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Widely Accepted Wedding Traditions...
Some of the items in this list of wedding traditions comes from a book entitled The Romance of the Wedding Ceremony by Rev. Richleigh Hale Powers, Ph.D..
The Bride’s Bouquet
Bridal bouquets have evolved through the ages. Saracen brides carried bouquets of orange blossoms to symbolize fertility, and Roman brides carried sheaves of wheat to symbolize prosperity for their husbands. In the eighteenth century, the practice of carrying a bouquet of flowers or herbs became a popular tradition which symbolized fragility, purity, and new life. Bouquets of dill were among the most popular herb carried. After the ceremony the dill was eaten to “provoke lust.” Today, the bridal bouquets are tosses to assembled single women to symbolize new life and to pass on the bride’s good fortune.
The Special Meaning of the Bride’s Veil
The veil represents modesty and respect. It symbolizes the sanctity and exclusiveness of the marriage covenant and reminds the couple and the witnesses that the physical relationship is to be entered into only after the vows are completed.
Rice and Petals
In the Middle Ages, handfuls of wheat were thrown over the married couples to symbolize the hope for fertility. In modern times, rice is thrown instead of wheat to symbolize fertility. In recent years, flower petals have become another alternative, symbolizing beauty, happiness, and prosperity.
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Old and new items jointly symbolize the passage from the old unmarried state to that of the new married union. The wearing of a borrowed belonging demonstrates community participation and approval of the wedding. Blue is worn because it is the color that signifies purity, love, and fidelity.
White Aisle Runner
A white aisle runner symbolizes walking on holy ground. A marriage covenant is not made merely between two people and their witnesses. It is made in the presence of God and He is actively involved in the agreement. The white aisle runner symbolizes God’s holiness.
Special Seating for the Parents
The parents of the bride and groom are part of the marriage covenant. The commitments they make during the ceremony are just as binding as the vows of the couple. The final responsibility of parents for their children is to determine with them God’s will for a life partner. Thereafter, they serve in a chain of counsel for them and their children. Parents enter in the line of authority and leave in the line of counsel.
The Groom Entering First
By this action the groom signifies that he is the covenant initiator. This is important because whoever initiates the covenant assumes greater responsibility for seeing it fulfilled.
The Father of the Bride Walking Down the Aisle
This action has two meanings. By doing so, the father says to the bride, “I am endorsing this young man as God’s very best choice of a husband for you, and I am now bringing you to him.” In addition, the father is saying to the young man, “I am presenting you a daughter who I have earnestly endeavored to raise as a pure bride.”
The Groom Making the First Marriage Vow
The groom must be the leader and assume greater responsibility for fulfilling the marriage covenant. As covenant initiator, he must commit himself to the purposes of marriage which God established in the beginning, and these must be reflected in his vows.
The Symbolism of the Wedding Rings
The wedding rings symbolize the promise between two people together in marriage. The unbroken circle of the wedding band represents the continuity of undying love. Greek theory believed the fourth finger of the left hand to be connected to the heart, making this the appropriate finger to be “bound” in romantic attachment.
Kissing the Bride
During the Roman empire, the kiss between a couple symbolized a legal bond. Continued use of the kiss to seal the marriage bond is based on the deeply rooted idea of the kiss as a vehicle for transference of power and souls.
The Couple Being Pronounced “Husband and Wife”
This establishes their change of names and a definite point in time for the beginning of the marriage. These words are to remove any doubt in the minds of the couple or their witnesses concerning the validity of the marriage.
Signing the Guest Book
Your wedding guests are official witness to the covenant. By signing the guest book, they are saying, “I have witnessed the vows, and I will testify to the reality of the marriage.” Because of this significance, the guest book should be signed after the wedding rather than before it.
The Meaning of Serving Food at the Reception
Food is part of the covenant celebration. It further symbolizes the unity of the couple. Entering into a meal itself is a form of covenant.
The Bride and Groom Feeding Wedding Cake to Each Other
This represents the sharing of their bodies to become one. A New Testament illustration of this symbolism is The Lord’s Supper.Cultural Wedding Traditions
Borne from different cultures and passed down through the generations, traditions can add a unique touch to your special day. Incorporate one of the following for a future of good fortune.
Bride and groom "jump the broom", a custom that symbolizes jumping from a carefree single life into the responsibilities of domestic life and a future together.
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