An American Wedding vs A Traditional British Wedding


With royal wedding fever in the air, it seems only fitting that one of the finest wedding venues in the Cotswolds should share their tips for a traditional British wedding. Here at Ellenborough Park, we certainly know a thing or two about luxury, romance, and making your special day unforgettable…

Read on to learn how to differentiate between an American and traditionally British wedding.


Decoration & Outfits

When it comes to a traditional wedding, nothing showcases the British Isles off more than bunting, immaculate table settings and tasteful décor. Whereas American nuptials will usually incorporate sourced flowers from afar, custom made decorations and table settings as well as other bolder finishing touches, a traditionally British wedding will make the most of seasonal elements such as floral displays and repurposed elements for an upcycled DIY feel. When it comes to dress code, only the bride should wear white on her big day, and the bridesmaids will have a colour palette to match or complement the service’s colour scheme – provided at the bride’s expense. Expect to see fascinators and large hats at a British wedding, as it is a shame that this isn’t the done thing at an American union! Gentleman, if appropriate, will also wear army or navy attire, or a kilt if they are Scottish.



A traditional British wedding will feature a sit-down meal with the couple’s closest family and friends. It will be comprised of three courses that have been chosen to reflect the couple’s personal tastes and preferences. In America, guests are invited to all aspects of the day and will be present from the ceremony right through to the evening. This means that the couple have to consider larger catering; they often feature more chances to grab a bite to eat and include a large meal that is preceded by a rehearsal dinner before the big day. A British wedding will usually feature a cash bar, too. Regarding the cake, a traditional British wedding opts for a fruitcake; fruits and nuts will be soaked in brandy, before being covered in marzipan and icing. The top tier is saved for their first anniversary or for the christening of the couple’s first child.


Pre-parties & Ceremony

A UK wedding does not host as many pre-party celebrations as those across the pond in the United States. Stag nights and hen dos are the equivalent of bachelor and bachelorette parties, but a traditional British wedding party will not include a bridal shower or rehearsal dinner. When comprising a guest list, British weddings have close family and friends attend their ceremony and wedding breakfast, with acquaintances or unknown dates invited to the evening. As the bride walks down the aisle, it is customary for the groom to be facing away from her, unlike in the United States. The order of the procession is also different, too. The bride’s side is generally on the left of the ceremony, while the groom’s side is on the right. In the UK we have three sets of speeches that differ in tone to any American counterparts: father of the bride, groom, and finally the best man.



Wedding gift lists are not common with traditional weddings, with guests usually offering money or household items if the couple has not lived together before. You will find plenty of bubbly at a traditional British celebration, whether that is Champagne or prosecco – there will of course be gin and tonic too. Expect to see the mother of the bride enjoying a relaxing cup of tea after the service – it wouldn’t be suitably British without some afternoon tea elements incorporated into the post-ceremony meal. Traditionally, the bride’s family would pay for the wedding because it was seen that the family would be gaining a son from the marriage, though in the present day is it usual for both families share the cost.

If you are from outside the UK and want to host your wedding in a beautiful manor house, full of British heritage and history, then you’ve found your dream location in Ellenborough Park. We are renowned for being one of the most romantic wedding venues Cheltenham has to offer.

To find out more about hosting your special day at one of the finest wedding venues in the Cotswolds, contact a member of our team today.

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