly fading out, many traditional weddings still order fruit cake, however, most couples now ask for stacked tiers.

Top Table:

The American top table consists of the bridal party and is seated man/woman/man/woman, with the bride and groom in the middle, the best man next to the bride, and the maid of honour next to the groom.

Top Table:

The British top table consists of parents and honour attendants. When looking at the table, the order from left to right is; Chief bridesmaid, groom’s father, bride’s mother, groom, bride, bride’s father, groom’s mother, best man.

The first dance is typically held after the bride and groom are announced into the dining room.

The first dance takes place after the cake cutting ceremony, which happens after the meal.

An American bride tosses a bouquet into a crowd of bachelorettes, while the groom lifts up his bride’s gown to pull off a garter and fling it into a group of bachelors. Rumour has it that the woman/man who catches the bouquet/garter will be the next in line to get married!

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a six pence in her shoe.  This last part of the ancient superstition is unique to the British. The Americans never caught on to that part!

Thank you Erika! Really interesting to see how traditions differ across the pond!

 I followed an American tradition and down the aisle after my Bridemaids did.  I also never tossed my bouquet, although that wasn't me following any cultural custom! I simply wanted to keep the bouquet and hang dry the flowers 🙂

Are you incorporating any custom practice or tradition from another country or culture?  Would love to get some chat going about how different countries and cultures do different things at weddings, it fascinates me!  In pulling together this piece I was trying to find an infographic for the UK that I could compare with this one for the USA, but I couldn't. If anyone knows of one, please do tell!

For further information about Erika and her Flutterfly Events business,visit, email or ring 020 7536 9160 | 0787 217 1660.  You can also find Flutterfly Events on Twitter and Facebook.

 Wedding goodness coming up shortly 🙂

Much love all,

Annabel xXx 🙂


Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.