Living in a day and age in which extravagant weddings are all the rage, it is hard to find something authentic. A perfect specimen that showcases both elegance, class, and poise: British weddings celebrate tradition and heritage like no other. But what is it that makes British weddings so interestingly unique and refreshing? Let’s find out.
Stags and Hens
Who doesn’t have a bachelorette party? In Britain, bachelorette parties are called hen parties and bachelor parties are called stag dos. Normally a mix of a lot of alcohol, games and inappropriately vulgar humour to celebrate the individual’s last days as a single person, stags and hens parties are everything but boring. A quick weekend getaway to European destination is something many opt for.
Unlike other cultures, in Britain, the bridesmaids wear dresses that are similar to that of the bride’s. It’s a tradition that dates back centuries to the Roman Empire that was meant to ward off any possibility of the bride getting robbed or abducted on her big day. Therefore, the bridesmaids protected the bride by keeping bad people away. Also, instead of walking before the bride, they enter after the bride and walk behind her throughout the ceremony.
With new designs and trends hitting the shelves every day, it is hard to find something that is the true embodiment of the simple bride. British wedding dresses are simple and refreshingly modest. Full sleeves and traditional A-line and Ball Gown cuts are still a favourite amongst many. There are many traditional British wedding dress designers that focus specifically on designing traditional pieces that cater to the demand. Ian Stuart, Jenny Packham, Suzanne Neville, Justin Alexander – all are the well-known names in British wedding couture.
Good Luck Charms
These are a big part of British wedding culture. “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” but the last line that is often forgotten reads, “a sixpence in your shoe.” The sixpence in the shoe signifies good fortune, prosperity, and health and is often placed in the bride’s left shoe.
A good luck charm like a silver horseshoe is often sewed inside the hem of the bridal dress or the bride might just carry the horseshoe with her bouquet. The ring by itself is a good luck charm. Rain is considered to bring good luck as well.
The dress code is normally quite straightforward: nothing too short, low or tight. When it comes to colour, many in British culture consider green to be an unlucky colour. Female guests are generally required to cover their shoulders and wear stockings as well. Many set a particular theme for their guests to follow. And last, but not least – fashionable hats are a must!
The British don’t do receptions. Instead, they go for something called “the wedding breakfast” even though it isn’t technically breakfast but tradition is tradition.
Traditionally it is a fruit cake covered in deliciously rich royal icing and marzipan, the cake is truly an entire experience on its own. After the bride and groom have cut it, the cake is carefully sliced and wrapped in napkins for their guests to take home.
Simple, elegant yet incredibly fun, if there is one thing the British do right, it is weddings.