Are there any real differences between US, Canadian, Australian & British weddings?

I was looking at this professional British photographer’s web site and in looking at the wedding pics the British wedding look pretty much exactly like a US Wedding photographers work. Are there any *real * differences between US, Canadian, Australian, NZ, British, Irish, and Scottish weddings?

Assuming you’re comparing weddings within the same faith, probably not.

I would say, nay pray, that the Chicken Dance is only in America and has not spread to other lands.

Number of drunks, maybe. But I think that is a function of denomination, not nationality. :smiley:

Does the white wedding dress tradition hold true across countries?

Sadly it has indeed spread and can be found in Canada, at least.

As far as English-speaking countries, I think so. We all derive from a common source. It’s when you go to Japan or Russia or Nigeria, etc. that you find radically different traditions.

Australian weddings are held upside-down.

In my experience, Canadian weddings tend to be less Canadian, and more related to the lineage of the persons being married.

Such as my sister’s wedding. We’re second-generation Canadians, but the wedding was considered quite Polish (We’re half polish, half dutch).

Only after about 10pm.

Well, I haven’t been to any outside of Australia, but I can report that the traditional white wedding in church with traditional vows, followed by a reception with cake, proud drunk dad making a speech, yadda yadda is still very big here, and it’s just as I’ve seen overseas ones in movies, etc.

There’s also a big secular movement too, with civil weddings being held in parks or halls, and these retain as much of the traditional church wedding as the couple see fit. The bride might still wear a white dress, or if she is older and/or previously married, she might go for a natty little suit and skirt or something. They might update the vows a bit.

Interestingly, most of the weddings I’ve been to in the past ten years or so have been Vietnamese Buddhist weddings, and they have borrowed everything they possibly can from traditional Christian weddings without offending their own religion. The only real difference is that wedding presents tend to take the form of cash. It is tactitly understood that the amount you give should cover the cost of having you at the reception. This means the reception is always lavish, even if the bride and groom are not wealthy. It also means they don’t walk away with thirty-eight toasters.

Some Canadian weddings are considered make-believe by all of the other countries on your list.

One difference that I’ve noted between Australian and American weddings is the whole “rehearsal dinner” ritual. I’ve never come across this in any Australian wedding in which I’ve been a member of the “official group” i.e. best man or groomsman. At those weddings there’s either been:

  • no practice at all, other than a couple of minutes of instruction from the priest just before the nuptial mass; or
  • a quick practice a couple of days before the wedding, after which everyone has just gone home.

However I was a groomsman last year at a wedding at which one of the other groomsmen was an American cousin of the bride and he kept rabbiting on about the “rehearsal dinner”. He was scandalised that there wasn’t one planned…“it’s not a *real * wedding without a rehearsal dinner” etc.

One does hear that British weddings involve crazy hats. Most American women only wear a hat, particularly an elaborate one, if a) they are going to the Kentucky Derby, or b) they are a black lady going to church. I learned that the British ladies like the excuse to wear a hat in one of the Charles/Camilla wedding threads.

Well, a “rehearsal dinner” doesn’t really have anything at all to do with an actual wedding rehearsal. It’s just an excuse to have a fancy meal the night before the wedding. Usually the rehearsal dinner party is much smaller than the group invited to the reception, but not always.

Unfortunately this often has the unintended consequence of pushing the bachelor party back another day. Then the groom might sober up in time to make a run for it!

Well, in Japan at least, western style weddings are quite common, all though the traditional Shinto weddings are rather different. Russian weddings have somewhat similar traditions - white dress for the bride, exchanging of rings, everyone gets drunk, ect. Don’t know much about Nigerian weddings though.

We had a rehearsal diner, but it was really just the only opportunity we had for all the family to meet each other, as a lot of my family had to travel for our wedding. So it was in-laws, bridal party, ushers, cousins, uncles and aunts, etc.

Irish weddings last well into the night. We got married at 2:30pm, cocktails from 4pm, dinner at 6:30, dancing and general drunkenness continued until 1:30am at the venue, and until 6am in the hotel. Thankfully, as the bride and groom, we were allowed to leave early (midnight). This is why we chose to get married “late”…most people choose an earlier ceremony.

Open bars are also not usual at Irish weddings-it’s asking for bankruptcy. Since the average guest at our wedding drank the equivalent of a bottle of wine with dinner, and there were queues 3 deep at the cash bar after dinner, you can see why. I know for a fact that one guest drank a bottle of wine, 6 pints of Guinness and a half bottle of whisky…and that was my dad, so I’d imagine that some of the younger guests were much worse!

Oh yes, in the UK and Ireland Morning suits are the correct dress for a wedding held before 4pm…we went for black tie for us and our guests, which is considered unusual, and slightly infra dig, but hey, since the majority of the festivities were after 6pm, we think it was ok.

Email me and I’ll explain. :wink:

Sorry, Australia has been infected as well. Fortunately, I see less and less of it even though I’m going to more weddings these days, so I live in hope that it may die out altogether.

I’ve recently gotten engaged, and have been spending time on various wedding sites and forums (notably IndieBride). I’ve noticed a few subtle differences - the rehearsal dinner is something I’d never heard of before, and “destination” weddings seem more common (although maybe that’s just the Marital Industrial Complex trying to make them so). I’ve only ever been invited to one destination wedding, just this year, and it’s because the couple couldn’t decide which city to have the wedding at - his hometown, her hometown, or the city they both live in and met at.

Also, wedding favours or bonboniere (god only knows how you spell that) seem more elaborate in the US, although again that might just be a perception gleaned from advertisers rather than actual weddings. Around here, a couple of nice chocolates are considered about average - sugared almonds are too traditional, anything more than the chocolates is extravagant.

I learned from my Canadian neighbors that it is common in Canada for there to be a good chunk of time between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the reception – a few hours, frequently. Like, the wedding ceremony might be at 2:00pm and end by 3:00pm, but the other festivities don’t start until 6:00pm. That is unusual for (west-coast) American weddings – the reception is usually immediately following the ceremony, with only travel time in between. How’s this work in other countries?