The more I go through life, the more I find there are more differences than similarities between English and American cultures.
The English do not have baby showers for the first thing. They kind of view the baby showers to be a materialistic event to get gifts out of people. They also prefer to celebrate after the birth, think of baby showers as counting your eggs before they hatch. They also have superstitions on things like it is bad luck to bring a pram/stroller in the house before a baby is born. They usually have a party when the baby is christened to celebrate the birth.
Here are some traditional baby gifts that you would find English people will give:
Baby rattles- might be silver
Silver feeding set
Albums or frames
Gifts for the baby not to take care of the baby.
They might have a things called 'wetting the baby's head' which is like when a father lights cigars when the baby is born. Its when the father goes for drinks to celebrate.
Its so interesting to see the differences between our cultures. Here are a few customs that you might see crop up if you go to an English wedding.
A bride should not wear the entire outfit before the wedding day.
A bride should not be seen by the groom in her wedding dress before the big day.
The wedding cake is often made of fruitcake. I am told this is because it keeps well when they send it to the people who couldn't attend the service.
The top tier of the cake is often saved for the christening of their first child.
Its believed that if an unmarried woman puts a piece of the wedding cake under her pillow, she will dream of the man she will marry.
Brides have hen nights and you might see them out with "L" plates on them. The "L" plates correspond to the same ones on cars for while you are learning to drive.
Grooms have stag dos (bachelor parties).
Weddings usually start around noon and last until the early hours of the morning.
They do not toss the garter.
They do not have wedding showers.
Brides often carry a horseshoe with them as a sign for good luck.
Hopefully these will prepare you for some things you are not used to, but more importantly enjoy yourself!
Traditional Gifts for Weddings
While you are over here, you might want to send your friends home something traditional for their weddings. In general, weddings have gone towards the way Americans do them but nonetheless, here is a few ideas you can send/give:
Mead- used to be given to couples to drink over the first month of their marriage as it was believed to improve fertility.
Lovespoon- this is a Welsh item but it is a wooden spoon with symbols of love. Looks great on a wall- got one at my wedding.
The anniversaries are different here too, check out this website.