Paul has studied weddings around the world here is the most Popular Ethnic & Religious Wedding Traditions
Various wedding customs have their roots and popularity based on ethnic origin.
At some African-American wedding ceremonies, newlyweds "jump over a broom" to symbolize the beginning of a new life. The ritual was created during slavery, when African-Americans could not legally marry. Some people trace this wedding tradition to an African tribal marriage ritual of placing sticks on the ground representing the couple's new home. Today, the jumping of the broom is a symbol of sweeping away of the old, and welcoming the new. Broom Jumping can be performed either at the wedding ceremony, after the minister pronounces the newlyweds husband and wife, or at the wedding reception just after the Bridal Party enters the reception area. A fully decorated broom can be purchased at ethnic stores. Other couples may prefer to use a regular household broom decorated with bows, flowers, and/or other trinkets in the wedding colors. At some receptions, guests may participate in the ceremony by tying ribbons around the broom before the Broom Jumping begins.
As the Bride walks up the aisle at her Wedding Ceremony, the Bride stops and hands her mother a flower from her bouquet and they embrace. After the Wedding Ceremony is finished, the new couple walk to the Groom's side of the church and the Bride gives her mother-in-law a second flower from her bouquet and they also embrace.
The Bride may wear a red wedding dress, symbolizing love and joy. At the wedding reception, a nine-course meal (lasting up to three hours) is very popular. A family member may act as the official "Master of Ceremonies" orchestrating family introductions, toasts, comedy sketches, and a reenactment of the newlywed's courtship.
Eastern Orthodox Church Weddings
The rings are blessed by the Priest, who takes them in hand, and makes the sign of the cross over the Bride and Groom's head. The "Koumbaros" (Best Man) then exchanges the rings three times, taking the Bride's ring and placing it on the Groom's finger, and vice-versa. This exchange signifies that in married life, the weaknesses of the one partner will be compensated for by the strength of the other, and the imperfections of one by the perfection's of the other. Candles are held throughout the Wedding Service, which begins immediately after the Betrothal Service. The candles are like the lamps of the five wise maidens of the Bible who, because they had enough oil in them, were able to receive Christ when He came in the darkness of the night. The candles symbolize the spiritual willingness of the couple to receive Christ, Who will bless them through this sacrament. The Office of the Crowning which follows is the climax of the Wedding Service. The crowns are signs of the glory and honor that God crowns them during the sacrament. The Bride and Groom are crowned as the King and Queen of their own little "kingdom", their home, which they will (hopefully) rule with wisdom, justice, and integrity.
Both the bride and the groom march down the aisle, the groom either alone or with his parents.
The marrying couple picks a few pairs of ninongs and ninangs (godparents) to be the primary sponsors/witnesses of the ceremony. In addition to the bridesmaids and groomsmen, three pairs of wedding attendants act as secondary sponsors who manage the typical wedding candles, we use sand ceremony vases because of the gusts associated with the beach nature of Keys weddings, they also handle the veil and cord ceremonies which make take place during the nuptial mass. The bride holds an heirloom rosary along with the bridal bouquet during the ceremony. Generally the wedding ceremony includes a wine ceremony type mass done in private with just me as their minister behind the arch lasting two-three minutes. The entire ceremony with the wine ceremony lasts about thirty minutes.
In addition to exchanging rings, the groom gives his bride an arrhae, which is a monetary gift in the form of thirteen pieces of gold or silver coins. This is a pledge from the groom of his dedication to the welfare of his wife and children. The arrhae is carried by a coin bearer who walks alongside the ring bearer for both the processional and recessional.
The sand ceremony vase stand on the table up at the arch. The attendants bring forward these glasses containing the sand which symbolize God's presence in the union. Most couples integrate the pouring and joining of the sand into the service after the rings. The Unity sand ceremony and candle ceremony has its origins in the Protestant religion. After the sand is joined and the vace is blessed, the veil sponsors drape a long white tulle veil on the grooms shoulder and pin it. Another veil is then draped over the bride's head. The veils are used to symbolize two people who are 'clothed' as one.
The last pair of sponsors stands with a cord in the form of a figure eight and place one loop around the neck-shoulder area of the bride and the other loop around the neck-shoulder area of the groom. The cord symbolizes the infinite bond of the marriage. This cord can be a silken rope or made from a string of flowers or links of coins.
After the ceremony, during the reception, a pair of our own breed white love birds are released by the newlyweds out of a white basket to signify peace and harmony during the marriage. Instead of tossing of the bouquet, the bride instead offers the flowers to a favorite Saint or the Virgin Mary. Some older traditions with Filipinos opt to place the bouquet on the grave of a lost love one. I at times talk to the parents or elders to integrate the unique customs as they vary from region to region that I have traveled in Asia.
One early French wedding custom signifies the new alliance created by uniting two families through marriage. During the Wedding Reception, the new couple raise a glass of wine from two different vineyards. They then pour their wine into a third glass and each drinks from it.
During the wedding ceremony, the Groom may kneel on the hem of the Bride's dress to symbolize his control over her. Not to be outdone, the Bride may step on the Groom's foot when she rises to symbolize her power over him!
Some newlyweds wear a crown of flowers during the wedding ceremony. The couple may walk around the altar three times representing the Holy Trinity. At the reception, Greek folk dances are popular, with guests lining up in a single file line.
During the wedding ceremony, thirteen gold coins (representing the Groom's dowry to his Bride) are often blessed by the priest, and passed between the hands of the newlyweds several times before ending with the Bride. A large rosary or white rope ("laso") is sometimes wound around the couple's shoulders in a figure-8 symbol of "infinity" during the wedding ceremony to symbolize their union as one.
Wedding traditions always vary across religion, caste, ethnicity, language, region, especially in Asia. Traditional Indian weddings are generally structured into pre-wedding ceremonies, wedding day ceremonies (consisting of the Baraat, the Varmala and the Phere), and the Vidaai.
Vidaai is when the bride is formally sent to the groom’s household. It can get quite emotional even for the most stonehearted. Many heart-wrenching songs have immortalized this moment when the bride leaves her ‘babul ka ghar’ or father’s house
An example of the complexity of an Indian wedding can be seen from the various phases of a wedding in the North. The following events take place in a typical Eastern Uttar Pradesh Hindu marriage:
According to Hindu religious texts, Brahma created man from the right shoulder and woman from his left shoulder. A woman is referred to as Vamangi or one who is on the left side. Throughout the marriage ceremony the bride sits on the right side of the groom. That is the place for strangers and acquaintances. Only after the Saptpadi, when the bride and groom have exchanged marital vows, is the wife sealed on the left side of the man.
Bride and groom are told about their duties and responsibilities in married life by the minister. These vows direct the couple to a positive path of action. They help in promoting marital happiness for a lifetime.
Vows by the Husband
1.I will consider my wife to be The better half. I will look after her just as I look after myself.
2.Accepting her as in-charge of my home, I shall plan things in consultation with her.
3.I will never express dissatisfaction about any shortcomings in my wife. If there are any, I will explain them to her lovingly. I will support her in overcoming them.
4.I will always have faith in my wife. I will never look at another woman with wrong intent, nor have an illicit relationship.
5.I will be affectionate and treat my wife like a friend.
6.I will bring home all my income to my wife. The household expenses will be incurred with her consent. I will always make an effort to ensure her comfort and happiness.
7.I will not find fault or critical my wife before others. We will sort out our differences and mistakes in privacy by ourselves.
8.I will have a courteous and tolerant attitude towards my wife. I will always follow a compromising policy.
9. If my wife is unwell, or is unable to fulfill some of the responsibilities or through some misunderstanding behaves wrongly, I will not withdraw support or refuse to fulfill my responsibilities towards her.
During kanyadaan, the bride’s parents give their daughter away in marriage. The groom makes three promises – to be just (dharma), earn sufficiently to support his family, (artha) and love his wife (kama). He repeats these vows thrice in the presence of Agni (the sacred fire) and all who are gathered there.
Bariksha is when the bride's parents have informally shown intentions that they want a particular groom, and the groom and his family have agreed. Retracting at the end of this stage is frowned upon but is acceptable.
Tilak involves the bride's parents traveling to the groom's place to formalize the relationship. A large feast is organized by the groom's family to celebrate this occasion. Only a nominal number of members of the bride's family are present (usually only very close relatives, often in tens of numbers. Typically, the female marriage proposal is very rare.
Byaha Haath: This ceremony signifies the purifying of the mind, body and soul of bride and groom. This daytime ceremony prepares both of them for the nuptials. 'Uptan' is a mixed paste of sandalwood, turmeric and rose water which is applied by seven unmarried female members of the families and to the faces, hands and feet of the bride and groom. After this ceremony the bride and the groom are not allowed to step outside the house before the actual wedding.
In the early 1900's, an Irish couple would walk to church together on their Wedding Day. If the people of their parish approved their union they would throw rice, pots, pans, brushes and other household items at the couple as they approached their church. Today, "hen parties" (Bridal Showers) have replaced this practice. Some Irish people wear a "claddagh" ring for a wedding ring. This ring was created by a master goldsmith, Richard Joyce, 400 years ago in a fishing village called Claddagh, which overlooks Galway Bay. The claddagh symbolizes love, loyalty, and friendship. On the right hand, with the heart facing inward, it means the wearer's heart is unoccupied. Facing outwards reveals love is being considered. When worn on the left hand facing outward, it signifies that the wearer is seriously committed or married. At some Irish wedding receptions, the Groom is lifted in a chair ("jaunting car") to celebrate that he is a married man. For good luck, the newlyweds are given a horseshoe to display in their home in the upward position. A traditional Irish wedding cake is a fruitcake. Traditional Irish toasts, in addition to remarks from the Best Man, are very popular.
Irish Marriage Blessing
May God be with you and bless you;
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness.
From this day forward.
Some Brides may choose to carry a white silk or satin purse ("busta") to store gifts of money that are welcomed. "Tarantella" folk dances are popular at the wedding reception. Another Italian custom is to present five sugar-coated almonds to the guests which represent health, wealth, long life, fertility, and happiness.
The Bride and her Parents might visit the Groom's house on wedding day. At the wedding ceremony, the Bride's wedding gown is often a traditional wedding kimono. She usually changes into something else at the wedding reception. The first of nine sips of sake drunk by the Bride and Groom at their wedding ceremony symbolizes the official union of marriage.
It is a Jewish tradition for a Bride to present her Groom with a tallit to wear for his Aufruf, the reading of the Torah prior to their ceremony. The Groom's family often give candlesticks to the Bride that can be used during the actual wedding ceremony. It is also a custom for Jewish men to cover their heads at all times, especially during prayers, with a kippot (yarmulkes), as a form of reverence, respect, and acknowledgment that God is present everywhere. In some congregations, women also cover their heads to pray.
Some Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform wedding ceremonies take place under a chuppah (wedding canopy). The chuppah is a rectangular piece of cloth large enough for the Bride, Groom, Rabbi, and sometimes other members of the wedding party to stand under. The chuppah signifies the new home about to be shared by the newlyweds. Before the procession to the chuppah, the tanaim are signed, and the Groom is asked if he is ready to take on the responsibilities outlined in the kepubah. He signifies his willingness by accepting a handkerchief or other object offered to him by the Rabbi. The two witnesses to this sign the ketubah. While the actual text of the ketubah is never meant to vary, the border decorations on this document have over the centuries been the subject of remarkable artistic creations. At the beginning of the wedding ceremony, the Bride might observe the Biblical custom of "Circling the Groom" seven times. This practice is seen as a powerful act of definition, where the Bride will symbolically create the space that they will share as husband and wife. In Judaism, the number seven is mystical and represents completion and fulfillment. Just as the creation of the world was finished in seven days, the seven circles complete the couple's search for each other.
The bedeken, or veiling, is a small ceremony in which the Groom lowers the veil over the Bride's face, and by this act acknowledges that he is marrying the correct woman. This custom originated in the story of Jacob who didn't see the face of his Bride prior to his wedding and was tricked into marrying Leah instead of his intended, Rachel.
The Jewish marriage ceremony consists of two parts: Erusin (pre-engagement) and Nissuin (marriage). These ceremonies were historically performed up to one year apart, but more recently the two have been combined into one ceremony. The Eursin ceremony begins with Kiddush, the blessing over the wine. Kiddush is part of virtually all Jewish observances as a prayer of sanctification. The exchange of rings completes the Erusin ceremony.
In Jewish law, a verbal declaration of marriage is not legally binding unless an act of Kinyan, a formal physical acquisition is completed. This is reached when two witnesses see the Bride accept a ring from the Groom, and he recites the words of marriage. After the ketubah has been read at the ceremony, wine is often poured into a new glass, and the Sheva Berakhot (Seven Benedictions) are recited over it. The Bride and Groom then drink from the glass of wine. With the ceremony complete, tradition calls for the Groom to break the wrapped glass by stomping on it. This final action symbolizes the destruction of the Holy Temple in Israel, and reminds guests that love is fragile. The audience may shout Mazel Tov, and the Bride and Groom kiss.
Immediately after the wedding ceremony, the couple may spend a few private moments together, or Yichud as a symbolic consummation of their marriage. Later, the Mitzvah, or obligation, of rejoicing at a wedding reception is incumbent on the Bride, Groom, and guests.
Red beads are sometimes tossed at Newlyweds to bring them good luck.
The Mother of the Bride may choose to place the veil on the Bride before the wedding ceremony to symbolize her last task that a Mother does on behalf of her girl before she becomes a married woman. A traditional folk song ("Twelve Angels") is sometimes played at the reception, allowing the Bride to transfer her veil, and good luck to be married, to her Maid of Honor, Bridesmaids, and Flower Girl. A morning wedding ceremony is sometimes followed with a brief afternoon luncheon, several hours of downtime when guests return home, and then a long evening wedding reception. Polka dances and other audience participation events are very popular.
The Groom and his Groomsmen often wear Scottish kilts (and traditionally no undergarments!). The Groom may present the Bride with an engraved silver teaspoon on their wedding day to symbolize that they will never go hungry. A traditional sword dance is sometimes performed at their wedding reception.
A Spanish Groom gives sometimes gives his Bride thirteen coins in memory of Christ and the twelve apostles. The Bride carries them in a small bag during the Wedding Ceremony as a symbol that the Groom promises to support and care for her.
We are well studied in the wonderful traditions around the world, congratulations on your engagement...God Bless minister Paul