The planning and execution of the most traditional of weddings is fraught with pitfalls. It is a time when the tensions and frustrations of planning such a once-in-a-lifetime event can be really hard on the nerves…not to mention relationships….and bank accounts.
Weddings and the planning of weddings has been the subject of many movies and stage plays through the years. The movie that comes to mind is “Father of the Bride”. We have all laughed our way through that one more than once.
The Traditional Wedding
What is considered a ‘traditional wedding’ is determined by where you are in the world, what religious requirements are deemed acceptable, and, most importantly, what the traditions are for your ethnic and religious background. The traditional American wedding and the preparations for it may have a few variations but generally the traditional American wedding follows certain
The couple or more often the bride-to-be’s parents announce the engagement and approaching marriage of their daughter in the local newspaper or at a party that they host. At least, that used to be considered very traditional. It doesn’t happen very often today except, perhaps, in very high society settings. The bride’s parents (read mother) hires a wedding planner who attends to all of the details of the wedding event. The wedding planner arranges for the church or synagogue and the person who will preside over the wedding ceremony. They will do this in keeping with the wishes of the bride and her family most often. The wedding planner will determine the wishes of the bride and assist in choosing, buying and alternations of dresses and tuxedoes for the bridesmaids and the groomsmen.
The first thing on the wedding planner’s list is to help the bride and her mother choose the wedding invitations that will be mailed and assist in making the list of people who will be invited. The wedding planner will make all of the arrangements for the music and musicians needed for the wedding ceremony itself, as well as, the music and musicians needed for the reception that follows the ceremony. The flowers for the church and the corsages for the women and boutonnières for the men will also be ordered by the wedding planner.
The wedding planner will, in addition, arrange for a place where the wedding reception will be held and for all of the food and drinks that will be served at the reception. The wedding begins with the traditional “Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin” (Richard Wagner) (also known as “Here Comes the Bride”) being played on an organ. The flower girl walks down the aisle first scattering rose petals. She is followed by the bridesmaids escorted by the groomsmen. The minister or other officiating person and the groom are waiting at the alter. The maid of honor and the best man are the last down the aisle. Sometimes the groom and groomsmen come in with the groom rather than escorting the bridesmaids down the aisle. Both methods are considered ‘traditional’.
The bride, who is dressed in a white gown and veil, is the last to walk down the aisle on the arm of her father. The minister then starts the traditional ceremony with the words, “Dearly beloved, we are gathered together to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony. Who gives this woman in marriage?” The bride’s father responds with either, “I do” or “Her mother and I do”. Both responses are considered ‘traditional’. The wedding ceremony proceeds along absolutely traditional lines. The traditional vows are made and rings are exchanged. Finally, the minister says, “I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.” The couple goes up the aisle together and the ceremony is complete. The guests are then usually kept waiting while the photographer takes all of the traditional pictures of the wedding party.
The traditional reception follows the traditional wedding ceremony. Receptions can consist only of wedding cake and punch or be sit-down dinners and include an orchestra. The cost of a traditional wedding can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars. Traditionally the bride’s family pays the entire cost of the wedding. The groom or his family pays for the rehearsal dinner. The entire wedding party is provided with a meal after the rehearsal. This can be as elaborate of as simple as is deemed acceptable…by the bride’s family.
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