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All About English Weddings

Marriage, socially recognized and approved union between individuals, who commit to one another with
the expectation of a stable and lasting intimate relationship. It begins with a ceremony known as a
wedding, which formally unites the marriage partners. A marital relationship usually involves some kind of
contract, either written or specified by tradition, which defines the partners rights and obligations to each
other, to any children they may have, and to their relatives. In most contemporary industrialized societies,
marriage is certified by the government.
In addition to being a personal relationship between two people, marriage is one of societys most
important and basic institutions. Marriage and family serve as tools for ensuring social reproduction.
ocial reproduction includes providing food, clothing, and shelter for family members! raising and
socializing children! and caring for the sick and elderly. In families and societies in which wealth, property,
or a hereditary title is to be passed on from one generation to the next, inheritance and the production of
legitimate heirs are a prime concern in marriage. "owever, in contemporary industrialized societies,
marriage functions less as a social institution and more as a source of intimacy for the individuals
involved.
Marriage is commonly defined as a partnership between two members of opposite sex known as husband
and wife. "owever, scholars who study human culture and society disagree on whether marriage can be
universally defined. #he usual roles and responsibilities of the husband and wife include living together,
having sexual relations only with one another, sharing economic resources, and being recognized as the
parents of their children. "owever, unconventional forms of marriage that do not include these elements
do exist. $or example, scholars have studied several cultural groups in Africa and India in which
husbands and wives do not live together. Instead, each spouse remains in his or her original home, and
the husband is a visitor with sexual rights. %ommitted relationships between homosexuals &individuals
with a sexual orientation towards people of the same sex' also challenge conventional definitions of
marriage.
(ebates over the definition of marriage illustrate its dual nature as both a public institution and a private,
personal relationship. )n the one hand, marriage involves an emotional and sexual relationship between
particular human beings. At the same time, marriage is an institution that transcends the particular
individuals involved in it and unites two families. In some cultures, marriage connects two families in a
complicated set of property exchanges involving land, labor, and other resources. #he extended family
and society also share an interest in any children the couple may have. $urthermore, the legal and
religious definitions of marriage and the laws that surround it usually represent the symbolic expression of
core cultural norms &informal behavioral guidelines' and values.
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All About English Weddings
WHITE WEDDING
Married in white, you will have chosen all right. Married in grey, you will go far away. Married in black,
you will wish yourself back. Married in red, youll wish yourself dead. Married in blue, you will always be
true. Married in pearl, youll live in a whirl. Married in green, ashamed to be seen. Married in yellow,
ashamed of the fellow. Married in brown, youll live out of town. Married in pink, your spirits will sink.
A white wedding is a traditional formal or semi*formal +estern wedding. #he term refers to the white color
of the wedding dress, which became popular in the ,ictorian era, after -ueen ,ictoria wore a white lace
dress at her wedding. ,arious theories for the meaning of this color choice have been put forward, from
an appreciation of color symbolism, to represent purity of heart and the innocence of childhood, to an
effort by the monarch to promote lace sales, to conspicuous consumption by status*conscious families,
because a white dress could be easily damaged and was therefore common only among wealthy families.
.ater, it was believed that the color white symbolized virginity and should be worn only by a virgin bride.
History and traditions History and traditions
#he tradition of a white wedding is
commonly credited to -ueen ,ictoria/s
choice to wear a white wedding dress at
her wedding to 0rince Albert in 1234.
-ueen ,ictoria was not the first royal
bride to wear a white wedding gown,
but the first of the modern era. +hite
had been a traditional color of royal
mourning, and although not often
utilized as such, white was not
considered a suitable choice for a royal
wedding. ,ictoria/s choice popularized
the white gown as no other had before
her. 0reviously, brides wore their best
clothes or the most expensive new
clothes they could afford. 5old or gold*threaded dresses became popular with royal brides! the rank*and*
file wore dresses that reflected their station. +hite was one of many choices, pastel shades were also
popular.
6ntil the mid*twentieth century, many brides in the 6nited 7ingdom did not wear a traditional wedding
dress, merely a specially bought dress that could later be worn as an evening gown. #his was also the
case in pre*84th century America, where working and frontier brides often opted for a formal look that was
practical and could be used again on special occasions. In fact, before the white wedding dress became
standardized an old poem sang the praises or woes of various color choices.
After +orld +ar I, as full*scale formal weddings began to be desired by the mothers of brides who did not
have a permanent social secretary, the position of the "wedding planner" who could coordinate the printer,
florist, caterer, seamstress, began to assume importance. Brides Maga!ine began to be published in
19:3 as a newspaper advertising insert called o ;ou/re 5oing to 5et Married< in a column titled #o the
=ride, and its rival Modern Bride began publishing in 1939. >ow a whole industry surrounds the provision
of such weddings. #he groom may be a mere detail? the new editor of Modern Bride began her inaugural
column, without irony? "" really did have the wedding of my dreams, the wedding that had been floating
around my head for years before " met my husband."
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All About English Weddings
Wedding ceremony participants Wedding ceremony participants
+edding ceremony participants, also referred to as the wedding party, or the bridal party, are the people
that participate directly in the wedding ceremony itself.
(epending on the location, religion, and style of the
wedding, this group may include only the individual people
that are marrying, or it may include one or more brides,
grooms &or bridegrooms', maids of honor, bridesmaids, best
men, groomsmen, flower girls, page boys and ringbearers.
Groom
A bridegroom &usually shortened to groom' is a man who is
about to be married, or who has @ust been married. #he
word bridegroom is dated to 1A43, derived from bride and
the archaic goom, from )ld Bnglish guma, CboyC.A
bridegroom is typically attended by a best man and
groomsmen.
#he style of the groom/s clothing depends upon the time of
day, the location of the ceremony, the style in which the
ceremony is performed, and whether the groom is a
member of the armed forces. In most parts of the world,
active*duty members of the military and some law
enforcement agencies wear their military uniforms instead of
civilian clothing.
+estern traditions usually have the groom wearing a suit of
an appropriate level of formality to the occasion and the time
of day. In the 6, the groom usually wears a dark*coloured
suit &daytime' or tuxedo &evening' during the wedding
ceremony. =ritish tradition reDuires groom, male ushers and
close male family to wear morning suits. In cotland, a full
evening suit is customarily worn for evening ceremonies,
often comprising a kilt.
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All About English Weddings
Maid of honor
In the 6nited 7ingdom, the term Cmaid of honourC originally referred to the female attendant of a Dueen.
#he term bridesmaid is normally used for all bridal attendants in the 67. "owever, when the attendant is
married, or is a mature woman, the term matron of honour is often used. #he influence of American
Bnglish has led to the chief bridesmaid sometimes being called the maid of honor.
In >orth America, a wedding party might include several bridesmaids, but the maid of honor is the title
and position held by the bride/s chief attendant, typically her closest friend or sister. In modern day
weddings some brides opt to choose a long*time male friend or brother as their head attendant, using the
title Best Man or man of honor.
#he activities of the principal bridesmaid may be as many or as varied as she allows the bride to impose
upon her. "er only reDuired duty is to participate in the wedding ceremony. #ypically, however, she is
asked for help with the logistics of the wedding as an event, such as addressing invitations, and for her
help as a friend, such as attending the bride as she shops for her wedding dress. Many brides expect a
chief bridesmaid to arrange and pay for a bridal shower as well as the bachelorette party &6' or hen
night &Australia and 67', although it is a social faux pas on
the bride/s part, since these parties are gifts rather than a
right.
)n the day of the wedding, her principal duty is to provide
practical and emotional support. he might assist the bride
with dressing and, if needed, help the bride manage her
veil, a bouDuet of flowers, a prayer book, or the train of her
wedding dress during the day.
Groomsmen
A groomsman or usher is one of the male attendants to the bridegroom in a wedding ceremony. #he term
groomsman is more common in the 6nited tates, and usher is more common in the 67. 6sually the
bridegroom selects his closest friends andEor relatives to serve as a groomsmen, and it is considered an
honor to be selected. $rom his groomsmen, the groom usually chooses one to serve as best man. #he
duties of the groomsmen are to help guests find their places before the ceremony and to participate in the
wedding ceremony.
Additionally, the groom may reDuest other kinds of
assistance, such as planning celebratory events such
as a bachelor party, also called tag >ight or =uck/s
>ight! helping make the wedding pleasant for guests by
talking with people who are alone or dancing with
unpartnered guests or bridesmaids, if there is dancing
at a wedding reception! or providing practical assistance
with gifts, luggage, or unexpected complications.
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All About English Weddings
$or a wedding with many guests, the groom may also ask other male friends and relatives to act as
ushers without otherwise participating in the wedding ceremony! their sole task is ushering guests to their
seats before the ceremony. 6shers may also be hired for very large weddings.
Bridegroom#men and bridesmaids had formerly important duties. #he men were called bride*knights, and
represented a survival of the primitive days of marriage by capture, when a man called his friends in to
assist to CliftC the bride.
Flower girls
A flower girl is a participant in a wedding procession. .ike ring bearers and page boys, flower girls are
usually members of the bride/s or groom/s extended family, but may also be friends.
#ypically, the flower girl walks in front of the bride during an entrance
processional. he may spread flower petals on the floor before the
bride or carry a bouDuet of flowers or thornless roses. )nce the
processional is over, a young flower girl will sit down with her parents.
If the ceremony will not be particularly long, an older child may prefer
to Duietly stand at the altar with the other honor attendants.
=ecause very young children are overwhelmed by the duties, and
older girls may feel insulted by a CbabyC role, the recommended age is
between four and eight years of age, or even older, if not offensive to
the girl/s feelings.#here may be more than one flower girl, particularly if
the bride has several young relatives to honor. #his practice is more
common at =ritish royal weddings, at elaborate weddings modeled
after royal weddings, or at ,ictorian*themed weddings.
Page boys and ringbearers
A page boy is a young male attendant at a wedding or cotillion. #his
type of wedding attendant is less common than it used to be, but is still
a way of including young relatives or the children of relatives and
friends in a wedding. A page is often seen at =ritish royal weddings. #here may be many pages for effect
at cotillions.
#raditionally, page boys carry the bride/s train, especially if she is wearing a dress with a long train.
=ecause of the difficulty of managing the train, page boys are generally no younger than age seven, with
older boys being preferred for more complicated duties.
In a formal wedding, the ring bearer is a special page who carries
the wedding rings for the bridal party. #his is almost always
symbolic, with the ring bearer carrying a large white satin pillow
on which imitation rings are sewn, while the real wedding bands
are kept in the safekeeping of the best man. If the real rings are
used, they are tacked on with thread to prevent their accidental
loss. #he ringbearer as a separate role is a relatively modern
innovation. In a white wedding ceremony, the best man carries the
rings.
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All About English Weddings
Officiant/Celebrant
In the 6nited tates, %anada and many other countries around the
world, a celebrant is a person who performs religious or secular
celebrancy services for weddings, funerals, child namings, coming of age
ceremonies, and other rituals.
%elebrants may perform alternative and nontraditional ceremonies in
places, and under circumstances where mainstream religious clergy will
not. ome %elebrants perform same*sex weddings and commitment
ceremonies. %elebrants, also called )fficiants, often perform ceremonies
in parks, on beaches, on mountains, on boats, on hiking trails, in hotels,
in banDuet halls, in private homes, and many other places.
%elebrants differ from %haplains in that %elebrants serve the unaffiliated
public at large, while %haplains are usually employed by an institution
such as a hospital or other health care facility, the military, etc.
In the 6nited tates, %elebrants are professional ceremony officiants
who believe in the power and effectiveness of ceremony and ritual to serve basic needs of society and the
individual. #hey collaborate with their clients to create and perform personalized ceremonies that reflect
the clients beliefs, philosophy of life, and personality! not the %elebrants.
Wedding stages Wedding stages
Bachelor party
A bachelor party &6nited tates, %anada, outh Africa', stag
party, stag night, or stag do &%anada, 67, Ireland, and >ew
Fealand', bull/s party &outh Africa', or buck/s party or buck/s
night &Australia' is a party held for a bachelor shortly before he
enters marriage, to make the most of his final opportunity to
engage in activities a new partner might not approve of, or
merely to spend time with his male friends &who are often in
his wedding party afterwards'.
In the 6nited tates, .as ,egas, outh =each Miami,
%hicago, and >ew )rleans are popular bachelor party
destinations! they are also popular wedding locations.
Increasingly, "destination bachelor parties" are replacing
standard nights out, with Americans traveling to Montreal or
Mexico. =achelor parties in the 6 often entail the mass
consumption of alcohol, the hiring of a stripper or a prostitute and general rowdiness towards which the
bride might not have a positive reaction &especially since the bride is not typically among the invitees'.
Increasingly, bachelor parties have come to symbolize the last time when the groom is free of the
influence of his new wife.
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All About English Weddings
Bachelorette party
A bachelorette party, hen party, hen do, or hen night, is a party held for a woman who is about to be
married. #he term hen party or hen night is more common in the 67, Ireland, and Australia, while the term
bachelorette party is more common in the 6nited tates. #he term stagette is used in %anada. It may also
be referred to as a girls night out or kitchen tea &outh Africa in particular' or other terms in other Bnglish*
speaking countries. #he bachelorette party is modeled after the bachelor party, which is itself historically a
dinner given by the bridegroom to his friends shortly before his wedding. (espite its reputation as "a
sodden farewell to bachelor days" or "an evening of debauchery," a bachelorette/s party is a normal party,
given in honor of the bride*to*be, in the style that is common to that social circle.
Many different kinds of entertainment are selected, depending on what the organizers think will best
please their guest of honor. +hile notions of a bachelorette party as a night of drunken debauchery
persist in some social circles, it is becoming widely seen in America as an opportunity for female bonding.
According to etiDuette expert 0eggy 0ost, "$hatever entertainment is planned, it should not embarrass,
humiliate, or endanger the honoree or any of the guests."
The ceremony
+hen the guests arrive for a wedding, the ushers/ duty
is to distribute books or leaflets and ensure that guests
are seated in the correct places. #raditionally, the side
on which people sit depends on whether they are
friends or family of the bride or of the groom. #he front
rows are generally reserved for close family or friends,
with the very first seats reserved for the bridal party.
"owever, in many ceremonies the bridal party will
remain standing at the altar during the ceremony along
with the bride and groom.
#he groom and his best man wait inside the church for
the arrival of the bride and her entourage. #his
entourage generally arrives in elegant cars or in horse*
drawn coaches, specially hired for the occasion. #he
bride/s entourage normally consists of the bride, the bride/s father and all the various bridesmaids, maids
of honour, flower girls and page boys that are intended to attend her.
#he following is a typical processional order for weddings that follow American %ustoms?
1. #he ushers andEor groomsmen escort the grandparents of the bride and groom to their seats.
8. #he ushers andEor groomsmen escort the mother of the groom and mother of the bride to their seats.
:. #he bridesmaids enter, escorted by the groomsmen.
3. #he maid or matron of honor enters, either by herself &alone' or escorted by the best man.
G. #he ringbearer enters.
A. #he flower girl enters. &In some ceremonies, the ringbearer will accompany the flower girl.'
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All About English Weddings
H. #he bride then proceeds down the aisle, escorted by her father, to the accompaniment of music, and
the ceremony starts.
In the 67 and other %ommonwealth countries, the bride and her father go down the aisle first, followed by
the bride/s attendants. #he best man and any other groomsmen, as well as the parents and grandparents
of the bride and groom &with the exception of the bride/s father', watch the bridal procession from the
altar.
The Recessional
#his is the bride and grooms return down the aisle after the %eremony. 6sually an exuberant piece of
music is played, such as the traditional "$edding March". Again, there are no rules? ethnic choices are as
appropriate as are pop songs as the couple, their family and guests exit and move on to the next part of
the wedding? the reception. After the wedding ceremony itself ends, the bride, groom, officiant and two
witnesses generally go off to a side room to sign the wedding register in the 6nited 7ingdom or the state*
issued marriage license in the 6nited tates. +ithout the signing of the register or the marriage license no
legally valid marriage exists.
Religious wedding
In virtually all religions, marriage is a life*long union between two or more people and is established with
ceremonies and rituals. #he people are most commonly one man and one woman
,
though some religions
have permitted polygamous marriages and some faiths and denominations recognize same*sex
marriages.
In marriage, %hristians see a picture of the relationship between Iesus and the %hurch. In Iudaism,
marriage is so important that remaining unmarried is deemed unnatural. Islam also recommends marriage
highly! among other things, it helps in the pursuit of spiritual perfection. "induism sees marriage as a
sacred duty that entails both religious and social obligations. =y contrast, =uddhism does not encourage
or discourage marriage, although it does teach how one might live a happily married life and emphasizes
that marital vows are not to be taken lightly.
(ifferent religions have different beliefs as regards the breakup of marriage. $or example, the Joman
%atholic %hurch believes that marriage is a sacrament and a valid marriage between two baptized
persons cannot be broken up by any other
means than death. #his means that civil
divorcKs cannot remarry in a %atholic
church marriage as long as their spouse is
alive.
In the area of nullity, religions and the state
often apply different rules. A couple, for
example, may begin the process to have
their marriage annulled by the %atholic
%hurch only after they are no longer married
in the eyes of the civil authority. #he
%atholic %hurch will not, in fact, grant an
annulment petition unless the marriage has
also been dissolved or annulled under civil
law. #hough sometimes styled C%atholic divorceC, an annulment means not a dissolution of a marriage,
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All About English Weddings
but the recognition that a marriage has not taken place at all. #his applies to sacramental marriages!
marriages between an unbaptized and a baptized person can be dissolved according to %anon law.
Ciil marriage
Bvery country maintaining a population registry of its residents keeps track of marital status, and most
countries believe that it is their responsibility to register married couples. Most countries define the
conditions of civil marriage separately from religious reDuirements. %ertain countries, such as Israel, only
allow couples to register on the condition that they have first been married in a religious ceremony
recognized by the state, or were married in a different country.
#oday, Bngland permits civil marriages conducted in front of a "superintendent registrar", without any
religious ceremony. uch marriages reDuire a certificate, and at times a license, that testify that the
couple is fit for marriage. A short time after they are approved in the superintendent registrar/s office, a
short ceremony takes place at which the superintendent registrar, the couple and two witnesses must
attend. #his ceremony takes place according to an official form, and does not have a religious format.
The reception
#he time after the ceremony and interlude is the time
for celebrating. +hether the Jeception is a formal sit*
down dinner*dance, buffet or a small gathering with
light refreshments, music is always an enhancement.
+edding Jeceptions are almost universally more than
@ust time for dancing and fun. Its a time to
acknowledge special family, friends and relationships.
In an attempt to provide a good time for all, different
styles of music are usually woven into the dance sets
for wedding guests are usually of different generations
and ethnicities. ome of the traditional, though
optional, highlights are as follows?
The Grand !ntrance
$or the grand entrance of the newlywed couple, a
special announcement, introducing the couple for the
first time as Mr. L Mrs. is standard. #he choices for
music are unlimited, though high energy numbers
such as "$e %re &amily", "'elebration", or other
favorite up*tempo songs are traditional.
The First "ance
6nless the reception is in a restaurant with no dancing, almost all couples look forward to their first dance
as a married couple. If they dont have one particular favorite song above all others, a good deal of time is
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All About English Weddings
spent finding and choosing @ust the right one. Many couples even take dancing lessons to choreograph
their special dance. 0opular choices that have stood the test of time are "(nforgettable" and "%t )ast".
#he choices are endless, from pop tunes of the 1934s through the present day.
Father#daughter dance
#he father*daughter dance is one of the newer traditions of the reception. #he song selected may be from
the point of view of the daughter to her father, or from the point of view of the father to his daughter. At the
vast ma@ority of American weddings it/s appropriate to share and exchange expressions of love and
gratitude on a daughters wedding day to add to the emotion and bring guests closer to the family. $ather*
daughter dances are not limited to weddings! some elementary schools are known to host father*daughter
dances, often near ,alentine/s (ay.
Cutting the Ca$e
Always a welcome treat toward the end of the Jeception dinner, the wedding cake, whether its an
elaborate artistic creation, or a simply*decorated sheet cake is considered to be an important ritual at
most weddings. At this time, the music is meant to reflect the fun of the tradition, and up*tempo versions
of "*he Bride 'uts *he 'ake" &to the tune of
the "*he &armer in the +ell", or even
"'hapel of )ove" are appropriate.
The %ast "ance
#his is both a happy and a nostalgic
moment. Its a new chapter in the lives of the
bride and groom and for their parents as
well. $avorite ballads are as welcome by
guests and family as up*tempo dance tunes.
As always, there are no -rules. It is often
thought of as a perfect time for a last /thank
you/s/ and blessings. ometimes a /circle of
love/ is formed around the couple as music is
played in a moving last highlight.
#he final tradition is the newly married couple to set off for their honeymoon.
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All About English Weddings
Other traditions Other traditions
+edding traditions vary between countries, and between regions of the same country. ome traditions ?
Tossing of the bride&s bou'uet and garter. #he bride tosses her bouDuet over her shoulder to a group
of all the single women present. +hoever catches it is supposed to be the next to get married. imilarly,
the groom tosses the bride/s garter to the single men, often after removing it from her leg. )n occasion,
the bride will "rig" the bouDuet toss by tossing the bouDuet to a woman who is engaged. #he groom then
arranges for the fiancK of the bouDuet*toss winner to receive the bride/s garter. ometimes, the man who
catches the garter is supposed to put it on the leg of the woman who catches the bouDuet, or the garter is
sold in a raffle instead of being
tossed.
Clin$ing of the glasses. 5uests
will often clink their glasses
during dinner to ask the
newlyweds to stand up and kiss.
ome couples pass out wedding
favor bells for guests to ring
instead of clinking glasses.
+eddings are a special time for
the bride and the groom as well
as their friends and family
members who gather around
them on their special day. It
seems like weddings have been around since the beginning of time and through the years various
wedding customs have arisen. #he following paragraphs will highlight some of the wedding customs and
highlight how they came to be and what they really mean.
#he wedding custom which relates to the saying ()omething old* something new* something
borrowed* something blue and a siler si+pence in your shoe, is one which has been around for
years. In keeping with this saying, the bride is supposed to collect all of these items for her wedding day
and somehow incorporate them into her attire, accessories, etc. #he purpose behind doing so is different
for each part of the phrase. omething old represents the future closeness of the couple and their friends.
As for the something new portion, this relates to the couples happy future. omething borrowed deals
with family ties and borrowing a family heirloom of sorts whereas something blue represents fidelity.
.astly, the silver sixpence in the shoe is to represent wealth in the married couples future life together.
#here are other customs which relate to a bride*to*bes wedding
gown. #he groom is not supposed to see the bride in her wedding
dress until she walks down the aisle as it is thought to be bad luck.
In addition, the bride should not make her own wedding dress nor
should she wear the complete ensemble until she is ready to
leave for the church on her wedding day. +hether these customs
mentioned above have any truth to them is up to personal
interpretation.
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All About English Weddings
WEDDING DETAILS
Wedding dress Wedding dress
A wedding dress or wedding gown is clothing worn by a
bride during a wedding ceremony. %olor, style and
ceremonial importance of the gown can depend on the
religion and culture of the wedding participants.
+eddings performed during and immediately following the
medieval era were often more than @ust a union between two
people. #hey could be a union between two families, two
businesses or even two countries. Many weddings were
more a matter of politics than love, particularly among the
nobility and the higher social classes. =rides were therefore
expected to dress in a manner that cast their families in the
most favorable light, for they were not representing only
themselves during the ceremony. =rides of an elevated
social standing often wore rich colors and expensive fabrics.
It was common to see such brides wearing bold colors and
layers of furs, velvet and silk. =rides of a lower social
standing often copied the elegant styles of wealthier brides
as best they could.
)ver the centuries, brides continued to dress in a manner
befitting their social statusMalways in the height of fashion,
with the richest, boldest materials money could buy. #he poorest of brides wore their best church dress on
their wedding day. #he amount of material a wedding dress contained also was a reflection of the bride/s
social standing and indicated the extent of the family/s wealth to wedding guests. #oday, there are
wedding dresses available in all price ranges, and +estern traditions have loosened up to include a
rainbow of colors and variety of lengths, which are now considered acceptable. +omen may purchase
ready*made gowns, wear a family heirloom, or they may choose to have a dressmaker create one for her.
In addition, today many bridal salons have samples of wedding gowns in their stores where the bride
selects a certain style and orders one to be made to fit.
+edding dresses have traditionally been based on the popular styles of the day. $or example, in the
1984s, wedding dresses were typically short in the front with a longer train in the back and were worn with
cloche*style wedding veils. #his tendency to follow current fashions continued until the late 1934s, when it
became popular to revert to long, full*skirted designs reminiscent of the ,ictorian era. Although there has
always been a style that dominates the bridal market for a time, and then shifts with the changes in
fashion, a growing number of modern brides are not choosing to follow these trends. #his is due in large
part to non*traditional and non*first*time weddings, and women who are marrying later in life.
#oday, +estern wedding dresses are usually white, though "wedding white" includes creamy shades such
as eggshell, ecru and ivory. 0hilippa of Bngland was actually the first documented princess in history to
wear a white wedding gown during a royal wedding ceremony? she wore a tunic with a cloak in white silk
bordered with grey sDuirrel and ermine'. +hite did not become a popular option until 1234, after the
marriage of -ueen ,ictoria to Albert of axe*%oburg. ,ictoria had worn a white gown for the event so as
to incorporate some lace she owned. #he official wedding portrait photograph was widely published, and
many other brides opted for a similar dress in honor of the -ueen/s choice.
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All About English Weddings
Decorations Decorations
A popular topic for brides and grooms is
maintaining the wedding theme or design in
weddings, and this can be done with the help
of uniDue wedding reception decorations,
table decor and design.
0lanning a wedding is a fun and special
event for the bride and groom*to*be. #here is
so much that needs to be done to decorate
for the wedding in order to make the festive
occasion simply perfect. )ne important detail
that needs to be tended to with any wedding
is that of wedding decorations. $rom simple
to decadent, there is a decoration for the
wedding reception tables to fit every taste
imaginable.
0erhaps nothing says wedding more so than
decorations consisting of wedding bells and hearts. #hese items come in a variety of shapes, sizes and
materials. +hether one is looking to decorate the aisles and pews at the church for the wedding
ceremony or looking for perfect wedding table decorations for the wedding reception, there is so much to
choose from when it comes to wedding bells and hearts. $or church decorations, try placing :*( paper
wedding bells on the end of each church pew to give the church a little extra wedding flair. As for the
reception, heart candleholders can be placed on each of the reception tables with white candles for some
added ambience.
#here are so many ways in which the couple can make their day that much more special and one way is
to go all out when it comes to choosing the perfect wedding decorations for the big day.
Wedding ring Wedding ring
#here are so many options to choose from when purchasing
wedding bands and rings. #hese items come in many different colors, styles and materials. $or those
individuals who do not have set types of wedding rings in mind when entering the @ewelry store, they may
become a bit overwhelmed. #herefore, there are certain things which the bride and groom should keep in
mind when choosing the right.
ome couples like to have the same style of rings whereas others are more comfortable with wearing
uniDue and different @ewelry.
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All About English Weddings
Wedding cake Wedding cake
A wedding cake is the traditional cake served to the guests at a wedding
reception &or in parts of Bngland, at a wedding breakfast' after a wedding. In modern +estern culture, it is
usually a large cake, multi*layered or tiered, and heavily decorated with icing, occasionally over a layer of
marzipan or fondant, topped with a small statue representing the couple. Achieving a dense, strong cake
that can support the decorations while remaining edible can be considered the epitome of the baker/s art
and skill. #he average cost of a wedding cake in the 6.. in 844G was NG3:.
+edding cake toppers are small models that sit on top of the cake, normally a representation of a bride
and groom in formal wedding attire. #his custom was dominant in 6 wedding in the 19G4s where it
represented togetherness. Modern weddings have embraced more variety in design and significance.
+edding toppers today are often figures that indicate shared hobbies or other passions.
Wedding invitation Wedding invitation
A wedding invitation is a letter asking the recipient to attend a wedding. It is typically mailed six to eight
weeks before the wedding date. +edding invitations may be printed using one of the following methods?
engraving, lithography, thermography, letterpress printing, sometimes blind embossing, offset printing,
and more recently, on laser and ink@et printers as many do*it*yourself brides are printing on their home
computers. Invitations can be ordered from an artist, or vendor specializing in invitations. $or the
artistically inclined, they can be handmade.
#raditionally, wedding invitations are mailed in double envelopes. #he inner envelope may be lined, is not
gummed, and fits into the outer envelope. #he outer envelope is gummed for sealing and addressing.
#issues are often provided by manufacturers to place over the engraved text, originally this tissue
protected the engraving against smudging or blotting, but improved printing techniDues mean they are
now simply decorative. More recently,
the inner envelope is often left out in
the interest of saving money and
postage. In some cases, a pocketfold
takes the place of an inner envelope.
#raditionally, the mother of the bride
addresses the wedding invitations.
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All About English Weddings
Wedding avor Wedding avor
+edding favors are small gifts given as a gesture of
appreciation or gratitude to guests from the bride and
groom during a wedding ceremony or a wedding
reception.
#oday, gifts to guests are commonly known as wedding
favors and are shared in cultures worldwide. +edding
favors have become a part of wedding reception
planning, especially in the 6nited tates and %anada.
+edding favors are diverse and usually complement
the theme or season of the event. %lassic favors can
range from the classic sugared almonds or individual
chocolates to candles and scented soaps. Modern gift
trends include? %(s with the favorite music of the bride
and groom, shot glasses filled with colored candy or
silver picture frames with a photo of the couple. 5ifts may also be personalized with the couple/s names,
initials or wedding date.
Wedding music Wedding music
+edding music applies to vocal andEor instrumental music performed at wedding rehearsals, rehearsal
dinners, wedding ceremonies,and receptions &post*wedding party'. In cultures of the +estern
"emisphere, it initially provides background ambience for the audience as it assembles for the wedding. It
then is used to announce and accompany a specific order of events, starting with the ritual seating of
mothers and grandmothers by the ushers, followed by the entrance of the groomsmen and clergy, then
the bridesmaids and lastly the bride and possibly the bridegroom self&nu cred ca ar trebui'. All these
events are accompanied by their own individual pieces, selected beforehand in con@unction with the
musician&s' hired to perform. In the place of live players, recorded music can be substituted to fulfill these
functions.
Music played at +estern weddings includes a
processional song for walking down the aisle and
reception dance music includes?
,arious works for trumpet and organ, arguably the
most famous of which include the 0rince of
(enmark/s March by Ieremiah %larke as a
processional, the "*rumpet *une" by "enry 0urcell
and the "*rumpet .oluntary" by Iohn tanley as
recessionals.
elections by 5eorge $rideric "andel, perhaps most
notably the "%ir" from his +ater Music as
processional and the "%lla /ornpipe" as recessional.
#he "Bridal 'horus" from )ohengrin by Jichard
+agner, often used as the processional and
commonly known as "/ere 'omes the Bride".
Jichard +agner is said to have been anti*emitic,
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All About English Weddings
and as a result, the =ridal %horus is often not used at Iewish weddings. It is also generally
discouraged for use at Joman %atholic weddings.
Iohann 0achelbel/s %anon in ( is an alternative processional.
Celebrity -eddings
When it comes to !ove and the grand march do"n the ais!e# "e$re ascinated "ith "hat charmed
ce!e%rities "ith un!imited money and sho"&stopping resources can do && as "e!! as "here
those charmed peop!e can take a "rong turn and create something dreadu!' We !ove to
compare notes# get inspiration# or even s(uea! "ith horror "hen things go "rong'

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer
When) Iuly 89, 1921
Where) ,ows were recited within t.0aul/s %athedral in .ondon, Bngland
The Engagement? A proposal earlier in the month in the nursery at +indsor %astle led to an official
announcement on $ebruary 83, 1921, when the future king of Bngland and the former children/s nanny
gathered in the gardens of =uckingham 0alace to dazzle @ournalists with the bride*to*be/s white gold
engagement ring, which was dominated by an oval sapphire embraced by fourteen diamonds. (iana
personally chose the gem, picking the largest stone on the display tray. In (ianas own words?
O"e said, -$ill you marry me0 and I laughed. I remember thinking, -*his is a 1oke, and I said, -2eah,
okay, and laughed. "e was deadly serious. "e said, -2ou do reali!e that one day you will be 3ueen. And
a voice said to me inside, -2ou wont be 3ueen,
but youll have a tough role. o I said, -2es. I
said, P" love you so much, " love you so much.
"e said, P$hatever love means.Q
The *eremony) #he streets of .ondon were
alive with a profusion of 6nion Iacks waving in
the mid*morning air as .ady (iana pencer and
her father began their @ourney from the -ueen
Mother/s residence, %larence "ouse, to the ir
%hristopher +ren*designed t. 0aul/s %athedral
** a venue chosen for the wedding by the groom,
who found it more aesthetically pleasing than
+estminster Abbey, where the most royal events
are held.
$rom a glass coach, the bride acknowleged the throng of admirers who had waited for days to catch a
glimpse of the twenty*year*old woman who, it was believed, would one day reign over the land.
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All About English Weddings
A three and one*half minute walk down the aisle was followed by a service that, in the words of the
Archbishop of %aterbury, was "the stuff of which fairy tales are made." (uring the ceremony the groom
presented his bride with a wedding band fashioned from +elsh gold, as is the tradition in the royal family.
The Dress) An estimated HG4 million television viewers
breathlessly waited to see the ivory silk confection by =ritish
husband and wife designers (avid and Blizabeth Bmanuel.
Bnhanced by 14,444 pearls and mother*of*pearl seDuins, the
"meringue" style gown was a ,ictorian vision, complete with
puffed sleeves and a twenty*five*foot*long train. Attention was
paid to even the smallest of details of the bridal ensemble,
from the dainty bow embellishing the neckline to the ruffled
hearts and heels of hand*painted gold on the ivory silk
slippers fashioned by =aboucha hoes. #o add the finishing
touch, a perfumed, cascading bouDuet was composed of
yellow Mountbatten roses, gardenias, stephanotis, orchids, lily
of the valley and freesia. #o further tie the past with the
present, accents of myrtle and veronica from -ueen ,ictoria/s
garden at )sborne "ouse were interspersed among the array
of blossoms.
In keeping with bridal tradition, (iana/s "something old" was
represented by -ueen Mary/s antiDue %arrickmacross lace,
which was used as romantic enhancements on the gown,
which stood in for her "something new." #he pencer family
tiara was "something borrowed", while her "something blue"
was hidden from the view as the casual observer, who never realized that a dainty blue bow was hidden
inside the gown, as was a good luck amulet** a small golden horseshoe encrusted with diamonds.
#he bride/s young assistants were a cherubic congregation, garbed in ballerina*length ivory silk taffeta
dresses embellished with lace and a golden sash at the waist. #he bridesmaid/s carried small baskets of
flowers in a kaleidescope of colors which matched the wreath of blossoms resting upon their heads.
The +eception) After appeasing the crowd of well*wishers with a kiss on the balcony of =uckingham
0alace, the bride and groom sat for a .ord nowden wedding portrait session followed by a traditional
royal wedding breakfast, where guests dined on gold plates filled with brill in lobster sauce, chicken
breasts garnished with lamb mousse, and strawberries with %ornish cream washed down with claret and
port before the groom brandished his ceremonial sword to cut the first slice of a five*tiered wedding cake
adorned with emblems from his >aval days, sugar doves, and topped with a garden of confectionary
roses, lilies of the valley, fuchsias and orchids accenting an ornamental "'" and "+."
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All About English Weddings
Prince William and Catherine Middleton
When) 89 April,8411
Where) +estminster Abbey, in .ondon
The Engagement) #hey were engaged in )ctober 8414 while on a private holiday in 7enya! 0rince
+illiam gave Middleton the same engagement ring that his father had given to +illiam/s mother, (iana,
0rincess of +ales
,
an 12 carat white gold ring with a 18 carat oval sapphire and 13 round diamonds. It
was announced at approximately the same time that, after their marriage, the couple will live on the Isle of
Anglesey in +ales, where 0rince +illiam is based with the Joyal Air $orce.
The Dress) #he bridal dress, designed by the .ondon*based designer arah =urton at Alexander
Mc-ueen, was made of satin and featured a lace appliDue bodice and skirt. #he lace bodice design was
hand*made using a techniDue that originated in Ireland in the 1284s called %arrickmacross, which
involved cutting out the detailings of roses, thistles, daffodils and shamrocks and applying them to the
ivory silk tulle individually. #hese lace appliDues were hand*made by the Joyal chool of >eedlework,
based at "ampton %ourt 0alace. #he veil was held in place by a %artier croll #iara, made in 19:A and
lent to her by the -ueen. It was purchased by #he -ueen/s father, #he (uke of ;ork &subseDuently 7ing
5eorge ,I' for his (uchess &later -ueen Blizabeth, the -ueen Mother' three weeks before succeeding
his brother Bdward ,III &(uke of +indsor' as 7ing. 0rincess Blizabeth &now the -ueen' received the tiara
from her mother on her 12th birthday.
The "edding ring
#he wedding ring of %atherine is made from +elsh gold. #he ring was created by the royal warrant
holder +artski, a company with roots in =angor, 5wynedd, north +ales. ince 198:, it has been a
tradition in the royal family to use +elsh gold for the wedding ring of the bride. #his ring was made from a
small amount of gold that had been kept in the royal vaults since it was presented to -ueen Blizabeth II. It
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All About English Weddings
was mined from the %logau 5old Mine in the mountains of >orth +ales. #he %logau 5old Mine had its
heyday in the late nineteenth century, was abandoned in the early twentieth century, was reopened in
1998 and finally closed in 1992. #he -ueen had Cgiven a piece of the gold that has been in the family for
many years to 0rince +illiam as a gift,C a palace source stated. 0rince +illiam chose not to receive a
wedding ring at the ceremony.
The "edding cakes
#he wedding cake had a strong =ritish floral theme, using elements of the Ioseph .ambeth techniDue. It
was an eight*tiered traditional fruit cake decorated with cream and white icing and 944 sugar
paste flowers. #he .ambeth techniDue is based on a style of decorating that was popular in Bngland
where chefs and decorators would use a lot of intricate piping to create :*( scrollwork, leaves, flowers,
and other decoration. #he method is still popular today and is freDuently used by wedding cake designers
and decorators to create ornated wedding cakes. #he cake designer $iona %airns based in $leckney,
.eicestershire was chosen in $ebruary 8411 to create the wedding cake. Additionally, Mc,itie/s created
a groom/s cake from chocolate biscuit for the reception at =uckingham 0alace. #he chocolate biscuit cake
was made from a Joyal $amily recipe and was specially reDuested by 0rince +illiam.
The honeymoon
(espite reports that the couple would leave for their honeymoon the day after their wedding, 0rince
+illiam immediately returned to his work as a search*and*rescue pilot, and the couple did not depart until
14 days after their wedding. #he location of the honeymoon was initially kept secret, with not even
%atherine knowing where they would be heading. "owever, speculation ran rampant, fueled by the
knowledge that she wanted to go somewhere warm and her appearances shopping for warm*weather
clothing.
R
Although the press speculated that they might be headed to locations such as outh
America, Iordan, and 7enya, the couple ultimately decided to honeymoon for 14 days on a secluded villa
on a private island in the eychelles. #he length of the honeymoon was limited by +illiam/s JA$ duties
and the couple/s official scheduled tour to %anada and the6nited tates.
19