Almost every society throughout history has observed some type of ceremonial wedding ceremony. Every culture recognizes an event, deed, covenant, promise, or declaration that declares a man and a woman to be married. The form of this ceremony varies depending on the culture but it always consists of three basic elements: 1 invocation - a prayer asking for help in consecrating the couple's love 2 pledge - a vow made by each party regarding their commitment 3 blessing - a formal religious service celebrating the marriage contract and commending the couple for their choice to unite as one.
In modern times, many legal documents have been developed to replace the traditional wedding ceremony. These include civil marriages, church marriages, synagogue marriages, and others. Many religions, including Christianity, require only a civil marriage ceremony officiated by a clergy member of that religion's denomination. Others, such as Islam, require both a civil ceremony and a religious ceremony performed by a cleric of that religion's faith group.
The ancient Greeks and Romans had a ritual called nuptialia which was similar to our own wedding ceremony. It included prayers, vows, blessings, and gifts. In addition, they would often build a house together after the ceremony so that they could start a family immediately after the wedding.
The exchanging of marriage vows by a couple, the presenting of a gift (offering, ring, symbolic object, flowers, money, or dress), and a public declaration of marriage by an authority person or celebrant are all common elements of most wedding ceremonies. The words used in the vow vary depending on the tradition being followed but often include promises to love each other forever, to obey each other, to be husband and wife until death does you part, and many others.
In ancient times before marriage licenses were available, weddings were held quickly after proposing because of the risk of losing out if someone changed their mind afterward. Today, couples can plan their weddings carefully without this risk. They can choose from a variety of wedding traditions around the world and let those customs guide them in creating their own unique ceremony that expresses their feelings for one another.
Wedding ceremonies come in all shapes and sizes. Some couples prefer a simple ceremony with only their closest family members present while others want a large party attending their wedding. What matters is that you feel comfortable with what you have planned and know that you both agree on certain aspects of the ceremony.
The groom will usually give a speech during the ceremony. He may do this before he enters the church or chapel, right after taking his seat beside the bride, or even later when they return for the reception.
The marriage ceremony is rife with symbols that represent the most fundamental and crucial aspects of marriage: love, mutual respect, equality, and sacrifice. Today's customs have distinct meanings and significance. Follow along as we explore the history of marriage ceremonies.
Love is the most important thing in marriage. It is what drives two people to be united in marriage. Love is not just a feeling but an action of the will. Marriage vows include words expressing love for one's spouse. A marriage ceremony should make it clear that those marrying understand the importance of love and desire to show it toward their partner.
Mutual respect is another essential element in a successful marriage. Respect goes hand in hand with love; they are mutually dependent on another. Without respect, there can be no true love. During a marriage ceremony, friends and family should be sure to tell the couple how much they are loved and valued.
Equality is the third key component of any healthy relationship. In marriage, each partner should be treated equally. This means that women should never be favored over men (or vice versa) when making decisions about the marriage. Also, there should be no discrimination based on age or physical condition. All couples should be treated with the same respect and given equal opportunities to fulfill their role within the marriage.