The Typical British Wedding

One thing I have gotten from a lot of the comments I have received is that people are excited to see a British wedding. So I want to pause my planning documentation for just a moment and share something with you.

I was watching YouTube videos the other night and came across a clip of a Peter Kay sketch where he talks about family weddings. For those who are not familiar with Peter Kay, he’s a comedian from my hometown in the north of England, and this particular scene literally has me in tears of laughter. I would very much love it if you watched even the first two minutes of this to gain a little insight into what is—for a lot of people—a typical British wedding.

Video via YouTube / Clip from Peter Kay: Live at the Top of the Tower

Have you been enlightened? Not just because you are now picturing me with that exact same accent. (It’s not that strong—I promise!)

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been surrounded by wedding blogs that I’ve developed this image in my head of American weddings. I imagine outdoor ceremonies, vows written by the bride and groom, huge floral centrepieces, and dramatic lighting. I have never, ever pictured a wedding in the States having DJs that muffle, or little boys skidding on their knees.

I have definitely been to a few weddings like the one described in the video (in fact, my mum reminded me of one where my brother tied pork pies to the balloons?!), and although they are not typically glamorous affairs, they are 100% fun. I’m hoping we’ll still retain a little bit of this in our wedding. Maybe not the inaudible DJ and multiple platters of sausage rolls, but I would love to catch some of the grown men with ties around their heads at 11:00 PM.

For those who watched the video—were you surprised? Or is this kind of thing standard in every country, and we just never see them documented anywhere anymore? I’d love to hear your stories!


Mrs. Jackrabbit

Brighton, UK
Wedding Date:
September 2013
Gallery of the Day
My Bride Moment: I Said Yes to the Dress!
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  1. glasses Member
    glasses 2749 posts, Sugar bee @ 8:32 am

    Hmmmm it seems like British weddings and American weddings are not so different in terms of the cast of characters! I am curious about your timeline – the one that I am going to in April starts at 11 AM for the ceremony, which is usually not the case here, and I wonder what goes on between the ceremony and reception when ceremonies start that early? It also includes an all day breakfast the next day, which I know happens in America occasionally, but is not so common. It will be really interesting to see how differently.. or perhaps the same? The traditions and activities are!

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    lia, Guest @ 8:41 am

    There are MANY pictures of my cousins (we’re of mexican decent) with ties around their heads on a dance floor while it is still light outside. And if I have to hear the Grease Megamix one more time…. And those exact same things happened at my Jordanian and Chinese friend’s graduation parties.

  3. msjackrabbit Member
    msjackrabbit 1080 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:47 am

    @lia: oh YAY! i NEVER see anything like that from weddings in other cultures. maybe it’s because they hide the evidence from the internet?! Hahaha

    @Mrs. Glasses: my friend’s ceremony is at 11am and we’ll go straight to the reception! have canapes first, then the meal will be served at 2pm/3pm and dancing will go on from straight after the meal until the bitter end. We don’t like to waste a single moment :) And never heard of a breakfast the next day – I thought that was a US thing!

  4. Member
    scottishmrs 3213 posts, Sugar bee @ 9:18 am

    Many of the weddings I’ve been to involve ties around peoples’ heads (Canada). They’re very “family” type events. The last few people there are usually totally wasted by the time they leave too. I’ve seen crummy DJs and kids making messes and sneaking icing from the cake and running around pretending to fly while the bride and groom share their first dance. All sorts of craziness! I’m not sure really what the difference is with British weddings.

  5. mstreasure Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:59 am

    haha My godson was sliding all over the floor at our reception. That’s a universal little boy thing, I think. Also, now I really want a tray of sausage rolls. Mmmm!

  6. Member
    chronicwhimsy 2581 posts, Sugar bee @ 10:35 am

    I love Peter Kay, and that skit is one of my favourites!

    Mmm, sausage rolls…

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    estella, Guest @ 10:44 am

    Oh yes, this is totally like some of the weddings I’ve attended in the United States!

  8. Member
    Darcy212 264 posts, Helper bee @ 11:38 am

    I went to a talk thing today (in Leicester uni) and the guy talking was making a comparison to the best day of his life and his wedding. There was a group of posh looking american/canadian students who looked genuinely shocked when this guy was excitedly talking about his full english wedding breakfast and the fact his 200 guests “only” equated a “couple of hundred £s worth of presents”.

    I’ve never actually been to a wedding of more than 120 and I’ve been to a lot of weddings

    Timeline wise every wedding I’ve been to has started at either 12 or 1, then the three course meal at 2 or 3 and evening buffet at 8ish.

  9. Member
    Pink Penguin 144 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:46 am

    I totally with you on wondering about the glamorous images online of American weddings. I’m hoping for somewhere in between – a nice glamorous ceremony, drinks and meal and then a Peter Kay style “British” party til the bitter end as you say!
    I think a typical timeline post would be good to see as I have seen a lot of blog weddings that are either in the morning and the reception ends sometime early afternoon or starting much later about 6pm with a short or no evening do after dinner. x

  10. Member
    Pink Penguin 144 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:47 am

    P.S. I was eating garlic bread as I watched that clip again – will always think “it’s the future” whenever I have it! x

  11. Member
    lolo7835 645 posts, Busy bee @ 12:04 pm

    This totally sounds like some of my family weddings that I’ve gone to here stateside.
    My 5 year old nephews were def doing to sliding on knees dancing, my grandma left early, and my groom and his brother were both dancing with ties on their heads.


  12. Member
    Irish_in_Oxford 104 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:34 pm

    Jackrabbit, I am loving your posts. Peter Kay on Weddingbee…I never thought I’d see the like! It’s the Uncle Knobhead bit that gets me every time…classic!

  13. Guest Icon Guest
    MsMagtoMrsK, Guest @ 12:54 pm

    LOL. That was great! It describes every wedding I have ever been to or seen on TV in America too! Families are just funny everywhere.

  14. msjackrabbit Member
    msjackrabbit 1080 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:14 pm

    @Irish_in_Oxford: “She’s got a beehive and a face like a smacked arse!” Actually laughing out loud right now hahaha.

  15. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:14 pm

    Definitely sounds like weddings in the US!

  16. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:21 pm

    I was definetley influenced by blogs into having an “americanized” wedding, not because I wanted it to be ameeican, but because I gathered a lot of inspiration from them that is still unheard of around here.

  17. Member
    shortbread 290 posts, Helper bee @ 2:31 pm

    We may not be having sausage rolls (which I do love) at our Scottish wedding but upon my fiance’s existence we are most certainly having pies for our late night snack and not the pies that we’re used to here in the States. We have to ensure that we have plenty of HP sauce on hand as well. :) I have been to both US weddings and UK weddings and I really have a blast at weddings in the UK. I thought we partied hard here but at least in Scotland the weddings seem to go all night. We’re also having a traditional Scottish ceilidh band so our US guests are in for quite a treat.

    I’m so happy to have you as a bee to read all about your planning and experiences. I’m planning a wedding in Scotland from here in teh States and it has proven to be a bit challenging!

  18. Member
    chronicwhimsy 2581 posts, Sugar bee @ 2:32 pm

    @Darcy212: Was that one of the guest lectures at Leicester Uni? I’m based there too, and keep getting emails about them, but sadly I am not studious and they get filed straight into my trash folder. But that one sounds like fun!

  19. Member
    futuremrsdino 73 posts, Worker bee @ 12:38 am

    My family are from Blackburn so we will have the same thing at our wedding, with the same sort of accent!
    I love this sketch so much too! Only it won’t be the little boys sliding across the floor on their knees with their tie around their head…it will be the groom!
    We’re actually having a stacked cheeses instead of cake.

  20. msmongoose Member
    msmongoose 264 posts, Helper bee @ 11:56 am

    This is absolutely hilarious–this video seriously has been laughing my ass off right now. THANK you for the much needed laugh!!! And I think the “walking to the dance floor dance” is universal :)

  21. Member
    Darcy212 264 posts, Helper bee @ 2:38 pm

    @chronicwhimsy: Sort of, I’m not that much of a hard worker- I was hungry, wanted free lunch and thought a guest lecture would probably be a good bet! Most of the time they go in the junk folder though, along with the student elections waffle they keep sending around
    Birmingham NEC wedding fair this weekend, don’t suppose you’re going at all? Not normally something we’d do as it’s full of scary pushy people, but it’s to cold to do much at the moment!

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