By Joanne Elliott
A wedding ceremony is a basically service that binds a couple together in holy matrimony. There are many different types of service, and there are many differences in tradition between various cultures, countries, ethnic groups and social classes across the world.
The wedding ceremony itself is usually accompanied by the couple dressing up in complimentary outfits or costumes, and is overseen by friends and family. It is increasingly popular to also coordinate other elements of the wedding ceremony, from music to flowers, wedding favors, even down to the wedding ceremony invitation itself.
Wedding ceremonies are usually conducted by religious figures in order to make the union legal in the eyes of the law. The wedding vows at the ceremony can be added to include extras such as poetry, personalized vows, prayers or poetry. Again the format of the event will differ between cultures, religions, and indeed the individual couple's personal preferences for their special day.
Wedding Ceremony Outfits
In traditional Western culture the bride often wears a white wedding dress. This relates back to the Victorian ages, where the color white was seen as a simple of purity. The traditional Western bridal veil worn in a wedding ceremony is the symbol of virginity. The groom usually wears a formal suit that coordinates and complements his brides' gown. The suit is usually tailored, and can be a tail coat or a tuxedo.
The Wedding Rings
In most wedding ceremonies across the world the vows are sealed by the couple physically putting rings on each other’s fingers. The wedding ring finger is on the left hand, second digit to the right of the little finger. The wedding ring is seen as a symbol of eternal devotion and never ending love, and is often worn along with the engagement ring.
There is an old rhyme that is "Something old something new, something borrowed something blue". Again this is a tradition with roots in the Victorian era. The belief is that the bride should wear or carry an item from each area of the rhyme in order to guarantee good luck in the couples' future together as man and wife.
It is customary for the bride to be accompanied by music as she walks down the aisle. Usually the bride will be ‘given away’ by her father. It is entirely up to the couple as to which music they select for this part of the wedding ceremony. In Western tradition the “Wedding March” or "Bridal Chorus" is the most popular choice. You may recognize this music by the words "here comes the bride…".
Wedding Ceremony Reception
The wedding ceremony is traditionally followed by a reception. This is basically a celebration party for all of the wedding guests to help join in congratulating the newlyweds in their union. Wedding ceremony receptions include traditional elements such as the first dance, cutting the cake, toasting and speeches.
Wedding Ceremony Departure
It is traditional for the newly married couple to be driven off together into the sunset in front of all of the wedding guests. Before the couple get into the vehicle the last thing that happens is that the bride will throw her bouquet over shoulder. It is believed that the bridesmaid or wedding guest who catches the bouquet will be the next one to be married.