Although it seems like mass media and the internet have homogenized America, when it comes to weddings, each region still has its own unique flavor, which is a wonderful thing. This means that weddings in the South are different than those in California, which are not the same as weddings in Michigan. Whether you are a bride-to-be, or simply a guest planning to attend a wedding, here are some of the trends and customs that you are likely to encounter at weddings in different parts of the United States.
What really got me to thinking about regional differences is the wedding that a friend of mine recently attended in Miami. She said that the ceremony was planned to begin at 2 pm, but that the time stated on the invitations was 1:30. Apparently in Miami, it is understood that the guests are likely to be late, and that once they arrive, they will spend some time visiting with family and friends before taking their seats. This means that if the bride wants to begin her march down the aisle at 2, an earlier time must be listed on the invitation. I had never heard of this before; where I come from, if the invitation says the wedding ceremony starts at 2, the guests will show up and be seated by 1:45 at the latest. It is fascinating how certain things are just understood as the ways things are done, and yet what that actually means can vary, depending on where you live.
The South tends to be the most traditional part of the United States when it comes to weddings. The brides wear more feminine gowns than they would in places like New York or Boston, and they favor classic pearl bridal jewelry over more trendy styles. Southern weddings are often huge, with guest lists topping 300 or 400 people. Now a Northern bride might wonder how any family can possibly afford such a large wedding, but the traditional Southern reception is not the seated dinner that is common in the North. When hundreds of guests are on the list, the reception that follows the ceremony is usually brief, often consisting of cake, punch, and Champagne instead of a full dinner. This allows for more people to be invited to share in the happy couple’s hospitality.
California brides are usually on the cutting edge, and many of the biggest trends originate there. The hottest thing going in California these days is “green” or eco-friendly weddings. Brides are using organic flowers and foods, wearing gowns made from organic or fair-trade fabrics, and decorating with natural materials like shells, pebbles, dried berries, and moss. California brides are also known for being very fashion-forward, and they will be among the first to embrace new trends in bridal attire, such as one shouldered gowns, voluminous organza ruffles, or bridal jewelry featuring pearl and crystal accents in colors other than white. Lounge seating is another trend that is still going strong on the West Coast.
In the Midwest, on the other hand, trends tend to take longer to trickle in. This means that something that was so ubiquitous in California in recent years that it is now passÃ© may just be gaining traction in Michigan or Indiana. An example of this would be the candy bar at the wedding reception. It is also typical for Midwestern brides to be a bit more down-to-earth, and to prefer the classically beautiful over the eclectic and ultra-trendy.
There are many other regional trends. For instance, New Englanders hold their most expensive and chic weddings in rustic old barns. Cajun or Polish-American newlyweds frequently have dollar dances at their receptions, which would be seen as completely gauche in Connecticut. This is one of the great things about American weddings; even as the internet brings the same information to brides across the country, each region still maintains its own wonderfully unique personality.
Ask Bridget for advice in areas of jewelry or weddings. She writes numerous articles providing information for the customers of Silverland Jewelry.com. Pearl bridal jewelry is a favorite of brides all across America. Whether they are traditional Southern brides or trendy Californians, there is a style to suit any taste.
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