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american-wedding-guide

Getting Married In The USA

The United States hosts some of the most diverse culture and scenery in the world. It's ethnic roots and New World flair boast romantic options in all 50 states, from effervescent shores to rocky mountains and deserts.

Containing an overwhelming array of venues, the USA is an alluring option for any couple desiring a destination wedding. Locations such as Las Vegas provide for a stress-free and quick means to wed. Others, like New England, boast the quintessential American pizzazz. Some prefer the city vibe and nightlife that New York, L.A., and Miami can offer, among others. Yet some may also prefer a laid-back atmosphere in the countryside. The diversity that the USA offers can provide any type of destination wedding imaginable.

Fact File Highlights
Weather & Climate Culture & Etiquette
Food & Drink Money & Wedding Costs
Legal Requirements States

Fact File

  • Size: 9.827 million km²
  • Population: Approximately 314 million
  • Capital City: Washington, D.C.
  • Currency: United States dollar (USD)
  • Languages Spoken: English (229 million), Spanish (35 million)
  • Main Religions: Christianity (approximately 76%)
  • Major Holidays:
    • New Year's Day - 1 January
    • Martin Luther King Day - Third Monday in January
    • Valentine's Day - 14 February
    • President's Day - Third Monday in February
    • St. Patrick's Day - 17 March
    • Good Friday - Friday preceding Easter Sunday
    • Easter - Varies each year.
    • Mother's Day - Second Sunday in May
    • Memorial Day - Last Monday in May
    • Father's Day - Third Sunday in June
    • Independence Day - 4 July
    • Labor Day - Last Monday in September
    • Columbus Day - Second Monday in October
    • Halloween - 31 October
    • Veterans Day - 11 November
    • Thanksgiving Day - Fourth Thursday in November
    • Christmas - 25 December

Highlights

Yellowstone National Park

For any nature lover, Yellowstone National Park is pure bliss. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, wildlife and picturesque surroundings are what make the Yellowstone experience one to remember.

The Grand Canyon

This godly canyon is a sight to behold. It's dramatic depth, warm colors, and brilliant rivers all make a fantastic photo opportunity or venue location.

Autumn in New England

There is nothing so characteristic in New England as its foliage during autumn. Enjoy the quaint character of this historical part of the U.S.

Las Vegas

Any couple with a desire for a wild and plain fun destination wedding must head over to Las Vegas. Casinos, shows, and good food make for a fantastic Las Vegas getaway. Venues here are known for their quick and often budget-consciences wedding services.

Nightlife in Miami

Miami is an energetic city with what many consider as the best nightlife in the U.S. Enjoy its close proximity to some of the best beaches in the country. Miami seems to have it all.

Hawaii

The exotic island lifestyle among this chain of islands is Nirvana for many. Hawaii is reasonably one of the most romantic destinations for a couple to travel to, with plenty of options for venues, warm beaches, outings, and nightlife in Honolulu.

Skiing in Colorado

Colorado's ski resorts are packed with rustic style lodging, the best slopes in the U.S., and refreshing surroundings.

Hollywood, California

Celebrity culture, cinema, nightlife, and beaches allure couples from all over the world to head over to Hollywood.

Time Square, New York City

The entertainment center of the largest city in the U.S., Time Square is a hub of culture that lights the night with neon billboards and entertainment. For any destination wedding in the Big Apple, Time Square is a must.

Glacier Cruise in Alaska

Considered America's "Last Frontier", Alaska is a picturesque wonder filled with wildlife and glaciers. A cruise along the coast yields pristine untouched land and whales will likely surface alongside the vessel.

Weather and Climate

The sheer size of the United States accounts for vast differences in annual weather and climate. The climate can be separated into northern, central, and southern regions.

The northern climate, which extends all the way from Washington to Maine, experiences an annual average of around 50-60 °F (10-16 °C). The winters are harsh here and the summers are rather mild.

The central region experiences about a 60-70 °F (16-21 °C) annual average. The west portion of the central region can experience intense dryness, with hot summers and very mild winters. The east portion can experience equally harsh winters and summers.

The southern region experiences about a 70-80 °F (21-27 °C) annual average. Winters in this region are very mild, with snowfall extremely unlikely in most of the states that fall here. The summer can be harsh and very humid.
Precipitation is frequent among the right half of the USA, with an average of 40 to 60 inches annually. The left half of the USA experiences much left precipitation, at about 5-25 inches annually, with the exception of the moist Pacific Northwest. The Pacific Northwest is the wettest portion of the USA, with about 70-140 inches annually.

Culture and Etiquette

Because most U.S. citizens are of a diverse background, culture and etiquette in the United States is very fluid. There are however certain norms that one should be aware of before coming to the United States.

Time is very fixed in the U.S. and being late is usually frowned upon. During conversation, eye contact is usually expected. Americans generally greet each other in formal situations with a handshake. Friends might greet each other by a hug, depending on the situation. In most contexts, you are expected to dress for the occasion.

Food and Drink

Food and drink will vary depending on the state and region you’re traveling to. Typically an American breakfast consists of coffee or orange juice, eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, or toast.

Lunch and dinner are much more varied. Sandwich based lunches are very common. Many American's choose to drink coffee until the afternoon.

Dinner is typically eaten around 5-8 PM and is usually the most formal meal of the day. Dinners are often but not always protein based and larger in portion.

Some classic American foods include:

  • Rueben sandwich
  • Philly cheesesteak
  • Cheeseburgers
  • Cornbread
  • Chicago deep dish pizza
  • Chili-cheese hotdogs
  • Banana splits
  • S'mores
  • Macaroni and cheese

Tipping at a restaurant in America is expected and usually the consensus is 15% of the bill. Tipping generosity should usually be consistent with how well the service was that you received. Many people choose to tip more if the service was excellent. Service charges are usually non-existent, but in those that do have it, it will be added to the bill. State tax rates vary and should be observed accordingly.

Money and Wedding Costs

As always, a wedding’s cost dramatically increases with the more guests invited. The location of your destination wedding also affects the cost significantly. Venues in highly desirable locations such as Hawaii or Los Angeles can be very expensive. Because of these factors, your projected destination wedding cost in the USA is highly variable. On average a wedding in the USA costs approximately $28,000.

Legal Requirements for Marrying in the USA

Warning The following notes are not comprehensive and are intended as a guide only. Before planning your wedding in the USA we strongly advise you to contact the United States embassy in your home country or your country's embassy in the USA to obtain up-to-date legal requirements.

The legal requirements to marry in the USA can differ between states. Typically legal requirements involve:

  • A clerk issuing a marriage license in the state you desire to have your wedding at.
  • Proof of immunizations.
  • Proof of divorce if necessary.
  • Fulfilling the "waiting period" issued by the state. This varies by state. For instance in Delaware, couples must wait 4 days after the marriage license has been issued before the ceremony can occur.
  • Multiple witnesses might need to sign a marriage certificate, including any authority that performs the ceremony.
  • Having the marriage license recorded by sending copies of the certificate to an agency.

It’s wise to confirm your chosen state's requirements before you plan your wedding.  You can also find out more information from the US embassy in your home country.

States of America

The USA consists of 50 states plus the federal district of Washington, D.C. which is not part of any state. Each has its own laws and requirements for marrying. You’ll also discover that each state and federal district is unique and possesses different qualities which will make the wedding of your dreams a reality.

Find out more about the States of America or browse our USA Wedding Directory to start planning your dream wedding.