Which Williamsburg Wedding Traditions You Have to Know About!

Looking for some fun, unique wedding traditions that you can incorporate into your special day? If you’re planning to get married in Williamsburg, Virginia, or are just looking for something that will set your wedding apart from the rest, we’ve got you covered.

17th and 18th century Williamsburg weddings had some really interesting traditions. Surprisingly enough, we’re finding that more and more modern trends have been inspired by these Colonial-era traditions.

We’ve listed three of our favorite Williamsburg Wedding Traditions to incorporate into your wedding that will help make your day unforgettable.

3 Unique Wedding Traditions for Williamsburg Weddings

man sitting on a wooden bench outside reading the newspaper

Wedding Announcements

Weddings in the 17th century were much more of a community affair than they are now. Couples often were married in the towns in which at least one of them grew up. Because of this, wedding announcements in the community were posted as an important part of the event as a way of letting close family, friends, and neighbors know about the happy news.

In fact, according to Colonial Quills, a wedding announcement at your church, called a banns, was most often used in place of a wedding certificate. The banns would be published on the church bulletin board of the couple’s parish for 3 consecutive meetings. As long as no objections were made by a member of the community parish, a wedding document was drawn up allowing them to marry. This was the less expensive (and more socially accepted) option.

How you can incorporate it…

While you may not have a community parish, you can still announce your special day! More modern examples of this would be publishing in the paper or even just posting the announcement on your Facebook page. However, if you want to add a quaint, old world touch to your wedding, consider posting to your community bulletin board! If you’re getting married in Williamsburg, Virginia, Bruton Parish Church is our local parish. And since this church has been here since 1674, there is no more authentic place at which to post. It’s a great way to incorporate the historic community of Williamsburg, Virginia into your wedding day.

the feet of a bride and groom facing each other standing on a grassy yard

Small Weddings at Home

Weddings were not typically held in churches or reception halls until the Victorian era. This meant that most weddings and receptions would be held in the home. But, that doesn’t mean these were unimportant affairs! Wedding reception parties at the time could last up to two days and included incredible feasts, dancing, and games with close family, friends, and neighbors.

How you can incorporate it…

We are finding that smaller, at home-style weddings are definitely trending right now. We like this trend for a few reasons:

It can be less expensive! Less guests and a smaller venue means less cost to the bride and groom.

It can be more intimate! Smaller weddings mean narrowing down the guest list to closest family and friends. This allows for more time to connect with your guests at the event.

It can be more focused! Smaller venues and weddings mean that you can spend less money on the things that are not important to you and more on the things that matter the most to you.

While you may not be able to host a full wedding at your own home (or may not want to!), there are other options for creating the same feel. Try choosing a smaller venue, such as a bed and breakfast, a garden, or a small art gallery.

Want to see some of the small, home-style weddings that we have hosted at Colonial Gardens? Click here to check out some photos!

two tired naked wedding cake with pink and white flowers as decoration

Small Cakes

The multi-tiered, elaborately decorated wedding cakes that are most commonly seen in weddings did not come to be popular until the Victorian era. According to FoodTimeline.com, the wedding cake would have been a simple, one tiered cake decorated in white. This was most often a spiced fruit cake with alcohol to keep the cake preserved. Two simple white cakes were usually served, one for the bride and one for the groom. The bride’s cake was usually saved and preserved in alcohol for the couple to enjoy on their next anniversary.

How you can incorporate it…

Simple cakes are becoming more and more of a trend for modern brides. We like this trend, especially if you plan to have a smaller event. Modern iterations of this tradition would be a simple naked cake or a single tier cake with cupcakes for guests. This trend went all the way to the latest royal wedding, with simply decorated one and two-tier cakes. These cakes add a sweet simplicity that we find wholesome and unique.


If you’re looking for a small, at home wedding venue, rich in history and Williamsburg community, check out the Colonial Gardens Bed and Breakfast wedding packages! Many of our packages include a stay at our quaint inn, just perfect for a Colonial Williamsburg inspired day!



Do you think you’ll incorporate any of these Williamsburg Wedding Traditions into your special day?



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