A wedding is an occasion where two individuals are joined legally in matrimony. The wedding itself typically takes place in a church or other religious building, is celebrated with customary music, cakes, food, and drinks, and includes a formal exchange of wedding vows between the two engaged partners. Typical wedding customs and traditions vary widely between different cultures, religious groups, religious traditions, and states, as well as between individuals from different countries. While the exact customs and traditions that represent each country differ significantly, there are some general practices shared by most all weddings.
The wedding ceremony is marked by a bride’s walk down the aisle accompanied by her groom. In some parts of the world, the bride and groom have their wedding ceremony under the observation of a priest or pastor. The bride and groom then make their way to the altar where they make their wedding vows to each other before presenting them with each other’s wedding rings. At this point, guests may not give wedding gifts to the newlyweds. This custom varies widely from one culture to another, although it is always done with the wedding ceremony as the focus.
In most traditional Jewish weddings, the groom makes the first move toward the altar after the bride, kneeling down while offering his right hand to the bride. After the groom has presented his ring, he steps aside to allow the bride to kneel before him. The rabbi then reads the Jewish marriage contract, reading the Hebrew word that begins, “Let us make this wedding contract between ourselves and our spouse according to the commandments of the bible.” Then, the couple enters into the presence of the holy tablets and place their right hands together, saying, “We now fulfill the commandments of God.”
In the Islamic tradition, the bride and groom take their seats at the head table, facing each other, and facing the qward, which is lit during the wedding ceremony. Guests will clap, giving the guests a signal that the marriage has begun. The bridegroom then extends his hands to give his blessing to the bride and says, “O God, You have chosen him for your partner and sanctified him with this ring, so produce this wealth for him and have him love until death do us part.” The couple then sits in front of the qward, which is slowly lit and a circle of light surrounds them. The lighting of the circle signifies the start of the marriage. After lighting the circle, the Rabbi recites the qward: “This ring which you are to put on your left hand, in the right hand, is the ring which you will put on your heart until death do you part.”
Jewish readings are very important to the Jewish wedding vows. The readings vary depending on the region, but all of the readings focus on the same ideas. The wedding vows are recited in a special manner, and they must be spoken straight from the heart. No outside noises or comments should be made during the recitation of the vows. The rabbi reads the vows to the couple, after which the readings are recited.
The wedding ceremony itself is very special. The wedding guests dress up in their best attire, which is kaddish, which is Jewish traditional when it comes to the wedding. The bride wears a wedding veil, which comes in a wide variety of colors and designs. Guests gather around the altar for the bride and groom’s reading of the Torah, which is considered a symbolic act before the reception. Jewish customs surround the readings of the ceremony itself and they conclude with the blessings of God.