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Wedding Rituals

The wedding is a bewildering array of events and people that have to run smoothly come what may Charlotte Ferrao makes it so simple to follow

On the day of the wedding, the groom sends a family member with the wedding gown and other accessories to the bride’s house to get the bride ready for the wedding. After the bride is dressed she receives blessings from her parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, friends and neighbours.
Similarly at the groom’s house, the Best Man helps the groom to dress and he places a flower in his buttonhole. Usually the groom’s buttonhole flower also appears in the bouquet of the bride as a declaration of his love.

The groom also sends the wedding car to collect the bride and waits for her outside the church. When the bride arrives, the best man welcomes her with a kiss on the cheek and hands her a bouquet of flowers.

The Best Man is assigned to protect the groom from bad luck. It is his duty to see that the groom begins his journey to the church and does not return for any reason since that is believed to bring bad luck. He also gives the groom a small mascot or lucky charm to keep in his pocket on the wedding day. The Best Man is accompanied by the bridesmaids.

Bridesmaids are very important for the welfare of the bride. Their presence is meant to confuse the evil spirits. In ancient Egypt, it was believed that evil spirits would ruin the good mood of the wedding celebrations with trickery and black magic. The bridesmaid’s main function were to dress as extravagantly as the bride to confuse these evil spirits.

The wedding Mass

The priest begins the ceremony by welcoming the bridal couple into the church and offers them his good wishes. The wedding mass begins with a hymn and the bridal couple walks down the aisle with the wedding procession preceded by little flower girls and pageboys. These children are considered an important part of our lives and they are a symbol of innocence and unconditional love. They represent the future. Children are considered good fortune at a wedding. The bridal couple, the bridesmaids, Best Man and close family members, follow the children.

Seating arrangement: The bride should be seated on the left of the groom so that the groom can protect her. In earlier times, the groom carried a sword on his right. The groom’s family and friends sit on the right side of the church and bride’s family on the left.

The Nuptials

During this rite, the priest asks a few questions that the couple must answer honestly. He asks them if they have come of their own free will to give themselves to each other in marriage. They must also answer in the affirmative when asked if they will honour and love each other as husband and wife for the rest of lives; if they will accept children from God lovingly and bring them up according to the law of Christ and His Church.

The solemn Promise

The priest guides the couple through this rite. He tells them to join their right hands and declare their consent before God and His Church. Having done this, the couple takes their wedding vows. They promise, individually, to be true to the other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. They promise to love, respect and honour each other all the days of their lives. The priest blesses the couple, joining them together in marriage, and says, “May the Lord in his goodness strengthen your consent and fill you both with his blessing. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

Blessing and Exchange of Rings

The priest blesses the wedding rings so that the couple will have a deep faith in each other, do the Lord’s Will and always live together in peace, goodwill and love. The bride and groom exchange rings with a promise of unconditional love and fidelity.

Nuptial Blessing

Before the Recessional ceremony, the couple kneels before the altar and the priest prays over them, invoking God’s blessings. The bride and the groom then offer a thanksgiving prayer to God and ask for His blessings. The priest concludes the ceremony with a final blessing followed by a prayer. The congregation joins in to bless the couple. The priest and the couple sign the church register that serves as valid legal document of marriage. A copy of this document is sent to the registrar of marriages.

The Recessional

The marriage procession led by the bride and groom, walk down the aisle and steps out of the church while the musician plays the tune of the recessional hymn as they walk.

Post-Wedding

The Reception

The Master of Ceremonies leads the bridal couple into the reception hall, to the accompaniment of music. They are welcomed by all with a shower of confetti. Confetti is Italian for sweets, which in Italy, are sprinkled over the couple as they emerge from church. In the same way we use paper confetti. Raisins and nuts may also be used. Confetti is also meant to promote fertility. One could also toss seeds, leaves, grass, snowflakes butterflies and petals from first date, etc….

The Master of Ceremonies escorts the couple around the hall and leads them to the centre where the wedding cake is placed.

Cutting of the cake

The couple cuts the wedding cake and feeds each other a bite of the first slice. Cutting of the cake signifies sharing their life and feeding cake to each other symbolizes couple’s vows to nourish and care for each other. It was the tradition to pile several small cakes, one on top of the other, as high as they could, and the bride and groom would kiss over the tower and try not to knock it down. If they were successful, it meant a lifetime of prosperity for the happy couple. Today’s three-tiered wedding cake is based on the unusual shape of the spire of Saint Bride’s Church in London. The wedding cake is flat and round and contains fruit and nuts which symbolize fertility.

Toast

After cutting of the wedding cake the champagne is popped (uncorked) and served. A toast is raised to the bride and groom by the Best Man, or by a close friend of the couple. The Best Man’s toast may be brief and sentimental or it can be more detailed and personal, often amusing and anecdotal. Whatever the case, it should reflect the hope and happiness the couple has for the future. At the end of the toast, the best man raises his glass and toasts the bride and groom. The guests will then raise their glasses and join in the toast.

The bride and groom then reply to the toast by thanking the family and friends for sharing this special day with them and for their help and support in planning the wedding. Then the parents, wedding party or any relatives can toast the bride and groom.

The Wedding March

The bridal couple leads the Bridal Special followed by the Best Man and bridesmaids, then parents, relatives and friends. The Master of Ceremonies takes them around the hall in various formations finally reaching the centre of the hall, while everyone else forming a circle around the bridal couple. The band plays an appropriate tune for the couple’s first dance as husband and wife. The party goes on with everyone joining in the couple’s joy and happiness.

Before the meal is served it is customary to have a priest or a layperson say a prayer.

Throwing of bridal bouquet

The Master of Ceremonies requests all single woman to gather and form a circle with the bride at the centre. The bride is blindfolded and she throws the bouquet. The single woman who catches the bouquet is believed to be the next to marry.

Lifting of the couple

The bride and groom are been lifted by their friends usually to the tune of “He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” and carried around the hall until they are finally brought close to each other. They kiss at the end symbolizing the start of their journey through life together.