someone is getting married and I'm here
to tell you all about the traditional British or wedding hello everyone my
name is Anna English this is English like a native and in anticipation of the
royal wedding I thought this was a perfect opportunity to discuss the
culture and the traditions surrounding a British wedding
now this subject is huge there's so much information that I could give to you but
I thought I would just give you a general overview of the British wedding
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right let's talk about weddings. when you meet the person you want to spend the
rest of your life with depending on your circumstances you can choose from three
options. you can either have a civil partnership a civil marriage or a
But what's the difference?
civil partnerships are only available to same-sex couples, so two boys or two
girls who want to spend their lives together can choose to have a civil
partnership, it's very similar to a marriage but there are a few differences
for example adultery is not recognized as grounds for divorce.
interesting. same-sex couples also now have the option to have a civil marriage
or a religious marriage. now civil marriage and religious marriage are
pretty much the same it's just that a religious marriage contains religious
content like religious songs and religious readings will be held in a
place of worship like a church. the way it generally works with the majority of the
people in the UK is that you marry someone that you fall in love with.
you're free to choose who you want to marry and when you want to marry them.
it's not uncommon these days for a couple to spend a lot of time together
sometimes years before marriage even is suggested. many couples even live
together for many years and in some cases, like in my case, couples will have
a child before they decide to get married and actually marriage isn't
always a step that a couple decides to take.
Some people don't believe that it's
good for a relationship or even necessary to get married and whatever
decision that people make surrounding marriage it's all accepted in the UK.
we're very liberal and open-minded we just want people to be happy.
so who can get married? well there are three basic rules both parties have to
be 16 or over. the second one is that you have to be available to be married so
you either have to be single or you have to be divorced from a previous marriage
so legally you've been taken out of that marriage or a widow. you're a widow if
your previous partner who you were married to is now deceased if they die
you become a widow in which case you're free to marry again, and finally you
cannot marry someone you are closely related to. now from now on I'm going to
be referencing a heterosexual couple because that's what my knowledge base is
and what my experience is. if there's anything you'd like to add that is more
suited to your situation then please do share it with us in the comment section
below so we can all learn together.
So in a traditional heterosexual couple in the
old days, and still quite a lot now but it is changing, it's expected for the man
to propose to the woman. a woman can propose to a man but it's traditionally
done in a leap year. don't ask me why it's very strange.
so traditionally a man would propose to the woman, now in the old days a man
would first ask permission from the woman's father or at least the woman's
family to ask if he could propose to the woman.
These days a man generally just
goes straight to the woman and asks her. he will get down on one knee and he will
present a ring (typically a diamond ring) and he would ask the question "will you
marry me" and then the lady gives her answer either yes, no or I need some time
to think. something to note, a proposal is also sometimes referred to as asking for
a lady's hand in marriage. so if she says yes everyone's happy the
engagement is announced to the world and everyone celebrates.
There would normally
be some form of engagement party and then the planning starts. of course it
depends on when you decide to book your wedding. some people decide to have a
very long engagement. I've known people who have been engaged for years and
years and years and there are two reasons for this. perhaps it's because
the timing to get married is not quite right because of illness or family
issues or work perhaps, but also some people delay the wedding because
weddings in the UK are very expensive but once the date is set and everything is
being planned one of the first things to do is to send out invitations and find
out which of your guests will be coming along. now invitations can be two-tiered
some people are invited to the whole event, so the actual service of marriage
as well as the party and the event that happens after the marriage, other people
are invited just to the party afterwards and this can be for a number of reasons.
perhaps the church in which you're deciding to marry in is very small and
won't hold many guests or perhaps you have a very tight budget and you can't
afford to feed everybody and to get everyone into the church on time so you
just invite extra people to come in the evening.
As the wedding date approaches
there is a celebration that happens with both the bride-to-be and the groom
to be. the bride will get together with her female friends and have a hen do
this is a party for the bride-to-be and her friends, and the groom to be will get
together with his friends and have a celebration called a stag do. sometimes
this is one night, sometimes it's a whole day, and evening some have a stag do
which is the whole weekend, some even have a whole week which i think is a bit
greedy but each to their own. but the hen do and the stag do are
designed to celebrate their last moments of freedom, their last
moments of living as Singleton's before they tie the knot and become a married
couple, bound to each other for the rest of their lives.
when the big day arrives the guests congregate, that means they get together,
and they become known as the congregation, so they congregate at the
venue and they are there with the groom as well as his best man so that's a
special man a best friend or a brother or someone who's chosen to support him
on the day he look after him, and along with the ushers, and the ushers are
basically helpers to help the congregation to find their seats and
help everything run smoothly.
Now seating in the venue will normally be split in
two. guests of the groom on one side and guests of the bride on the other leaving
a walkway right down the middle known as the aisle, and the groom will
stand at the top of the aisle with his best man waiting for his beautiful bride
to arrive. once the guests are all seated and everyone is ready then the bride
arrives usually in style in a very posh car or a horse-drawn carriage. just
before the bride enters the venue she gets together with her bridesmaids and
pageboys if she has them, she will also be there with the father of the bride if
she decides to go in with her father.
Now traditionally the bride and father of
the bride would enter together first, followed by the bridesmaids but these
days it tends to be the bridesmaids who go first. they walk down the aisle
everyone looks at them and it creates a sense of anticipation "we can't wait for
the bride" then the music starts and traditionally the music is 'here comes
the bride' or it's also known as the wedding march and they walk down the
aisle to this music and everyone's like "Oh beautiful" and she'll be wearing a beautiful white
dress sometimes an ivory dress or cream dress and in some cases they wear all
sorts of colors but traditionally it's a white dress and she'll have a veil
potentially over her face to cover her beauty until she arrives at the top of
the venue, faces her groom, who will remove the veil and reveal her beautiful
face. so then the ceremony begins the bride and groom are stood at the altar
with whoever is running the ceremony and everyone else takes their seats.
there are a few particular points that everyone expects in a wedding that you
should definitely look out for if you attend a British wedding
they are: objections. now this always makes me giggle because it's such an
awkward moment during the ceremony. the congregation are asked does anybody
object to this wedding do you have any legal reason why you think these two
can't be married and everyone goes quiet and everyone looks around to see if anyone
will do the dramatic thing of going they can't get married because I love him or
because he's married to me. I've never seen anyone object to a wedding in the
middle of a ceremony but I'm sure at some point it must have happened. the
exchange of vows. so this is a really lovely moment when the bride and groom
face one another and read out the vows that they have decided to give to one
another the promises they want to make this is always quite a special moment
and then of course the exchange of rings. which in every wedding I've ever been to
the exchange of rings has always been a hilarious moment I guess because they
get hot and nervous, their fingers swell and the rings don't always fit so it's
always a little bit of a struggle for them to try and get those rings to fit
properly, it always causes a few giggles.
Then once they've been pronounced man
and wife once it's official then the we'll be told that he may kiss the bride
and there's a beautiful smooch, a snog at the front of this venue and the whole
congregation is like "yeah it's love it's amazing it's wonderful we're so happy".
each ceremony will also include a signing of the register this is a legal
requirement so they can make the whole thing legal and official, and during this
time usually because it's not that interesting to watch people signing
official documents normally there is a performance of some sort a musical
interlude someone might get up and sing or play the guitar or there might be a
nice track that's playing so everyone can have relax and listen to the music
it's usually very nice and then when it's all done and dusted the bride and
groom walk hand-in-hand out of the venue together and this is where the
congregation can go outside and throw confetti or sometimes rice over the
bride and groom as they exit the venue.
It depends on the venue though because
some venues now ban it because it makes such a mess but yes traditionally that's
what you would expect. at this point the photographs will happen so when everyone
is still looking fresh there's a good amount of daylight the photographers
will come around gather different groups of people together and make sure there
are sufficient photographs of the day. while the other guests are waiting
there's usually a drinks reception and canapes going around so they don't get
too hungry and too bored then they'll be asked to take their seats everyone will
be seated according to the table plan with the bride and groom on the top
table usually overlooking all of their guests, and then there'll be a meal. now
this is called the wedding breakfast the first meal after the marriage the
wedding breakfast. now as the rest of the day continues there are a number of
things that will happen firstly most of the guests will receive a keepsake this
might be something like a tiny little charm or a coaster with your name on it
or a special handkerchief or it's just a
small gift to remind you of that special moment in that special day.
traditional British wedding is never complete without a lot of speeches. now
anyone can give a speech but usually you have to have a speech from the groom and
the groom will normally say something wonderful about his new wife, thanks the
bridesmaid, thanks everyone for coming, he has certain things he has to fulfill in
his speech. then you will always have a speech from the father of the bride as
well who will again say something wonderful about his daughter, tell the
new groom to look after his daughter that kind of thing and then the most
famous one is the best man's speech. remember the best man is the groom's
best friend or chosen person he normally knows the groom better than anyone else
and this is normally or should be the comedy speech, the light relief, the time
when the groom starts to feel very nervous because normally the best man
will tell lots of secrets and stories about the groom that the groom is very
embarrassed by. carrying on and these are in no particular order there'll also be
a moment where the cake is officially cut.
A traditional wedding cake will have
lots of tiers. in the old days you used to keep some of
the tiers for a very long time I think one of them you would keep until your
first child's christening or something like that. nowadays it's normally just
cut by the bride and groom, make the first cut then it's separated out and
everyone gets to enjoy a piece of cake. then there is the first dance where the
bride and groom take to the dance floor a very special song is played for them
and everyone watches them have a little bit of a dance before everyone jumps
onto the dance floor and boogies the night away in recent years we've seen a
trend of brides and grooms learning a set routine and surprising their guests
with a fully choreographed dance routine.
In some cases it's led to people being
hospitalized because they try to do things after
having a few drinks which they probably shouldn't be doing. and then everyone
just has a wonderful time and there's usually some sort of book or something
going around that people can sign or add their mark to so that the bride and
groom have a keepsake of their own which has an input from all of their guests,
and after all the celebrations have finished the bride and groom usually go
on a holiday known as a honeymoon. so lots of information there to remember.
now like I said this is traditional weddings and more often these days
people are getting more imaginative and feel like they have more freedom to
create a celebration that is tailored to them and their friends and their
Now if you are married please do tell me in the comments box below
what was the highlight of your wedding. what's the one thing that you really
loved during your ceremony or during the celebration of your wedding, and if
you're not yet married but you hope to be married at some point in the future
tell me the one thing that you really really want for your wedding perhaps
it's a particular venue perhaps it's a particular person or perhaps you want to
have a certain band playing in your after party, but do open up and let me
know your thoughts down below. if you found today useful please show me your
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until next time guys thank you for joining me, take care and