Post # 1
While my side of the family is American, he’s a first generation immigrant from the Mediterranean. There’s been a lot of talk about how relatively extravagant American weddings are compared to more subdued celebrations in Europe. Can anyone relate? For those with families outside the US whose cultures don’t typically make a huge deal out of weddings, did you have to compromise on the scale or style of the wedding?
Post # 3
Can’t really sympathize as in my culture (West African), we generally have extravegant weddings. As in a 200 person wedding is considered to be a small wedding.
Post # 4
I feel some of what you are saying my fiancee is from Sweden and all of his family will be coming out to California for our wedding and I am so nervous that they will think my choices are over the top. His mom has even said things like ” O I saw that in a movie before” and when she saw my planning binder she was like ” I did not know people actually used those!”.
Post # 5
Having been to several weddings in Italy and Greece, I would challenge the idea that Mediterranean weddings are subdued! Some of the biggest and most extravagant (and hugely fun and joyful) weddings I’ve ever been to have been from that part of the world. Last summer, I was at a Greek wedding with around 450 guests and incredibly luxurious and beautiful — it was amazing, but I couldn’t imagine having a wedding on that scale (and from what I’ve observed UK, US and Australian weddings are fairly similar in approach).
I don’t quite have that issue, but as an immigrant to the UK from Australia I’m finding a few challenges in combining my expectations/wedding ideal with what’s usual here — only little things, but some of them have made me (and my mum!) stop and think.
Post # 6
I have been to a luxerious and amazing wedding in Poland. I have been to a cheap wedding in Germany. My wedding is going to be an extravagant european wedding! I think it really depends on the people.
Post # 7
I can’t really agree with you about the weddings in Europe.
I’m born in Sweden but my parents are Greek, so I have one foot in each culture. I can really agree with what has been said about Greek weddings here above.
In Sweden i have been to really extravagant weddings and really low key weddings. In Sweden a big wedding has over 75 people – that is a very small wedding in Greece… Maybe b/c in Greece parents pay for their chidren’s weddings whereas that is not so common in Sweden. People in Sweden become independent from their parents at a very early stage of their lives. A lot of couples also live together and have children wiithout getting married. It’s a big thing to get married here but not everyone dreams about it and it is not really necessary. B/c you can’t expect any financial help from your parents the extravagance of a wedding clearly depends on the financial situation of the couple.
My parents are paying for my wedding. Its a church wedding and the reception will be at a castle near by the church (nowdays the castle is used as a hotel and spa).
(sorry for all the miss spelled words I don’t have Ms word on this computer)
Post # 8
I was curious about this. We have some friends from Italy who will be making their first trip to the US for our wedding (and can I just say how totally flattered and excited I am??) and I was wondering what kind of differences there would be for them.
Their 2 daughters will be coming as well, and they are roughly my age. They will be invited to the bachelorette, the rehearsal, the shower and the wedding, so they will get their fill of American wedding related activities!
Post # 9
@wonderlanded, that’s really interesting! I’m glad to hear that you’ve been to some bigger weddings in the Mediterranean, I feel like I can now challenge the insistence that “weddings there are not as big of a deal”!
I wonder if the issue is not so much relative “extravagance” (i.e. money), but more like level of formality/guest list size. I wonder if the very large, relatively informal, but still expensive wedding is the most peculiarly “American”? I guess the other big thing is having a large wedding party, speeches, the bachelor/ette parties, showers? I’ve certainly heard of stag & doe parties, though, so maybe that’s not the case?
@Ms.Lundvik I have a friend who’s dating a Danish man and their attitude about long-term partnering sounds very similar to what you describe in Sweden (again, I’m generalizing, so my apologies if I’m way off base!). They have kind of an indifferent attitude about actually getting married and, if they do, it would likely be a very small wedding.
Post # 10
In France, weddings are very very very different!
Very traditional, very soft, very solemn, it’s almost sad until the cocktail party!
It’s not what you can see in magazines…
Post # 11
@ Cinnamon Roll
Without generalizing – yes – I think Danish and Swedish culture is quite the same in many aspects, same thing applies for Norway too. (Finland and Iceland)
These countries have similar government and collaborate in various political areas and legislation. For example we have been working together concerning the area of Family Law for over a 100 years.
A lot of men and women I know don’t even think about getting married. For example my FI’s brother, he has been with the same woman since they both were 16 (they are 9 years older than us (40 y old. now)). They have a nice house, 3 beautiful boys and so on.
But as I said before I have been to some nice and lavish weddings too, sigh…
Post # 12
I do not think that I can agree. I come from a Mediterranean island and here, huge and ultra extravagant weddings are the norm. I am having a 400 person reception with open bar and food buffets. Unfortunately, some people end up in debt, in order to organise these types of weddings.
Post # 13
I’m from the UK but living in Canada and the biggest difference I can see is the size of the guest list. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a wedding where there are over 150 guests… ours will be about 110 and that is bigger than I’d have liked. Wedding favours aren’t such a big deal in the UK either and we don’t tend to have rehearsal dinners. Rehearsals, yes, but not an expensive dinner afterwards. Open bars aren’t the norm in the UK and we don’t tend to have bridal showers either. But I don’t think our weddings are more subdued, just smaller, and as others have pointed out, European weddings vary greatly from country to country. Our wedding is in Spain where things are different again!
Post # 14
My grandparents and my mom’s sister were all born in Italy and moved here years ago. The thing with Italian Americans is that everyone competes with one another. I went to a distant cousins graduation party and it was very similar to a wedding. It took place at an extravagant golf club. There was an Italian band and dancing and a five course meal. At weddings, everything is over the top. I can not say if it is similar to weddings in Italy but I know italian Americans have to have huge huge events. All of the friends and relatives of the parents of the bride/groom have to do it better than the last wedding that was thrown.
Post # 15
I call BS on European weddings being less extravagant. Just like the US, it depends on the bride/groom and parents on how far the wedding will go. Some people just go to city hall with their witnesses (or even use the city hall witnesses) to formalize their relationship and that’s that. Some people have huge religious ceremonies in the church after their civil ceremony. Some, like Fiance and I, have a more fancy civil ceremony that has some elements of a church wedding like a wedding dress.
Our wedding guestlist is a modest 40 people and we have some more extravagant elements like getting a 1935 rolls with driver for our arrival car (wedding cars are the norm here but I feel it’s extravagant). We’re also including all our guests in a tapas buffet dinner (which is more an American tradition) vs. just throwing some apps at them then sneaking out with the parents and witnesses for a fancy dinner elsewhere.
Since living here I’ve been to all range of weddings…some rather over the top and those were europeans w/o non-euro spouses!
Post # 16
Erm, I would say that European weddings (particularly in Mediterranean countries) are anything but subdued, it’s like going to a carnival!!!!
British weddings are prob a bit scaled down in comparison to their US counterparts, but not all, believe me I’ve been to a few over the top weddings in Scotland & England were the Bride and Groom went all out.
I really think it’s more of an individual choice rather than any thing to do with culture or nationality. You should have the wedding you want and if that means it’s over the top, then you go for it!!!! 🙂 x