7 differences between a North American and a Jamaican Wedding

Wedding traditions vary according to culture, and while there are some similarities between a Jamaican and a North American wedding, there are many differences. Listed below are seven of the major ones.

7 differences between a North American and a Jamaican Wedding
Jamaican Wedding Cake – Photo by Geoffrey Berry Photography

1. The food is one of the major differences. At many Jamaican weddings, the type of foods is similar. There is usually curried goat, pumpkin soup, jerked chicken, fried plantains, and fish. However, at American weddings, some classical food items are shrimp cocktail, roasted prime rib, grilled chicken, deviled eggs, and creamy whipped potatoes.

2. At a Jamaican wedding, it is not uncommon for uninvited guests to show up. Especially in local communities, individuals from around the community show up at the wedding (especially at the reception) without an invitation. In North America, this is uncommon, as it will be seen as intrusive to attend a wedding without being invited. These uninvited persons will be labeled as wedding crashers.

3. There is also a difference in the type of cake. The most popular type of wedding cake in Jamaica is the dark cake or fruitcake. This delicacy is a blend of aromatic spices such as nutmeg and dried fruit that has been soaking in rum for weeks. However, in America chocolate and vanilla cakes are the most popular choices.

4. In Jamaica, it is not uncommon for both the father and the mother to walk the bride down the aisle. In America, it is customary for the father to walk the bride down the aisle.

5. In Jamaica, the groom is not allowed to see the bride before the wedding. However, this tradition is changing in North America, as couples are now opting to have pre-wedding photographs, to prevent the guests from waiting for too long.

6. In America, just as the bride tosses the bouquet, the groom tosses the garter. Tossing the garter holds the same significance as tossing the bouquet. The groom removes the garter from the woman and tosses it to the man at the wedding. The man who catches it is said to be the next to marry. This can go even further where the man who caught the garter will place it on the woman who caught the bouquet. This is not a common practice in Jamaica, if it is even practiced at all.

7. In Jamaica, bridesmaids usually dress differently from the bride. It is not appropriate for the bride and bridesmaid to the look the same, as it is the bride’s day to shine. In America, this is the opposite as bridesmaids are expected to dress similarly to the bride. This is steeped in tradition as in the past, it was believed that evil spirits will try to capture the bride. To confuse these spirits, the bridesmaids would dress like the bride.

8. Fashionably late bride. In Jamaica, it’s common for the bride to be running late and keep her guests waiting, however, North American guests are likely to leave if kept waiting too long.

9. Family affair: In Jamaica, the entire family will do what they can to help. Aunty might make the cake and mommy might cook the appetizers. North American’s tend to offer financial assistance towards the wedding instead of offering their services(unless they are professional wedding vendors).

About Jennifer Borgh

Specializing in destination weddings in Jamaica and the Caribbean, Jennifer Borgh and her team ensure every single detail of her couples weddings are taken care of.

Her extensive background in weddings and travel has taken her all across the Caribbean, and has made her an expert in her field. Being Certified by The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, The Jamaica Tourist Board, Sandals Resorts and Travel Industry Council of Ontario, she is a professional in the wedding planning industry.

Jennifer’s tireless devotion to planning amazing weddings, and her knowledge of the latest industry trends, has had her featured in numerous publications

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