Things to know about English weddings

Published on : 20 May 20204 min reading time

As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will unite their destinies in a traditional English wedding, the American actress may be in for a few surprises.

Not only will Meghan have to get used to being a member of the British Royal Family, but she will also have to learn about the good and bad sides of an English marriage.

Every ceremony is different, but here are 10 characteristics of a traditional British wedding ceremony.

Bachelor and bachelorette parties are different.

In England, there are no bachelor or bachelorette parties per se.

Instead, there are “hen dos” (for women) and “stag parties” (for men), events that normally consist of cheap air travel to a European city and drinking lots of alcohol.

Whatever the season, you should bring an umbrella.

The climate in England is not known to be particularly pleasant, which means that even if your wedding takes place in the summer, you cannot be sure to stay dry. Planning a wedding should therefore include a contingency plan in case it rains.

There are lots of hats.

British weddings usually include a hat festival. The dress code for Harry and Meghan’s wedding should not deviate from this tradition. Hats are so much a part of British wedding culture that a popular joke is to ask a couple if it would be a good idea to buy a hat at some point.

Brides usually wear old, new, something borrowed and blue.

An English superstition says that on her wedding day, a bride should wear four specific things. She must wear something old (which may have belonged to a grandparent or relative), something new that has recently been bought, something borrowed (which has not been bought) and something blue.

Some men choose to wear a kilt.

If some of the male guests have Scottish blood, they may choose to wear a kilt. Although some people feel that the wearing of this traditional garment should be restricted to Scotland, many people disregard this advice. However, we cannot confirm whether the tradition of wearing nothing underneath the kilt is respected .

Many people marry in religious establishments, even if they do not attend them the rest of the year.

In England, unlike other places in the world, establishments and not certain people can legally perform marriages. Some people who are not religious will therefore marry in churches. We can look on the bright side: British churches are often very beautiful.

Marriage ceremonies usually begin much earlier than elsewhere in the world.

For the British, the idea of a ceremony starting at 6 p.m. is inconceivable: it leaves very little room for drinking. So weddings often start at around noon or 1 p.m. Meghan and Harry’s wedding will start at noon.

There is always wedding cake, but it is rarely eaten.

Wedding cakes in England are traditionally fruit cakes covered with marzipan icing and small figurines of the bride and groom. Dessert is unfortunately often the last course to be served, after the guests have eaten their fill. Guests are usually given a piece of cake, but it will usually end up in the freezer.

The best man’s speech consists of embarrassing anecdotes.

For the English, the best man’s speech is rather embarrassing for the groom. Embarrassing or humiliating anecdotes are therefore on the menu. It is important to note that at this stage of the evening, the state of intoxication of the guests is usually quite advanced. The best man’s speech is also often very long.

The lunch following the ceremony is typically English.

The lunch following the wedding ceremony should be copious. This is why the guests usually opt for a typically English lunch. Sausages, bacon, fried eggs, potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, bread and tea are on the menu.

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