By in Family

How to Get Married

When you go to a , it's hard not to compare it to your own wedding or other you've been to or heard about. Wedding traditions also change over the years. Today people in America are no longer expected to fit into a tradition, whereas fifty years ago couples normally eloped, had a wedding in a place of worship, or had simple weddings before a judge. Some people also rented clubs or other private buildings like hotels where they could marry and have the in one place.

When I was growing up, most people I knew had church weddings followed by a simple cake and punch or coffee reception in the church fellowship hall. My own parents had eloped to save money. My brother and I were married in the same church where we grew up. Our weddings were traditional Protestant.

Most church weddings were formal, with attendants, and the bride wore a white gown, often long, with a train. She often covered her face with a thin veil and held a bouquet. In some ceremonies the church was decorated with candles, lit by candle lighters before the service. In others this was not a custom. Often there was special music while the guests were waiting for the bridal party to come in.

When the wedding began, often a young girl known as the flower girl, would be one of the first down the aisle, scattering flower petals as she walked. A young boy known as the ring bearer often carried the rings down the aisle, too. Then came the bridesmaids, followed by the maid of honor, and lastly the bride would be escorted down the aisle by her father and everyone would stand until after the invocation and the instruction from the minister to sit.

I took the photo.

Other parts of the service might be special readings from the Bible or of poems that had special meaning for the couple, more special music, and maybe a sermon or even Holy Communion for the couple. What was included was decided by the minister and the couple, but toward the end the couple would exchange their vows and be pronounced man and wife and the husband would kiss his wife and they would join hands and march down the aisle to start their new life together. I have described what was a typical Protestant wedding in the 1950's and many weddings still take this form.

I took the photo.

Back then a wedding was almost like a performance. It had to be rehearsed. A wedding consultant or hostess provided by the church would walk each member of the wedding party through what they needed to do. The bridesmaids and groomsmen were told where to stand and how to march down the aisle or otherwise arrive at their places. Likewise the bride and groom were told what they had to do when. Then everyone practiced the movements at least a couple of times until they were confident of what to do.

The consultant would also be at the wedding to let people know when it was time to start down the aisle. The minister took over that function once everyone was in place. After the rehearsal, the bride's parents usually fed the wedding party a rehearsal dinner. After the wedding, there was a reception that could range from a simple one like mine in the church fellowship hall to a sit down dinner in a hotel, club, garden, or anywhere else that seemed good to the couple.

The more elaborate the reception, the greater the number of speeches and toasts that are given by members of the wedding party. If the reception includes a dinner, it may be followed by dancing. Usually the new couple shares the first dance. Then the bride and her father dance, followed by the groom and his mother. After that, everyone else can take to the dance floor.

I took the photo.

Near the end of the reception the first piece of wedding cake is cut by the bride, and the bride and groom feed each other the first bite. Before the couple leaves, the bride stands with her face turned away from a line of single women which has formed behind her and she tosses her bouquet backwards. Whichever woman catches it is supposed to be the next one to marry.

These things may be done differently in Catholic and Jewish weddings and those of other faiths. Secular weddings usually leave out the specifically religious aspects, but still may include inspirational readings and special music that appeals to the couple.

Over the years, many weddings have become less traditional. Some couples marry right on the beach, some in hot air balloons, and I've even heard of some happening under water. To each his own. I guess the sky's the limit. One of my best friends had her wedding in a church but her reception was in the garden of a family friend. I loved the string quartet that played the entire time.

My nephew's wedding was a cross between traditional and untraditional. The bride wore a long white gown and her dad walked her down the aisle. The groom's brother served him as best man, but I was surprised that the bride had no attendants at all. The best man is reading a Scripture in the photo below. I go lousy photos of the ceremony because I was seated off to the side in the family row and couldn't see any faces but the bride's.

I took the photo.

The simplicity of the wedding made for a short rehearsal and the wedding itself seemed more natural and less of a performance.

I took the photo.

The ceremony itself was fairly traditional with a minister officiating, but his sermon was was so short it was easy to miss. The vows were very modern. The wedding ceremony was over almost as soon as it began. The reception lasted for hours. I had to leave early, so I don't know if the bride tossed her bouquet or not. But they did cut the cake and feed each other.

I took the photo.

When I complimented Bobby later on the simplicity and naturalness of his wedding, he replied that they just wanted it to reflect who they were – not just be a copy of what others do. And it was very appropriate for them.

So I would advise every couple who wants to get married to ask themselves whether the wedding they are planning reflects who they are – their values, budget, the setting they feel at home in, etc. The idea isn't to put on a show you star in, but to join your lives. Make it meaningful to you and pleasant for your guests. They don't need to be impressed. They are just there to help you celebrate the special occasion of your marriage.

Pictures and content are original and may not be used without permission, B. Radisavljevic, Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved

Image Credit » I took the photo

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bestwriter wrote on October 21, 2014, 4:33 AM

I missed that tiara or the veil that a bride normally wears but as the groom told you they wanted to be different. And as for following traditions it is fun really.

melody23 wrote on October 21, 2014, 11:51 AM

Beautiful photos! When we first got engaged my wedding became some sort of spectacle! We were still talking to his mother at the time and she is the type of person who likes to be the centre of attention and she took great pleasure in telling everyone all about this grand wedding we were going to have with all this fancy stuff and huge hats, she even took to inviting people, and this was within a few days of our engagement. Of course she expected us to pay for everything that she wanted, she even wanted to pick my dress! Well she didn't exactly say that she wanted to pick it but she was very suggestive of what she thought would look good on me. Now a big wedding was never something we wanted, and I am not one of those girly girls who dreams of wearing the big white floaty dress. Basically everything she wanted for us was the opposite of what we wanted, and way more than we could afford. So we decided to wait till I was finished uni and go away somewhere to get married, a sort of celebration of my new career and our new married life. Mind you we don't have any money saved for it as yet and theres only ten months of uni left so we had better start saving!

I think your nephew and his new wife have the right idea, having something that suits them as an individual couple and from the photos it looks like they had a beautiful day for it.

Scorpie wrote on October 21, 2014, 11:52 AM

I was drugged and taken down to city hall where I had to say a few words in front of some city worker.

Linda-From-US wrote on October 21, 2014, 12:33 PM

I always loved hearing my mom talk about her wedding. It was a really small one. It was at her mother's house. The only guests were my two grandmother's. I thought that it was really sweet by the fact of how small it was.

Feisty56 wrote on October 21, 2014, 3:28 PM

Your nephew's wedding looks elegant even in it simplicity.

BarbRad wrote on October 21, 2014, 5:43 PM

Maybe it was unnecessary. This wedding was making legal a reality that had existed for at least two years. So another tradition was also broken here.

BarbRad wrote on October 21, 2014, 5:45 PM

It was a beautiful day and it did suit them perfectly. And I think you made the right choice, too.

BarbRad wrote on October 21, 2014, 5:45 PM

Shame on you.

BarbRad wrote on October 21, 2014, 5:47 PM

As I once read in an old picture book, bigger is not always better. Being surrounded with just those who love you is often best.

BarbRad wrote on October 21, 2014, 5:48 PM

It had it's own kind of elegance. How can you beat the ocean and the sunset as a backdrop?

melody23 wrote on October 21, 2014, 6:10 PM

I absolutely think we have done the right thing, especially with everything that's happened in the five years or so since we got engaged. I did expect her to be a bit over the top because she only has sons and I am the first daughter in law and actually neither of his brothers was even dating anyone at that time, so I became the daughter she always wanted to dress up etc, only problem was I was 23 at the time and didn't really appreciate her attempts to dress me up.

Scorpie wrote on October 21, 2014, 8:47 PM

Well that was the accurate boiled-down version.

Jerry_Walch wrote on October 21, 2014, 8:49 PM

Ditto Feisty's comments. Great pictures too !

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on October 21, 2014, 8:51 PM

Over the last never mind how many years since I played my first wedding, weddings seem to have gotten simpler while the receptions have gotten more extravagant. It used to just be wedding cake, nuts, mints, and punch. Now it's an entire buffet of finger foods if not an entire sit-down meal. Simpler is better in my preference. Save all that money for something tangible, like a house or furniture--or as late as people are getting married nowadays, for retirement.

BarbRad wrote on October 22, 2014, 1:03 AM

It's hard to select only a few of the hundred or more photos I took at the wedding and an equal number at the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

BarbRad wrote on October 22, 2014, 1:05 AM

I agree. I had a simple church wedding because I didn't want to put my parents to a lot of expense.

JanetJenson wrote on October 22, 2014, 1:34 AM

Personally, I am a proponent of just getting married. I just don't see the purpose of having everyone spend a whole lot of money on any kind of ceremony, whether it be a wedding, graduation, funeral, or what. When there are starving people in the world I don't see the point of lavish banquets either.

AliCanary wrote on October 22, 2014, 4:34 PM

My husband and I had a civil ceremony and also a church wedding (which was actually a renewal of vows since it followed the civil ceremony). So, I've been married twice to the same guy--just like Elizabeth Taylor, except way more successfully ;)

BarbRad wrote on October 24, 2014, 5:06 PM

You have a point, but I do believe in celebrating marriage, simply, with family and close friends.

BarbRad wrote on October 24, 2014, 5:08 PM

And you didn't have all that previous experience, either.

AliCanary wrote on October 25, 2014, 12:05 AM

I actually do have a very distant connection to La Liz, for what it's worth--Eddie Fisher once made an appearance at my art school when my mother was in attendance there, and he "accidentally" fell into our courtyard fountain (Mom said it was a pretty obvious publicity stunt). I don't know whether he was married to Liz at the time, though--this was early 50s, I think.