Here's how weddings in the US and the UK really compare

With the royal wedding coming up fast (we are counting down the days until May 19th!), we have been curious as to how similar US weddings and UK weddings really are. From registries to the ceremony, there are a lot of traditions to take into account, and thanks to WeddingWire, we now have the inside scoop!

Scroll through the gallery below to find out the percentage of British grooms that ask the bride's parents for permission before they propose to which couples tend to use social media more!

USA vs UK wedding stats
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USA vs UK wedding stats

The proposal

U.S. couples are more likely to approach parents ahead of an engagement (67%) compared to UK couples (49%).

Registry favorites

US couples are more likely to register at a national or regional retailer (61%) compared to UK couples (27%). UK couples prefer cash (57%), instead of gifts.

Night before nuptials

UK couples are more likely to spend the night before their wedding apart from their partner (84%) compared to US couples (68%).

Weddings + Social Media

US couples are embracing social media significantly more than UK couples. 86% of US couples announced their engagements via social media, 54% used a wedding hashtag, and 62% created wedding websites.

On the flip side, 65% of UK couples used social media to announce their engagements, only 18% set up a wedding hashtag, and only 19% created a wedding website.

# of Guests

The average number of guests attending a wedding in the UK is 85, while 127 guests typically attend US weddings.


US bridesmaids are more likely to wear different dress styles (59%) and colors (31%) compared to UK bridesmaids who are wearing different styles (26%) and colors (16%).


More British wedding traditions below!

British wedding traditions
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British wedding traditions

The cake

Forget the 6-tiered cake with buttercream frosting and pastel flowers. Traditional British wedding cakes frequently consist of a fruit cake.

Duchess Kate and Prince William's wedding cake was multi-tiered with white icing. It was made with brandy, apricot jam, marizpan as well as cherries, raisins and currants. 


The bigger, the better.

Hats are a traditional part of wedding wear for the British. Female guests frequently sport fascinators during daytime weddings, but all guests are expected to wear a hat at a high society wedding like Meghan and Harry's. Male guests will remove their hats once they enter the church, while female guests will keep it on unless it blocks the view of other guests.

Those who don hats must choose one smaller than the Mother of the Bride, and one that is understated as to not outshine the bride. 


In the UK, it's bridesmaids and ushers, not groomsmen. 

And whereas our weddings include close friends and family members in the bridal party, a British wedding, especially a royal one, typically consists of children and page boys. That being said, expect a lot of Prince George and Princess Charlotte sightings on the big day. 


Unlike many of today's weddings, where bridesmaids lead the procession before the bride, traditional British weddings feature bridesmaids who follow the bride.

Wedding breakfasts

According to PopSugar, British weddings feature a meal called the "wedding breakfast," no matter the time of day. Kate and Will's wedding breakfast, which was attended by 300+ of their closest friends at Buckingham Palace, included lamb, salmon and chocolate parfait. NBD

Hen-do and stags 

Stags and hen-do are the English equivalent of our bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Explained one New York Times article about the difference between bachelorette parties and hen-dos: "Everything is about making the bride feel like the most loved, amazing, brilliant person in the world.” 

Since showers aren't regularly thrown for the bride in the UK, friends take the time to shower and pamper the bride during a hen-do.

Brides wear white

While brides in the US have been known to dabble with ivories, blushes and the occasional creams, brides in the UK almost always wear white. It's actually a tradition set by Queen Victoria at her wedding in 1840.

Morning suits

Weddings in the US maybe organized by dress code -- black tie, cocktail, casual -- but in the UK, almost all weddings have the same dress codes for men: Morning suits.

"Daytime formal dress" includes a 3-piece suit, consisting of a waistcoat and trousers. 


“Americans always give such emotional and touching speeches, but in Britain, the best man—or woman—generally sets out to mortify the groom with much hilarity," explained a 2016 Vogue article

Embarrassing the bride and groom is typically reserved for the rehearsal dinner -- which isn't a thing for Brits! 


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