Christians the world over celebrate their weddings, incorporating a little bit of the customs and traditions of the land of their birth into the main ceremonies. Though the basic set of rituals remain the same, regional varieties can be observed based on communities.
Pre-wedding rituals consists primarily of engagement ceremony where they exchange the engagement rings. The engagement party could be a formal dinner, a buffet lunch or a cocktail party. Public declaration of the wedding is an essential element of Christian wedding. A notice is announced in the church where the wedding is scheduled to take place. 3 weeks prior to the actual event, the bans will be read out. Days before the wedding there is an informal hen party known as the bridal shower which is an all-female gathering at the bride’s place and rejoice by singing and dancing. Just like this there is the bachelor’s party by the groom wherein he celebrates his last night as a bachelor. It is mostly celebrated to have fun and enjoyment with his close friends.
The wedding rituals begin by welcoming the bride when she arrives at the church. Bride usually wears a white or off white saree or gown. The brides maids and the flower girls even have their attire matching to the bridal wear. The groom’s sisters and cousin carry decorated trays containing the wedding saree, the veil, a bible and the wedding ring. The couple walks down the aisle and proceeds for the main ceremony. The priest welcomes them and then begins the wedding mass with hymns and selected reading from the bible. The next most important ritual is the blessings and exchange of wedding rings and marriage vows by the couple. The groom ties a Thaali around the bride’s neck, he also gifts her with the traditional saree ( Manthrakodi). The couple make solemn promise to stay together in thick and thin. A Christian wedding ceremony comes to an end with the final blessings of the priest. Finally the newlywed couple signs the register and walk down the aisle. And next is the grand wedding reception. This is basically a party thrown as a celebration of the wedding. They have their cousins and relatives for the event blessing them and wishing them the best for their life ahead. The newly wed is welcomed by all with huge pomp. Wedding march and confetti shower is a usual scene. The couple cut a wedding cake which they both share a bite after which they share a toast. Christian wedding is all about expression of worship, reflecting joy, celebration, community, respect, dignity and love.
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