For decades, countries around the world have practiced several customs during a wedding ceremony to honor their religion and culture. Some customs served superstitious purposes, while others were done simply to entertain guests. These traditions have supported the unification of the bride and groom, and have illustrated the coming together of two families for generations. From clothing and attire, to performed rituals, these traditions are cherished by those who execute them, and continue to be demonstrated in wedding ceremonies today.
America is home to the classic “white wedding”, a day in which a bride is admired as she becomes a woman. Traditionally, she wears a white wedding dress – the color of white symbolizes her purity. An extensive amount of planning goes in to her wedding details, to ensure each aspect matches the overall theme of her wedding. The color of the bridesmaids dresses are usually chosen to coordinate with the colors of her flowers and decorations. The invitations, dinner menu, and decorative detailing also coincide with the main theme of the wedding. During the ceremony, the bridal party and grooms party form lines beside the bride and groom who say their vows before an officiant that legally binds their marriage. A reception follows, where the guests are invited to a formal dinner. The Maid of Honor and Best Man get a chance to make a speech in honor of their best friends. This is usually followed by a champagne toast. After dinner, the bride and groom head to the dance floor to have their first dance as a married couple. After this, guests join the bride and groom for dancing, and occasionally a basket is passed around to collect dollar bills for a chance to dance with the bride. On the dance floor, the bride shares a dance with her father, while the groom dances with his mother. At the dessert table, the bride and groom meet to cut the cake. They jointly hold a cake knife and cut the cake together. The bride and groom often take turns feeding each other bites of cake, which can end in comical moments of smashing the cake in each other’s faces. A bouquet of flowers is thrown over the shoulder of the bride to the unmarried women at her wedding. The woman who catches the bouquet is believed to be the next woman who will get married. Sending the couple off is a beautiful way of ending the wedding. A send-off can include sparklers that are lit by the guests of the wedding, rice or confetti that is thrown in to the air, or silly string flung at the couple as they walk past their wedding guests to their exit car.
Photo credit: Olga Melokhina