Wedding Ceremony Traditions

26 Apr 2018 (Thu)

With the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle next month, it got us chatting in the office about our own weddings and those we’d attended as guests which made us realise that we all had unique experiences and had included various traditions.

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
This tradition is upheld for many brides - old represents continuity and might be a family heirloom such as a piece of jewellery; new (often the dress or shoes) offers optimism for the future; borrowed symbolises happiness, perhaps a veil or hairpiece; and blue stands for love, fidelity and purity and is commonly a small blue bow on a garter or sewn into the dress.  Of course, this describes the traditional British wedding attire (think Kate Middleton ©Daily Express) and there are so many other styles we could talk about if we had the time and space.

In modern times, there are so many options to formalise a marriage, we've chosen to highlight three:

  • Religious wedding ceremonies are still very popular. They might even be chosen because of the beautiful backdrop for photographs. For churches, with ever decreasing congregations, weddings are a lifeline as, although the payment for the ceremony is relatively small, the guests usually make generous donations.
  • Civil Ceremonies are a common choice as this gives a formal option for non-religious weddings.  More and more places are getting licenses too which offers so many more options especially for same-sex marriages.  Check out this waterside venue.
  • Sand Ceremonies can take place anywhere and are a ceremony where two different colours of sand are used and each person takes turns to pour it into a clear vessel and this expresses the coming together of two people.  This is popular for second time marriages where the children can be part of the ceremony to visually join the two families together.
  • Customs can also be integrated into wedding ceremonies, for example the Japanese have a pouring vessel filled with sake (Japanese rice wine) which is poured into each of the little cups starting with the smallest, the bride and groom and both sets of parents take three sips from each of the three cups.  This ritual dates back to a time when sharing sake created a formal bond.

Why is a wedding breakfast called a wedding breakfast if it’s in the afternoon? This question puzzles many of us.  There’s two explanations:

  • Historically people would fast the night before a wedding, get married early in the morning, so it really was a ‘wedding breakfast’
  • Nowadays, it’s called the ‘wedding breakfast’ as it is the first meal that a couple share after their marriage.

Why do we call a holiday after a wedding a honeymoon?  This is something we might take for granted as a tradition and never questioned why!  There are few explanations so here is the one I liked:  It originates from an Old English expression “hony moone” - hony means honey and symbolises the sweetness of marriage. There is also a European custom to give newlyweds a month-long lasting alcoholic liquor, mead (basically fermented honey and water). The ‘moone’ is believed to be relating to the body’s monthly cycle which, as most of us might be aware is not always as sweet as the first one of marriage!  In turn, this relates to the term ‘honeymoon period’ which I’ve often heard of the ‘honeymoon period is over’ as in, reality kicks in for real life after the excitement of the wedding.

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