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Wilfandel Club - US Wedding Customs PDF Print E-mail

A Christian or other mainstream wedding and reception (including a Jewish wedding) in the United States follow a similar pattern to the Italian wedding. The Wilfandel house can make accommodations for all types of weddings. Customs and traditions vary but components include the following:

  • The bride wears “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.”
  • The bride usually wears a white dress.
  • A color scheme is often used so that the invitation matches the bridesmaids' dresses and the table settings.
  • Rice is sometimes thrown at the newlyweds as they leave the ceremony.
  • The bride's family sends engraved invitations to the wedding guests, addressed by hand (or in an elegant font) to show the importance and personal meaning of the occasion.
    Guests send or deliver wedding gifts to the bride's family home before the wedding day.
  • A wedding ceremony takes place at a church or other location, such as an outdoor venue or the Wilfandel house.

At the wedding reception following the ceremony, sometimes at the same location as the wedding but sometimes at a different venue:

  • The bridal party lines up in a receiving line and the wedding guests file past, introducing themselves.
  • Usually snacks or a meal are served while the guests and bridal party mingle.
    • The Wilfandel house has a full kitchen available if you choose us as your wedding location.
  • Often the best man and/or maid of honor toast the bride and groom with personal thoughts, stories, and well-wishes; sometimes other guests follow with their own toasts. Champagne, sparkling cider, or nonalcoholic carbonated drinks are usually provided for this purpose.
  • Clinking silverware against glassware obliges the newlyweds to kiss.
  • If dancing is provided, the bride and groom first dance together. Often further protocol is followed, where they dance first with their respective mother and father, then possibly with the maid of honor and best man; then the bride and groom rejoin while the parents of the bride and groom join the dance and the best man and maid of honor dance together; then other attendants join in; then finally everyone is entitled to dance. Dancing continues throughout the reception. Music is sometimes provided by a live band or musical ensemble, sometimes by a disc jockey.
  • In some cultures, the dollar dance takes place, in which it is expected and encouraged for guests to pin money onto the young bride and groom to help them get started in their new lives.
  • The cake-cutting ceremony takes place; the bride and groom jointly hold a cake cutter--often a special silver keepsake cutter purchased or given as a gift for the occasion--and cut the first pieces of the wedding cake. They then entwine arms and feed each other a bite of cake. In some social groups, the bride and groom smear cake on each other's faces at this time.
  • The bride tosses her bouquet over her shoulder to the assembled unmarried women; the woman who catches it, superstition has it, will be the next to marry. In some social groups, the process is repeated for unmarried men with the groom tossing the bride's garter for the same purpose.
  • Gifts are not opened at the reception; they are either opened ahead of time and sometimes displayed at the reception, or if guests could not deliver gifts ahead of time, they are placed on a table at the reception for the bride and groom to take home with them and open later.

Wedding gifts

The purpose of inviting guests was to have them witness a couple's marriage ceremony and vows and to share in the bride and groom's joy and celebration. Gifts for the bride and groom are optional, although most guests attempt to give at least a token gift of their best wishes. Some brides and grooms and families feel, contrary to proper etiquette, that for the expense and effort they put into showing their guests a good time and to wine and dine them, the guests should reciprocate by providing nice gifts or cash.

The couple often registers for gifts at a store well in advance of their wedding. This allows them to create a list of household items, usually including china, silverware and crystalware; often including linen preferences, pots and pans, and similar items. With brides and grooms who might already be independent and have lived on their own, even owning their own homes, they sometimes register at hardware or home improvement stores. Registries are intended to make it easy for guests who wish to purchase gifts to feel comfortable that they are purchasing gifts that the newlyweds will truly appreciate. The registry information should, according to etiquette, be provided only to guests who request it. Some couples register with services that enable money gifts intended to fund items such as a honeymoon, home purchase or college fund.

Some guests may find bridal registries inappropriate. They can be seen as an anathema to traditional notions behind gift buying, such as contravening the belief that "one should be happy for what they receive", taking away the element of surprise, and leading to present buying as a type of competition, as the couple knows the costs of each individual item. It may also be seen by some as inappropriate to invite people who do not know either the bride or groom well enough to be able to pick out an appropriate gift.

African-American customs

Jumping the broom developed out West African Asante custom. The broom in Asante and other Akan cultures also held spiritual value and symbolized sweeping away past wrongs or warding off evil spirits. Brooms were waved over the heads of marrying couples to ward off spirits. The couple would often but not always jump over the broom at the end of the ceremony.

The custom took on additional significance in the context of slavery in the United States. Slaves had no right to legal marriage; slaveholders considered slaves property and feared that legal marriage and family bonds had the potential to lead to organization and revolt. Marriage rituals, however, were important events to the Africans, who came in many cases come from richly-ceremonial African cultures. The members of the Wilfandel club are deeply engrained with this culture.

Taking marriage vows in the presence of a witness and then leaping over the handle of a broom became the common practice to create a recognized union. Brooms are also symbols of the hearth, the center of the new family being created. Jumping the broom has become a practice in many modern weddings between Black Americans.

There are also traditions of broom jumping in Europe, in the Wicca and Celtic communities especially. They are probably unconnected with the African practice.

The Wilfandel house can accomodate all of your wedding location needs.

 

 


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