Wedding Planning in the United States

Wedding Planning


Wedding planning in the United States follows certain traditions, just like it does in other countries. However, in the United States couples have a wide range of personal choices to make as they prepare for their wedding.


Two Options for Wedding Planning

Couples have two options for planning their weddings. First of all, they can do it all themselves. Of course, this means they must recruit a crew of friends and family to help make it happen. Today, experts refer to this approach as DIY (do-it-yourself).

Another option is to hire a professional wedding planner. Professional planners provide a complete structure for the process, taking care of choosing vendors, scheduling the details, and preparing all the behind the scenes tasks. At the same time, they work closely with the couple and their families to ensure that the wedding reflects the bride's and groom's personalities. They arrange for the bride and groom to decide as much or as little as they care to in the details of the wedding.


Important Wedding Decisions

Regardless of which option a couple chooses, the decisions that must be made include making a guest list, choosing stationery and layout for the invitations, venue for the ceremony and the reception, color palette and theme for the wedding, decorations and flowers, music, ceremony style, wedding attire, as well as cake and food. While all of these decisions rest primarily with whoever plans the wedding, there are a few decisions only the bride and/or groom can make.

For one thing, the bride chooses her dress. In the US, brides continue to favor a white dress. She and her mom or closest friends visit bridal shops. She tries on several beautiful gowns, feeling like a princess throughout the process. Typically, the bride experiences the moment, looking in the mirror and seeing herself wearing the dress of her dreams. Tears might fall, and the women who attend her share a hushed moment before the sales staff wrap up the gown for her to take home.

Another choice the bride and groom make on their own involves their attendants. A US bride typically has a maid or matron of honor, plus between one and five bridesmaids. The maid of honor serves as the one person the bride knows she can lean on in the months leading up to the wedding, as well as on the wedding day itself. A groom also chooses his best man and his groomsmen. Typically, the number of groomsmen and bridesmaids is equal.

The maid of honor typically plans the bridal shower, as well as the bachelorette party. Meanwhile, the best man typically goes with the groom to pick out his tuxedo or suit. He also plans the bachelor party.


Gift Registry

A wedding offers many opportunities for friends and family members to bestow gifts upon the bride and groom. The couple often receives gifts at their engagement party, at the bridal shower, and on the day of the wedding, as well.

Traditionally, gifts include cash and household items. Typically, an American couple chooses together the colors and decorative themes for their new home.

Once they have the basics figured out, the couple then goes together to their local department store to create what is called a gift registry. Each store has a slightly different process, but usually the couple carries a scanner while they "shop" throughout the store for the items they would like for their home.

They scan these items into the computer, which generates a comprehensive list of gifts. When someone wishes to purchase them a gift, that person can go to the store they specify and prints out the registry at a special kiosk. From the list, they can choose whichever gift or gifts they wish to give the couple. Once a gift is purchased off the registry, it is shaded out so no one else purchases the same gift.


Pre-Wedding Parties

In the United States, wedding planning includes at least three parties which precede the day of the ceremony. The bride enjoys a bridal shower, typically hosted by the maid of honor and/or the bride's mother. Fun games, delicious food, and a formal cake remain standard fare.

The bridal shower provides an opportunity for friends and family members to celebrate ahead of time with the bride. Gifts typically include more intimate items for the couple's honeymoon, though sometimes items from the couple's gift registry are given.

The maid of honor also plans the bachelorette party. This party takes place one or two nights before the wedding and often involves going out on the town. The bride typically wears some sort of costume to identify her as the bride. Customarily, she receives complimentary drinks and snacks from bartenders or bar patrons. It is her one last wild night before she settles into marriage.

Likewise, the best man plans the groom's bachelor party. Again, this party takes place one or two nights before the wedding. Similarly, the groom, his groomsmen, and other close friends go out on the town. Sometimes the party takes place at a bar, or a night club. Other times, the groom dresses in a costume and must parade around town performing special heroics or silly deeds.

Wedding planning in the US is a fun and festive time. It presents an opportunity to plan lavishly and realize a romantic fantasy often carried by the bride since her childhood.