nuptials n : the social event at which the ceremony of marriage is performed [syn: wedding, wedding ceremony, hymeneals]
- Plural of nuptial
A wedding is a ceremony that celebrates the beginning of a marriage or civil union. Wedding traditions and customs vary greatly between cultures, ethnic groups, religions, countries, and social classes. In some countries, cultures and religions, the actual act of marriage begins during the wedding ceremony. In others, the legal act of marriage occurs at the time of signing a marriage license or other legal document, and the wedding is then an opportunity to perform a traditional ceremony and celebrate with friends and family. A woman being married is called a bride, a man called a bridegroom, and after the ceremony they become a wife or a husband, respectively.
Nuptial is the adjective of "wedding". It is used for example in zoology to denote plumage, coloration, behavior, etc related to or occurring in the mating season.
OverviewMost weddings contain wedding vows and a proclamation of marriage, usually by the officiant. Most weddings also involve wearing traditional clothes (i.e., kilts, white gown, red sari, etc.). A wedding is often followed or accompanied by a wedding reception.
Other elements may include music, poetry, prayer or scripture. Some elements of the traditional Western wedding ceremony symbolize the bride's departure from her father's control and entry into a new family with her husband. In modern Western weddings, this symbolism is largely vestigial.
The common element in a wedding is the assumption of spousal roles by the primary participants. The wedding is a special moment that marks the beginning of a new life together. Often, it is also a precursor to parenthood, marking the promise of a new family and a new generation. This moment is recognized with traditions, ceremonies and rituals including engagement and wedding ceremonies.
When it comes to planning a wedding, people often honor traditions, even if they do not fully understand their origin or meaning. Every culture cherishes its own wedding traditions and superstitions. Some of those are closely followed even by those who are normally not superstitious.
The figure of a bride in white is an important element of the ritual of marriage in western culture. However, new designs of gown are available so brides today may find themselves attracted to designs that do not look traditional. The symbolism behind the wedding dress, however, has not changed.
Wedding types and kinds
Double weddingA double wedding is a single ceremony where two affianced couples rendezvous for two simultaneous or consecutive weddings. Typically, a fiancé with a sibling might plan a double wedding with that sibling. In the Philippines, however, the wedding of two siblings within the same year is considered bad luck and is called sukob.
Destination weddingA destination wedding is any wedding in which the engaged couple and/or a majority of their guests travel to attend the ceremony. This could be a beach ceremony in the Caribbean, a lavish event in Las Vegas, or a simple ceremony at the home of a geographically distant friend or relative.
Weekend weddingA weekend wedding is a wedding in which couples and their guests celebrate over the course of a weekend. Special activities, such as spa treatments and golf tournaments, may be scheduled into the wedding itinerary throughout the weekend. Lodging usually is at the same facility as the wedding and couples often host a Sunday brunch for the weekend's finale.
White weddingA white wedding is a term for a traditional formal or semi-formal Western wedding. This term refers to the color of the wedding dress, which became popular in the Victorian era and came to symbolize purity of heart and the innocence of childhood. Later attribution suggested that the color white symbolized virginity.
Military weddingA military wedding is a ceremony conducted in a military chapel and may involve a Saber Arch. In most military weddings the groom will wear a military dress uniform in lieu of civilian formalwear, although military dress uniforms largely serve the same purpose. Some retired military personnel who marry after their service has ended may opt for a military wedding.
Civil weddingA civil wedding is a ceremony presided over by a local civil authority, such as an elected or appointed judge, justice of the peace or the mayor of a locality. Civil wedding ceremonies may use references to God or a deity (in UK law), but generally no references to a particular religion or denomination. They can be either elaborate or simple. Many civil wedding ceremonies take place in local town or city halls or courthouses in judge's chambers.
Sneak weddingEloping, the act of getting married behind people's back and without consent or approval.
Same-sex weddingA same-sex wedding or same-gender wedding is a ceremony in which two people of the same sex are married or civilly united. This may be an official and legally recognized event, or, in places that do not allow same-sex marriage, it may simply be a symbolic ceremony designed to provide the opportunity to make the same public declarations and celebration with friends and family that any other type of wedding may afford.
Church weddingA church wedding is a ceremony presided over by a Christian priest or pastor. Ceremonies are based on reference to God, are frequently embodied into other church ceremonies such as Holy Mass . Customs may vary widely between denominations.
Jewish weddingA Jewish wedding is a ceremony presided over by someone who can read Hebrew and knows Jewish law, usually, but not necessarily, a rabbi. The rabbi recites the two wedding blessings, reads out the ketubah, and recites the seven blessings, or Sheva Brachot. Today, a second Rabbi or another honored guest is given the privilege of reading the ketubah, and seven other people are given the honor of reciting the blessings. The ceremony concludes when the groom breaks a glass underfoot. After that the bride and groom are lifted by chairs.
International wedding customs
Common elements in wedding customs across culturesA number of cultures utilize the western custom of a bride wearing a white dress. This tradition came to symbolize purity in the Victorian era (despite popular misconception, the white dress did not indicate virginity, which was symbolized by the face veil). Within the ‘white wedding’ tradition, a white dress and veil would not have been considered appropriate for a second or third wedding of a widow or a divorcee.
The custom of exchanging rings may be the oldest and most universal symbol of marriage, but the origins are unclear. The ring’s circular shape represents perfection and never-ending love. The rings are exchanged during the wedding ceremony and symbolize the love, faithfulness and commitment of the marriage union.
The wedding is often followed by a reception during which the rituals include toasting the bride and groom, the newlyweds' first dance as husband and wife, cake cutting, etc.
- Qipao or Hanfu, Chinese traditional formal wear
- Batik and Kebaya, a garment worn by the Javanese people of Indonesia.
- Barong Tagalog, an embroidered, formal men's garment of the Philippines.
- Kimono, the traditional garments of Japan
- Sari, Indian popular and traditional dress in India
- Ao dai, traditional garments of Vietnam
- Morning dress, men's daytime formal dress
- Kilt, male garment particular to Scottish culture
- Kittel, a white robe worn by the groom at an Orthodox Jewish wedding. The kittel is worn only under the Chupah, and is removed before the reception.
- Topor, a type of conical headgear
- Black tie ("dinner jacket" in the UK; traditionally appropriate only for evening weddings but also seen in daytime, especially in the United States)
- Non-traditional "tuxedo" variants (colored jackets/ties, "wedding suits")
- White tie ("evening dress" in the UK)
- Sherwani, a long coat-like garment worn in South Asia
- Wedding crown, worn by Scandinavian brides
- Wedding veil
- Wedding dress
Western weddingsMusic often played at western weddings includes a processional song for walking down the aisle (ex: Wedding March) and reception dance music.
Music played at Western weddings includes:
- The "Bridal Chorus" from Lohengrin by Richard Wagner, often used as the processional and commonly known as "Here Comes the Bride" - Note: Richard Wagner is said to have been Anti-Semitic, and as a result, the Bridal Chorus is often not used at Jewish weddings.
- Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D is often used as an alternative processional.
- The "Wedding March" from Felix Mendelssohn's incidental music for the Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, often used as a recessional.
- The "Toccata" from Charles-Marie Widor's Symphony for Organ No. 5, also used as a recessional.
- Segments of the Ode To Joy, the fourth movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, sometimes make appearances at weddings; its message of unity is suitable for the occasion.
- At wedding receptions, Der Ententanz, a 1950s Swiss Oom-pah song known more commonly in America as The Chicken Dance, has become a popular part of the reception dance music.
Chinese weddingsChinese music plays an important role in creating a happy, friendly environment during the wedding ceremony. A band of musicians with gongs and flute-like instruments accompanies the bride parade to groom's home. Similar music is also played at the wedding banquet.
Jewish weddingsAt traditional Jewish weddings, a solemn, wordless tune is sung as the groom and then bride walk down the aisles. Chabad tradition is to sing a special tune composed by their founding Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the tune is comprised of four stanzas corresponding to the four worlds of kabbalistic cosmology, and is only sung at solemn occasions. During the recessional, lively Hebrew songs are sung by the guests, who escort the couple from the chuppah.
Asian customsCustoms vary throughout the Asian continent.
Arabic customsArabic weddings vary depending on the country and religion of the bride and groom. Although Christian weddings in the Arab World bear clear similarities to Western weddings, the Muslim weddings in the Arab countries are influenced by Muslim traditions. Muslim weddings (pre-arranged or not) start with a Shaikh and Al-Kitab (book) for the bride and groom. The groom may or may not see his bride until the wedding day. Men and women in wedding ceremonies and receptions are segregated affairs, with areas for both men and women. An old tradition, now rarely observed, involves the women at the ceremony symbolically mourning the loss of the bride by doing the "wedding wail". The bride's dress is an ornate Caftan, and the bride's hands and feet are decorated in intricate lace-like patterns painted using a henna dye. Customarily women guests do not show their hair, shoulders or legs; and all guests at a Mosque remove their shoes on entering. Guests may give gifts to the bride and groom. Also, in many Arab countries including Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian terroritories,the practice of carrying the bride and groom on chairs and dancing in a circle around them is still carried out today. Many times, the bride and groom hold separate corners of a handkercheif. However, these are all the old traditions; Arabs, nowadays, have Western-like weddings, but still preserve most Arab customs and traditions.
Bengali customsBengali wedding refers to both Muslim wedding and Hindu wedding in Bangladesh and West Bengal. Although Muslim and Hindu marriages have their distinctive religious rituals, there are many common cultural rituals in marriages across religion among Bengali people.
Chinese customsTraditional Chinese marriage is a ceremonial ritual within Chinese societies that involve a marriage established by pre-arrangement between families. Within Chinese culture, romantic love was allowed, and monogamy was the norm for most ordinary citizens.
Cantonese customsMost Cantonese wedding rituals follow the main Chinese wedding traditions, although some rituals are unique to the Cantonese people.
Filipino CustomsCustoms and superstitions regarding marriage in the Philippines vary. Some examples are:
- The groom usually wears the Barong Tagalog during the wedding, along with the male attendants, though nowadays the wealthy opt to don Western attire such as a tuxedo.
- Sukob: weddings held within the same year by two siblings, usually sisters, are frowned upon as it is regarded as bad luck.
- Some hold it that the wedding rings dropping to the ground is a portent of bad luck (this is usually said to the ringbearer to ensure that the child is careful in handling the rings).
- Money, in the form of paper bills, is sometimes taped or pinned to the groom and bride during the reception.
Indian customsIndian weddings are very bright events, filled with ritual and celebration, that continue for several days. They are not small affairs, often with 400-1000 people attending (many of whom are unknown to the bride and groom). Although most marriages are arranged, some couples in urban areas are having love marriages.
Rajput customsRajputs - one of the major Hindu Kshatriya groups from India - traditionally had their own typical rituals of marriage as it is one of the most important functions of life. It is relation which is created for seven generations between the two families of the Bride & the Groom. It comprises a ceremony each for the TILAK (engagement), the BAN (starting of the wedding ceremony, MEL the community feast, the Nikasi is the departure of the Bridegroom party for the wedding, Sehla & Dhukav reception of wedding party at the Brides place be her parents. Solemnisation of wedding Sat Fere.
Japanese customsJapanese wedding customs fall predominantly into two categories: traditional Shinto ceremonies, and modern Western-style ceremonies. In either case, the couple must first be legally married by filing for marriage at their local government office, and the official documentation must be produced in order for the ceremony to be held.
Shinto ceremonyAt the reception, the couple customarily uses a toasting cup called a Coupe de Marriage. The origin of giving this toast began in France, when a small piece of toast was literally dropped into the couple's wine to ensure a healthy life. The couple would lift their glass to "a toast", as is common in Western culture today.
Some couples choose to serve a croquembouche instead of a wedding cake. This dessert is a pyramid of crème-filled pastry puffs, drizzled with a caramel glaze.
At a more boisterous wedding, tradition involves continuing the celebration until very late at night. After the reception, those invited to the wedding will gather outside the newlyweds' window and bang pots and pans. They are then invited into the house for some more drinks in the couple's honor, after which the couple is finally allowed to be alone for their first night together as husband and wife.
Another practice that is becoming more common at wedding celebrations is "beheading" a bottle of champagne with a sabre made for the occasion. It was started as a way for the Hussars (under Napoleon's command) to celebrate victories and exhibit their horseback skills: they would "behead" the top off a bottle of champagne while on horseback. Legend has it that the skilled horsemen would ride at a full gallop while brave women held up bottles of champagne. The sabre must strike the neck of the bottle at exactly the right angle (champagne bottles have over 100 pounds of pressure per square inch).
This practice spread throughout France as a way to celebrate special occasions. Decorative replicas of these special sabres can be purchased from artisans in Lyon, France (the French capital of cutlery).
Italian customsIn some parts of Italy, a party, known as a Serenade, is thrown outside of the bride’s home by the groom. His family and friends come and wait for the bride, entertaining themselves until she appears. The groom then sings to his bride to further seduce her. Once his song is sung, the party ends.
The day of the wedding the groom’s men try their hardest to make the groom as uncomfortable as possible by saying things like “Maybe she forgot where the church is”
It is also traditional for the grooms family to give a dowry to the bride and to provide the engagement ring. The bride’s family is then responsible for receiving the guests of the wedding in their home for a reception afterward.
The color green is very important in the Italian wedding. In Italy, the tradition of some thing blue is replaced with something green. This color brings good luck to the married couple. The veil and brides maids also were important in an Italian wedding. The tradition began in Ancient Rome when the veil was used to hide the bride from any spirits that would corrupt her and the bridesmaids were to wear similar outfits so that the evil spirits were further confused.
In Sicilian customs, the dessert course is often presented as a Venetian Table, a dazzling array of pastries, fruits, coffees, cakes, (etc) presented in great quantity with much celebration. This is often called Venetian Hour.
After dessert, more dancing commences, gifts are given, and the guests eventually begin to leave. In Southern Italy, as the guests leave, they hand envelopes of money to the bride and groom, who return the gift with a wedding favor, a small token of appreciation.
Polish customsIn Polish weddings the celebrations may continue for two or three days. In the past, the engagement ceremony was organized by the future groom as a formal family gathering, during which he asked his chosen lady to marry him. In the recent years this custom has changed and today an engagement is much more personal and intimate. An elegant dinner party afterwards is still a nice way to inform the closest family members about the couples' decision to get married.
In some regions of Poland the tradition to invite the wedding guests in person is still upheld. Many young couples, accompanied by the parents, visit their family and friends to hand them the wedding invitations personally.
According to the old tradition a groom arrives with his parents at the house of a bride just before the wedding ceremony. At that time both parents and parents-in-law give a young couple their blessing. The couple enter the church together and walks up to the altar followed by two witnesses and the parents. In Poland it is quite unusual for the bride to be walked down the aisle or to have bridesmaids and groomsmen in a wedding. The couple is assisted by two witnesses, a man (usually grooms' side) and a woman (usually brides' side) who are either family members or close friends.
The Polish bride traditionally wears a white dress and a veil. The groom, on the other hand usually wears a fitted suit with a bow tie and a boutonnière that matches the brides' bouquet. During the ceremony wedding rings are exchanged and both the husband and wife wear them on their right hand. When they leave the church the guests toss rice or coins at the married couple for good and prosperous future together. Right after the ceremony the closest family and all the guest form a line in the front of the church to congratulate the newlyweds and wish them love and happiness. As soon as the married couple leave the church they get showered with rice for luck or guests drop coins at their feet for them to pick up.
Once all the guests have showered the couple with kisses, hugs and flowers everyone heads to the reception. It is a custom in Poland to prepare "passing gates" on the way to the reception for the newlyweds, who in order to pass have to give the "gate keepers" some vodka. This is a misinterpretation of an earlier tradition, when the "passing gates" were built when the bride was an orphan and money collected by "gate keepers" from the guests was handed over to the bride as her dowry (being orphan implied usually poverty).
The married couple is welcomed at the reception place by the parents with bread and salt. The bread symbolizes the prosperity, salt stands for hardship of life, the parents wish the young couple that they never go hungry and learn how to deal with every day hardships together. The wedding party lasts (and the bride and groom remain) until the last guest leaves, usually until morning.
In Poland, movements like Human Liberties Crusade
or Wedding of the Weddings promote non-alcoholic wedding celebrations.
Romanian customsLăutari are musicians performing traditional songs. The music of the lăutari establishes the structure of the elaborate Romanian peasant weddings. The lăutari also function as guides through the wedding rituals and moderate any conflicts that may arise during what can be a long, alcohol-fueled party. Over a period of nearly 48 hours, this can be very physically strenuous.
Following custom almost certainly dating back at least to the Middle Ages, most lăutari spend the fees from these wedding ceremonies on extended banquets for their friends and families over the days immediately following the wedding.
Scottish customsScotland is a popular place for young English couples to get married, since in Scotland, parents' permission is not required if both the bride and groom are old enough to legally be married (16). In England it was the case that if either was 16 or 17 then the permission of parents had to be sought. Thus Scotland, and especially the blacksmith's at Gretna Green, became a very popular place for couples to elope to, especially those under 18 and usually living in England. Gretna Green now hosts hundreds of weddings a year and is Scotland's third most popular tourist attraction.
- The bride's family sends invitations on behalf of the couple to the wedding guests, addressed by hand. The couple may send the invitations themselves, especially if they are more middle-aged. The invites will specify if the invitation is for ceremony and/or reception and/or evening following the meal at the reception.
- Guests send or deliver wedding gifts to the bride's family home before the wedding day. Alternatively, the couple may register at department store and have a list of gifts there. The shop then organizes delivery, usually to the bride's parents' house or to the reception venue.
- A wedding ceremony takes place at a church, register office or possibly another favorite location, such as a hilltop. In this regard Scotland differs significantly from England where only pre-approved public locations may be used for the wedding ceremony. Most ceremonies take place mid afternoon and last about half an hour during which the marriage schedule is signed by the couple and two witnesses, usually the best man and chief bridesmaid.
- The newly wed couple usually leave the ceremony to the sound of bagpipes.
- There is a wedding reception following the ceremony, usually at a different venue.
- The bridal party lines up in a receiving line and the wedding guests file past, introducing themselves.
- Usually a drink is served while the guests and bridal party mingle. In some cases the drink may be whisky or wine with a non alcoholic alternative.
- The best man and bride's father toast the bride and groom with personal thoughts, stories, and well-wishes, usually humorous. The groom then follows with a response on behalf of his bride. Champagne is usually provided for the toast.
- There is nearly always dancing following the meal. Often in Scotland this takes the form of a ceilidh, a night of informal traditional Scottish dancing in couples and groups to live traditional music. The first dance is led by the bride and groom, followed by the rest of the bridal party and finally the guests.
- The cake-cutting ceremony takes place; the bride and groom jointly hold a cake cutter and cut the first pieces of the wedding cake.
- Gifts are not opened at the reception; they are either opened ahead of time and sometimes displayed at the reception, or if guests could not deliver gifts ahead of time, they are placed on a table at the reception for the bride and groom to take home with them and open later.
- A sprig of white heather is usually worn as a buttonhole for good luck.
- It is the norm for the groom and much of the male bridal party and guests to wear kilts, although suits are also worn. Kilts and Highland dress are often hired for this purpose.
HandfastingHandfasting is an ancient Celtic wedding ritual in which the bride's and groom's hands are tied together — hence the phrase "tying the knot". "Handfasting" is favored by practitioners of Celtic-based religions and spiritual traditions, such as Wicca and Druidism.
North American customs
United States customsA Christian or other mainstream wedding and reception (including a Jewish wedding) in the United States follow a similar pattern to the Italian wedding. Customs and traditions vary but components include the following:
- The bride wears “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.” (See also Ceremonial clothing in Western cultures.)
- The bride usually wears a white dress.
- A color scheme is often used so that the invitation matches the bridesmaids' dresses and the table settings.
- Rice is sometimes thrown at the newlyweds as they leave the ceremony. http://ask.yahoo.com/20030626.html
- The bride's family sends engraved invitations to the wedding guests, addressed by hand (or in an elegant font) to show the importance and personal meaning of the occasion.
- Guests send or deliver wedding gifts to the bride's family home before the wedding day.
- A wedding ceremony takes place at a church or other location, such as an outdoor venue.
- The bridal party lines up in a receiving line and the wedding guests file past, introducing themselves.
- Usually snacks or a meal are served while the guests and bridal party mingle.
- Often the best man and/or maid of honor toast the bride and groom with personal thoughts, stories, and well-wishes; sometimes other guests follow with their own toasts. Champagne, sparkling cider, or nonalcoholic carbonated drinks are usually provided for this purpose.
- Clinking silverware against glassware obliges the newlyweds to kiss.
- If dancing is provided, the bride and groom first dance together. Often further protocol is followed, where they dance first with their respective mother and father, then possibly with the maid of honor and best man; then the bride and groom rejoin while the parents of the bride and groom join the dance and the best man and maid of honor dance together; then other attendants join in; then finally everyone is entitled to dance. Dancing continues throughout the reception. Music is sometimes provided by a live band or musical ensemble, sometimes by a disc jockey.
- In some cultures, the dollar dance takes place, in which it is expected and encouraged for guests to pin money onto the young bride and groom to help them get started in their new lives.
- The cake-cutting ceremony takes place; the bride and groom jointly hold a cake cutter--often a special silver keepsake cutter purchased or given as a gift for the occasion--and cut the first pieces of the wedding cake. They then entwine arms and feed each other a bite of cake. In some social groups, the bride and groom smear cake on each other's faces at this time.
- The bride tosses her bouquet over her shoulder to the assembled unmarried women; the woman who catches it, superstition has it, will be the next to marry. In some social groups, the process is repeated for unmarried men with the groom tossing the bride's garter for the same purpose.
- Gifts are not opened at the reception; they are either opened ahead of time and sometimes displayed at the reception, or if guests could not deliver gifts ahead of time, they are placed on a table at the reception for the bride and groom to take home with them and open later.
Wedding giftsThe purpose of inviting guests was to have them witness a couple's marriage ceremony and vows and to share in the bride and groom's joy and celebration. Gifts for the bride and groom are optional, although most guests attempt to give at least a token gift of their best wishes. Some brides and grooms and families feel, contrary to proper etiquette, that for the expense and effort they put into showing their guests a good time and to wine and dine them, the guests should reciprocate by providing nice gifts or cash.
The couple often registers for gifts at a store well in advance of their wedding. This allows them to create a list of household items, usually including china, silverware and crystalware; often including linen preferences, pots and pans, and similar items. With brides and grooms who might already be independent and have lived on their own, even owning their own homes, they sometimes register at hardware or home improvement stores. Registries are intended to make it easy for guests who wish to purchase gifts to feel comfortable that they are purchasing gifts that the newlyweds will truly appreciate. The registry information should, according to etiquette, be provided only to guests who request it. Some couples register with services that enable money gifts intended to fund items such as a honeymoon, home purchase or college fund.
Some guests may find bridal registries inappropriate. They can be seen as an anathema to traditional notions behind gift buying, such as contravening the belief that "one should be happy for what they receive", taking away the element of surprise, and leading to present buying as a type of competition, as the couple knows the costs of each individual item. It may also be seen by some as inappropriate to invite people who do not know either the bride or groom well enough to be able to pick out an appropriate gift.
African-American customsJumping the broom developed out West African Asante custom. The broom in Asante and other Akan cultures also held spiritual value and symbolized sweeping away past wrongs or warding off evil spirits. Brooms were waved over the heads of marrying couples to ward off spirits. The couple would often but not always jump over the broom at the end of the ceremony.
The custom took on additional significance in the context of slavery in the United States. Slaves had no right to legal marriage; slaveholders considered slaves property and feared that legal marriage and family bonds had the potential to lead to organization and revolt. Marriage rituals, however, were important events to the Africans, who came in many cases come from richly-ceremonial African cultures.
Taking marriage vows in the presence of a witness and then leaping over the handle of a broom became the common practice to create a recognized union. Brooms are also symbols of the hearth, the center of the new family being created. Jumping the broom has become a practice in many modern weddings between Black Americans.
There are also traditions of broom jumping in Europe, in the Wicca and Celtic communities especially. They are probably unconnected with the African practice.
Pygmy wedding traditionsPygmy engagements were not long and usually formalized by an exchange of visits between the families concerned. The groom to be would bring a gift of game or maybe a few arrows to his new in-laws, take his bride home to live in his band and with his new parents. His only obligation is to find among his relatives a girl willing to marry a brother or male cousin of his wife. If he feels he can feed more than one wife, he may have additional wives.
Religious aspects of weddingsIn virtually all religions, marriage is a long-term union between two or more people and is established with ceremonies and rituals. The people are most commonly one man and one woman, though some religions have permitted polygamous marriages and some faiths and denominations recognize same-sex marriages.
In marriage, Christians see a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church. In Judaism, marriage is so important that remaining unmarried is deemed unnatural. Islam also recommends marriage highly; among other things, it helps in the pursuit of spiritual perfection. The Bahá'í Faith sees marriage as a foundation of the structure of society, and considers it both a physical and spiritual bond that endures into the afterlife. Hinduism sees marriage as a sacred duty that entails both religious and social obligations. By contrast, Buddhism does not encourage or discourage marriage, although it does teach how one might live a happily married life and emphasizes that married vows are not to be taken slightly (see separate article for details).
Different religions have different beliefs as regards the breakup of marriage. For example, the Roman Catholic Church believes it is morally wrong to divorce, and divorcées cannot remarry in a church marriage, though they can do in the eyes of the law. In the area of nullity, religions and the state often apply different rules, meaning that a couple, for example, could have their marriage annulled by the Catholic Church but still be married in the eyes of the law because the state disagrees with the church over whether an annulment can be granted in a given case. This produces the phenomenon of Catholics getting church annulments simultaneously with civil divorces, so that they may remarry both legally and sacramentally. The Catholic Church will not, in fact, grant an annulment petition unless the marriage has also been dissolved or annulled under civil law.
Detailed viewpoints on various wedding customs
Christian customsMany religions have extensive teachings regarding marriage. Most Christian churches give some form of blessing to a marriage; the wedding ceremony typically includes some sort of pledge by the community to support the couple's relationship. In the Roman Catholic Church "Holy Matrimony" is considered to be one of the seven sacraments, in this case one that the spouses bestow upon each other in front of a priest and members of the community as witnesses. An argument for the institution of the sacrament of Matrimony by Christ Jesus himself, and its occasion, is advanced by Bernard Orchard in his article The Betrothal and Marriage of Mary to Joseph. http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Homiletic/2001-10/orchard.html http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Homiletic/2001-11/orchard.html http://firstname.lastname@example.org/Maryandjoseph1a.htm In the Eastern Orthodox church, it is one of the Mysteries, and is seen as an ordination and a martyrdom.
Quaker customsA Quaker wedding ceremony in a Friends meeting is similar to any other Meeting for Worship, and therefore often very different from the experience expected by non-Friends.
Hindu customsNorth and South Indian wedding ceremonies are conducted at least partially in Sanskrit, the language in which most holy Hindu ceremonies are conducted. The local language of the people involved is also used since most Hindus cannot understand Sanskrit. They may have rituals that differ fom the modern western wedding ceremony and also among the different regions, families, and castes such as Rajput Wedding, Aggarwal Weddings, Iyer Weddings and Tamil Weddings. The ceremonies are colourful and extend for several days.
Jewish customsThe traditions used in a Jewish wedding vary based on the denomination of Judaism of the people being married. Some of the most common are listed below.
The bride (kallah) and groom (chatan) sign a Ketubah (marriage contract). Originally, the Ketubah detailed the husband's obligations to his wife, and provided for monetary payment to her in case of divorce. Nowadayst the Ketubah can be a decorative keepsake that sets out expectations for both the bride and groom. In Conservative homes it is typically framed and displayed, while in Orthodox homes it is kept hidden away.
The Jewish ceremony generally starts with the bride and groom being escorted to the huppah (Jewish wedding canopy) by both sets of parents. The ceremony takes place under the huppah, and is presided over by a Rabbi. After the vows, seven marriage blessings are read and the groom then smashes a glass with his foot. Often, a lightbulb is smashed instead because it offers a more satisfying crunch. The bride and groom spend time together alone before the reception, which is traditionally a joyous celebration with much music and dancing.
There are several activities that may take place during the reception:
- The wedding breakfast.
- A dance in which the bride and groom hold opposite corners of a handkerchief while they are lifted up on chairs by the guests and whirled around.
- The Krenzl, in which the bride's mother is crowned with a wreath of flowers as her daughters dance around her (traditionally at the wedding of the mother's last unwed daughter).
- The Mizinke, a dance for the parents of the bride or groom when their last child is wed.
- The gladdening of the bride, in which guests dance around the bride, and can include the use of "shtick" -- silly items such as signs, banners, costumes, confetti, and jump ropes made of table napkins.
- The singing of Aishet Chayil to the bride by the groom accompanied by his friends.
LDS customsWithin The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Mormons), the act of marriage is regarded as an eternal affair. As such, there are two kinds of marriages recognized by the Church, civil marriage and celestial marriage. Civil marriages are those legally contracted under local law and are dissolved upon the death of the participants, while celestial marriages, also known as sealings, bind the participants as husband and wife for all eternity if both are righteous.
Celestial marriages can only be performed by Priesthood authority within a Sealing Room in a dedicated temple. Only members of the LDS church who have a temple recommend may attend an LDS wedding. The wedding is often referred to as a sealing, in which husband and wife are sealed beyond death into the next life. Space is limited in sealing rooms so only family and close friends attend.
The sealing can be performed at the same approximate time as the civil marriage or for a couple civilly married for at least one year. In the latter case, if the couple already has children, they may also accompany the ceremony to be sealed to their parents. Children who are born to parents who have already been sealed need no such ceremony, as they have been "born in the covenant."
Many LDS couples will then hold wedding receptions or open houses after the wedding ceremony in another venue that is open to all family and friends. Some couples choose to recreate a more traditional wedding ceremony, or will simply perform certain traditional acts, such as the throwing of the bouquet, first dance, etc.
Economic aspectsIn the United Kingdom, the average wedding cost approximately £20,000 in 2005. This means that couples wait longer before getting married, with the average age of those getting married 6.7 years higher than 20 years previously.
Related events and social processes
- Bachelor party
- Banns of marriage
- Bridal shower
- Bride price
- Prenuptial agreement
- Wedding anniversary
- Pakistani wedding
nuptials in Arabic: زفاف
nuptials in Czech: Svatba
nuptials in Danish: Bryllup
nuptials in German: Heirat
nuptials in Estonian: Abiellumine
nuptials in Spanish: Boda
nuptials in French: Noces
nuptials in Scottish Gaelic: Banais
nuptials in Indonesian: Pernikahan
nuptials in Italian: Nozze
nuptials in Hebrew: חתונה
nuptials in Lithuanian: Vestuvės
nuptials in Dutch: Bruiloft
nuptials in Japanese: 結婚式
nuptials in Norwegian: Bryllup
nuptials in Norwegian Nynorsk: Vigsel
nuptials in Narom: Neuche
nuptials in Polish: Ślub
nuptials in Portuguese: Boda
nuptials in Russian: Свадьба
nuptials in Slovak: Sobáš
nuptials in Slovenian: Poroka
nuptials in Finnish: Häät
nuptials in Swedish: Bröllop
nuptials in Thai: การแต่งงาน
nuptials in Vietnamese: Lễ cưới
nuptials in Turkish: Düğün
nuptials in Yiddish: חתונה
nuptials in Chinese: 婚礼
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