Pulling off a very traditional wedding and wedding celebration is harder today than it once was. There aren’t even all that many traditional families to try to pull them off anymore. More and more often the parents of the bride, the groom or both are divorced and those relationships are less than cordial to say the least.
Just having the divorced parents in the same room could be disastrous. War could be declared….there could be food fights! 🙂 Just kidding…most people behave in a reasonable manner in social situations.
Even if a couple is planning a very traditional wedding ceremony and celebration sometimes modifications are necessary. The traditional version of the bride’s father escorting her down the aisle and responding, “I do” when the minister asks, “Who gives this woman in marriage?” isn’t even possible sometimes so her step-father, her uncle, her brother, or some other significant male figure in her life escorts her down the aisle and the question, “Who gives this woman in marriage?” has been eliminated from the ceremony.
Sometimes the wedding itself may be very traditional except that the couple chooses to write their own vows or choose to have a ceremony of their own creation rather than have the traditional ceremony performed. This is one of the most common variations of the traditional wedding today. When couples write their own vows they most often use the traditional wedding vows as a guide but not always. These vows can:
- Include statements concerning what marriage means to the individual.
- Include quotes or passages of scripture that have been meaningful in the
- Be simple statements of love and devotion.
- Be in the form of a poem or even in song.
The music chosen for an otherwise traditional wedding can be of the couple’s own choosing, as well. Every other tradition might be adhered to except for the music that is played when the bride is escorted down the aisle or when the couple leaves the alter together after the ceremony has been performed.
The couple might choose to replace the traditional “Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin” (Richard Wagner) (also known as “Here Comes the Bride”) with anything from “The Vow” (Jeremy Lubbock) to “When I’m Sixty-Four” (The Beatles), for example.
Traditional wedding ceremonies have been changed through the years simply as a reflection of changing social standards. The word ‘obey’ was deemed optional in the mid fifties and is almost never used in today’s wedding ceremonies. The old version was that the bride swore to, ‘love, honor and obey’ her husband-tobe.
Thankfully, that was changed to, “love, honor and cherish”. Women rarely ‘obey’ anyway and they never did.
The traditional wedding ceremony is sometimes modified because it is not the bride’s first marriage. In these circumstances the bride comes down the aisle unescorted which is a variation from the traditional ceremony and, of course, the “Who gives this woman in marriage?” question is eliminated as well.
Traditional marriage ceremonies for those who are marrying for the second or third time can also be modified to include the children from previous marriages. Sometimes the children are even asked to make vows by the minister performing the ceremony. The minister might turn to the child and ask, “Do you take this man to be your stepfather?”, for example. Couples may opt for a very traditional wedding ceremony and celebration and add to it such things as a candle lighting ceremony or a communion ritual or they may choose to subtract things from it, including the giving and receiving of rings and the wedding ceremony will be considered ‘modified traditional’ but yet be uniquely their own.
The absolutely traditional wedding happens less and less frequently in today’s modern, mobile society. It makes one wonder whether ‘traditional’ might even become an obsolete word when linked with the word ‘weddings’. Maybe there isn’t even such a thing as a ‘traditional wedding’ any longer.
The modified traditional wedding is much more common today than the true traditional wedding.
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