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Marriage Ceremony Traditions

Written by: Editorial Staff

March 28, 2013
Filed Under Weddings 


wedding traditionsContributed by Info Guru Cindi Pearce

Some bridal couples opt to ignore wedding rituals and traditions whereas others stick to them.

Here are ten top marriage ceremony traditions that you can incorporate into your own nuptials.

10. Walking down the aisle

Walking down the aisle

The father of the bride walks the bride down the aisle. However, some brides like both parents to escort them. On the other hand, if there isn’t an available father or the bride is on the outs with dad, she can pick whomever she wants to escort her and – if she really wants to be traditional – “give her away.”

9. Half past

five thirty

The ceremony starts at half past the hour. The ceremony starts when the minute hand on the clock is moving upward, which is a sign of good luck. That means, ideally, the wedding begins at, for example, 5:30 p.m. rather than 5:00 p.m.

8. Right or left

right or left

The bride stands on the left, and the groom stands on the right during a Christian ceremony, and the exact opposite is done in a Judaic wedding. The Christian bride’s guests sit on the left, and the Jewish bride’s guests sit on the right.

7. Hungover groomsmen


The groom and his groomsmen are so hung over their puce-tinged faces clash with their fuchsia colored bow ties, cummerbunds and vests. This is a tradition that needs to face a swift and merciless death. The bride is not going to be pleased if the men are vomiting and passing out, making a spectacle of themselves. Neither are the bride’s parents or the groom’s. Word of caution: Do not have your bachelor party the night before the wedding.

6. Hold your peace

hold your peace

“Should anyone here present know of any reason that this should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.” Some couples still include in the ceremony while others have done away with it. You never know when some joker (or, worse yet, someone who is dead serious) is going to jump up and object. Don’t open the door to this.

5. Hand fasting

Hand fasting

This is a Celtic ritual that entails trying hands together. This symbolizes the coming together of the bridal couple and their remaining bound to each other for all eternity. Wiccans, pagans and others enjoy incorporating this tradition into their wedding ceremony.

4. Jump the broom

Jump the broom

African-American couples often like to jump the broom. This represents sweeping away the old and welcoming the new. Jumping the broom is a symbol of new beginnings. It also represents the coming together of two families and paying homage to those who preceded the bridal couple, paving the way. Slaves were not permitted to take part in any traditional African rituals. Therefore, it is that much more important those rituals and traditions be observed and passed on to future generations.

3. Under the chuppah

smash the glass

Jewish weddings take place under a canopy called a chuppah, which symbolizes the home the bridal couple will create together. The chuppah is open on all sides, which represents the couple’s welcoming attitude to all people. At the conclusion of the ceremony, a glass is put on the ground, and the groom stomps on it, shattering it. This represents the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Some jokingly maintain that this is the last time the groom gets the opportunity to ‘put his foot down.’

2. Exchanging rings

exchange rings

Most but not all couples exchange rings. The ring is a visual token of the couple’s commitment to one another. However, it didn’t always mean that. In days of yore, the wedding ring was an exchange of a valuable object rather than a commitment to love and honor one another. It signified a contract between the two families and not between the marital couple. The double-ring ceremony is a relatively new concept. In the past, only the woman wore a ring.

1. I pronounce you …

husband and wife

I now pronounce you … man and wife? Husband and wife? Most contemporary couples opt for “husband and wife” because man and wife sounds like she’s getting married, and he isn’t and resonates of chattel. He’s the man and she, the wife, is his property, which used to be the case, you know.

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