How Much Do You Know About the Differences Between US and UK Wedding Traditions?

By: Jouviane Alexandre
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue - these might be your good luck charms for your wedding, or will it be a horseshoe? Now that we've had time for a little rhyme, can you pick which of these is happening in the United States and which is happening across the pond in the U.K.?

There are certain customs that span the entire globe regardless of the culture. You'll often see brides wearing white. They'll be "given away" by their fathers who walk them down the aisle. And you might hear of friends being carried over thresholds by their new husbands. Although the similarities are what help us join the two cultures, the differences make for an interesting quiz! With an entire ocean separating them, it seems to make sense that there would be some massive differences between the United States' and the United Kingdom's wedding traditions. One nation expects a speech from the maid of honor while the other usually goes without. In one country, you'll often find the bridesmaid wearing white while it's a major faux pas in the other.

For some, the differences might seem insignificant. Depending on where it is, the wedding traditions will decide if you're shelling out a few hundred dollars on a bridesmaid dress versus whether the bride is buying it for you! Are you ready to walk down the aisle? Do you have a bouquet of wedding knowledge stuck in your head?- because here comes the quiz!

While their US counterparts call it their "bachelor party," what do the UK grooms refer to it as?

Rather than calling it their bachelor party in the UK, you'll find the grooms across the pond calling it their "stag night." This term "stag" is used to refer to being alone at a party.

Which of these countries has cocktail hour?

The cocktail hour is usually a 1-2 hour period before the wedding reception where guests are able to have appetizers and a few drinks. While it's almost a guarantee in the United States, it isn't something that is practiced in the UK.

In a UK wedding, who are you expecting to see walk down the aisle first?

In the US, it is common practice for the bridesmaids to walk down the aisle for in anticipation for the bride. In the UK, however, you'd find the bride walking down the aisle first; she is then followed by her bridesmaids.

In the UK, speeches are meant to cause tears of what?

In the United States, it is common for the speeches to be written to move the entire crowd, including the bride and groom. In the UK, their speeches are almost like a roast, meant to make everyone, especially the newlyweds, cry in laughter.

During the US wedding reception, what is the groom pulling down under his wife's dress?

A popular American custom is the garter toss. Before that can happen, the groom must first remove it from his wife's thigh! It's a humorous part of the celebration and many couples get saucy with their display.

If you were getting married in the UK, which of these places would be almost impossible for you to get married at?

One major difference between US and UK weddings is that your venue HAS to have a wedding license. This makes things like getting married at a discreet, personal location impossible. One requirement is that it also has to be open to the public!

During the garter toss, who is the groom throwing it to?

When it comes to the garter toss, the groom first takes it off of his wife's leg. All the single men are meant to form a crowd, and whoever catches it is said to be the next to get married.

In the UK, you might hear the wedding party mention their ushers. Who is their US equivalent?

While it's common to hear to the groom's side of the wedding party as the "groomsmen," in the UK, they are referred to as ushers.

Finish the popular rhyme: "Something old, something new, something borrowed..."

In the United States, this is a popular rhyme for the bride to remember. If she has something old, new, borrowed, and blue, it is said that she will have great luck in her marriage!

What kind of cake are the British usually serving at their weddings?

One popular UK wedding tradition is for the bride and groom to serve fruitcake. It usually has raisins, currants, prunes, and other fruit. In the United States, the bride and groom are free to choose their own flavor.

For luck in a UK wedding, what is the bride supposed to have in her shoe?

While the UK has adopted the rhyme "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue," they can't finish out their version without "and a sixpence in her shoe!" It is said to bring luck to her for her wedding and marriage.

While US guests might call it a reception, what would their UK counterparts call it?

Rather than calling theirs a wedding reception, the UK natives call theirs a "wedding breakfast."

In a UK wedding, the bride walks to which side of her father?

In the UK, you'll always see the father of the bride standing to her left as he walks her down the aisle. In the United States, on the other hand, you'll often see the father escorting his daughter, standing on her right.

Which of these aren't part of preparations for a wedding?

One wedding custom in America that is never skipped is the bridal shower! The future bride is surrounded by her friends and family and gets to be showered with games and gifts. While common in the US, it's rare to see a bridal shower in the UK.

Where would you find bridesmaids walking down the aisle by themselves?

Another popular custom in the United States is pairing off the bridesmaids with the groomsmen. One difference is that in the UK, the bridesmaids walk in alone while the ushers (groomsmen) are already there.

What is one accessory you can't forget while attending a UK wedding?

When it comes to UK weddings, there is one accessory you'll often see every guest wearing - a hat! You can wear almost anything you want, but the hat is a must.

Which member of a UK party is not always expected to make a speech?

In the United States, it is a major custom to have the best man and maid of honor give speeches for the bride and groom. In the UK, however, while a speech is always expected from the best man, groom, and father of the bride, you won't always hear the maid of honor reciting a speech.

Which of these is the equivalent to a "bachelorette party" in the UK?

While women in the US are letting loose at bachelorette parties, you'll still find them having a ball in the UK. They'd just call it a hen party!

What is the focal point of a UK wedding?

In the United States, most wedding receptions are focused on the celebration aspect. It's a party! A major difference you'll find in the UK is that the focal point is the meal. While US wedding goers are having a quick meal before heading to the dance floor, the Brits enjoy a long meal.

In the United States, what is the bride throwing at her single women attendees?

In the United States, it is a common practice for the bride to call out all the single women and throw them the bouquet! Whoever catches it is said to be the next in line to get married!

True or False: Weddings in the UK are more formal than the US.

When it comes to the formal nature of weddings in the US and UK, the United States is usually always more formal! While you'll see guests in gowns, the British tend to go for more whimsical, casual looks.

Which of these is a common custom in the US but not the UK?

In the United States, it is common for couples to hold a rehearsal the night before the wedding. While the rehearsal usually a bit tedious, it is almost always followed by a dinner!

In the UK, there is an A and B list of invites. Which part of the ceremony is the B list invited to?

In the UK, the Brits are very concise with their A and B lists. While the guests on the A-list are close family and friends who are invited to the entire day, guests on the B list are only invited for the latter half of the celebration.

In the United States, when does the first dance happen?

In the United States, the couples' first dance is something that no one wants to wait for! Once the newlyweds enter the venue for the wedding reception, they're dancing for the first time as a married couple.

In the UK, when does the first dance happen?

While it is a common US practice for the wedding reception to begin with the first dance, that's not a custom in the UK. Couples actually wait until after the cake has been cut to share their first dance.

What color is alright for UK bridesmaids to wear?

In an American wedding, it is taboo for anyone to wear white besides the bride, but not in the UK! You'll often see bridesmaids standing next to their bride decked in all white.

In a UK wedding, will you find the bridesmaids sitting or standing?

In a UK wedding, it is normal for the bridesmaids to sit down during the ceremony. During US weddings, it is common to see the entire bridal party standing with the bride and groom.

Where is it more common to find the bride and groom reciting their own vows?

In the US, it is common for the bride and groom to prepare their own vows to read to each other. In the UK, this is highly unlikely. Since most weddings happen within the church, the ceremony sticks to strict guidelines.

In which country would you find the 'head table' solely reserved for the family of newlyweds and their honored attendants?

In the United States, the head table is usually reserved for the bridal party (bride, groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen). It is not exactly like this in the UK; their head table is reserved for the couple, their parents, and their version of the maid-of-honor and best man.

Who normally pays for the bridesmaids' dresses in a UK wedding?

In the United States, when someone is asked to be a bridesmaid, they assume the cost of their gown. Not in the UK! Across the pond, the bride purchases the gown for her bridal party.

In both the UK and US, what are wedding guests throwing at the bride and groom?

It is a common wedding tradition in both the US and UK for guests to throw rice at the couple. It is said to be a symbol of fertility. In more modern times, guests have adopted using confetti and bubbles.

In a UK wedding, who usually doesn't have their eyes trained on the bride?

In the United States, it is a common practice to have the groom turn to watch his bride walk down the aisle. Not in the UK! Rather than watching the bride, you'll see the groom looking straight ahead! If you watched the royal wedding between William and Kate, you'll see that his back was turned the entire time!

In the UK, the bride might be gifted with this as a sign of good luck.

In the UK, you'll often find a bride with a horseshoe. Whether she is carrying it herself or she is gifted with it, it is a sign of good luck for her marriage!

Where are you more likely to find an open bar?

An open bar isn't a widely practiced concept at weddings in the UK. For US weddings, on the other hand, it is very common to have an open bar for the festivities. When it compares to open bar or cash bar in the United States, the open bar usually wins!

Which of these is considered bad luck in both the US and UK?

In both the US and UK, it is considered bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the wedding. The UK natives take it farther by having the groom face away from the bride as she walks up the aisle!

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