A modern US wedding: Attire and flowers

white_tuxedoBrides and grooms in the USA have a huge choice of outfits for their big day, but the most popular choices are a tux for men and a white or ivory gown for brides, accompanied by a bridal bouquet.

The groom

US grooms typically wear a suit or other formal wear, such as morning dress, white tie, or evening wear (a black tuxedo), depending on the formality. They may accessorize their wedding ensemble with a bow tie, necktie, vest (waistcoat) or cummerbund, usually chosen to match the wedding colors. The men in the bridal party usually wear the same style and colors. Men with Scottish or Irish heritage may choose to wear a kilt.

Click here for our special on formal wear and tuxedo designers.

The bride

US brides have a vast choice of wedding attire to choose from depending on the style and formality of the occasion. For example, they could choose from a classic white full-skirted ball gown, a romantic ruffled Scarlet O'Hara-inspired Southern Belle dress, or a white rhinestone-studded cowboy outfit. Some brides (Pamela Anderson for example...) even get married in a white bikini!

western_wedding_dress ball_gown_dress southern_belle_gown

White is traditionally worn by the first-time bride, traditionally believed to be a sign of purity, although most colors are now acceptable. Black used to generally frowned upon as it is the color of mourning in the Christian religion, but black wedding gowns are now being seen more often.

old-new-borrowed-blueWhatever they choose to wear on their wedding day, many US brides adhere to the old rhyme: "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”. This is done for fun, and due to the superstitious belief that it will bring good luck to the marriage. "Old" represents the past, so the bride might wear a piece of jewelry from a family member. The "new" represents the new couple’s future together, and the wedding gown or ring is taken as a new item. "Something borrowed" is something loaned by a family member to be returned. "Something blue" represents the bride's faithfulness and loyalty, and she could carry blue flowers or wear a blue garter.

wedding_parasolsAmerican brides can choose to accessorize their outfit with a veil, gloves, or fan, and may wear a tiara, crystals or flowers in their hair. Brides and bridesmaids may also carry parasols, particularly at southern weddings.

It is becoming increasingly popular to change into a dress that is more suitable for dancing at the reception, and many brides also change into a going-away outfit before saying farewell to their reception guests and leaving for the honeymoon.

Check out our specials on wedding dress designers and bridal accessories.

Wedding flowers

An American bride has an infinite choice of flowers for her wedding day, and will often choose fresh flowers depending on the season – roses, orchids, lilies, and daisies are ever popular.

Traditional or contemporary style bouquets are carried by the bride and her female attendants. Many brides have their bridal bouquet preserved after the wedding.

The church and reception venue are traditionally decorated with flowers, setting the tone for the wedding day. Flower arches and bowers are popular at civil ceremonies in a private setting such as the bride’s home. High quality artificial and silk flowers are also used to great effect. 

buttonholewedding_leisGrooms and groomsmen usually wear a flower boutonniere or buttonhole, with corsages for the mothers of the bride and groom. At Hawaiian weddings, the bride and groom exchange and wear leis made of vines, leaves, seeds, and fragrant tropical flowers such as orchid, jasmine and plumeria. This is a symbol of love and aloha. Wedding guests also wear leis.

Click here to find out more about flower colors and the language of flowers.

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