Comparing Religious Weddings

Comparing Religious Weddings

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Your Typical Christian Wedding includes…

• Usually inside a church
• Hall may be used
• A traditional white gown/ ball dress is worn by the bride. She usually has a vial and carries a bouquet of flowers in her hand.
• The groom would wear a black and white tuxedo with either a bow or a tie.
The Procession
• Seating of the Parents
Having the support and involvement of parents and grandparents in the ceremony brings a special blessing to the couple and also expresses honor to the previous generations of marriage unions.
The processional music begins with the seating of the honored guests:
o Seating of the Groom's grandmother
o Seating of the Bride's grandmother
o Seating of the Groom's parents
o Seating of the Bride's mother
• Bridal Processional Begins
o Minister and Groom enter usually from stage right. If the Groomsmen are not escorting the Bridesmaids down the aisle to the altar, they also enter together with the Minister and Groom.
o Bridesmaids enter, usually down the center aisle, one at a time. If the Groomsmen are escorting the Bridesmaids, they enter together.
o Maid or Matron of Honor enters. If she is being escorted by the Best Man, they enter together.
o Flower Girl and Ring Bearer enter.
• Wedding March Begins
The Bride and her father enters. Typically the Bride's mother will stand as a signal for all of the guests to stand. Sometimes the Minister will announce, "All rise for the Bride."
• Opening Remarks - "The Call to Worship"
• The Opening Prayer
• Congregation is Seated
• Giving Away of the Bride
• Worship Song, Hymn or Solo
• The Charge to Bride and Groom
• The Pledge
• Wedding Vows
• Exchanging of the Rings
• Lighting of the Unity Candle
• The Pronouncement
• Communion
Many times couples will incorporate Communion into the wedding ceremony, making Communion their very first act as a married couple.
• The Closing Prayer
• And finally: "You may now kiss the bride!"
• Reception
After this ceremony is the Reception

• Any type of Christian (Western) food is acceptable. However the Wedding Cake is by far the most important and anticipated food.
• Great care is taken in its preparation- it is white.

Some interesting extras
• Often the bride's bouquet is thrown (by the bride turning away from that direction) into a crowd of female (unmarried) ladies and the one that gets it will be wedded next, according to the tale).

Your typical Islam/ Muslim wedding includes…

• Usually in a hall.


The Bride's Dress
• The covering of the head is done as a sign of respect.
• The ghunghat, which is equivalent to the veil of the Christian bride, is worn by the bride.

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(usually a cherry/ reddish colour)
• The chunri, (draping) worn with a ghaghra choli, is tucked in at the waist on one end, pleated beautifully around the body and draped delicately over one shoulder.
The Groom's Dress
• They wear a safa with its flowing tail-end.
• White flowers can be tied in suspended strings over the forehead, called sehra.
• The groom may wear a white silk brocade suit, sword and turban as his wedding outfit.

The Wedding Ceremony
The meher, (a compulsory amount of money given to the bride's family by the groom's family) is decided upon by elders of both families.
• Before reading a selected piece from the Koran (the holy book of the Muslims), witnessed by two male persons and a lawyer or eminent person, the priest will ask the bride if she is happy with the arrangement and whether she agrees to marry the groom. The boy is asked the same.
• The marriage is registered (nikaahnama). The groom is then taken to the women's section. He gives money and gifts to the sisters of the bride. He receives the blessings of the elder woman and offers his salutations.
• After their first meal, the groom and bride are seated together. The Holy Koran is kept between them and they are allowed to see each other through reflection by mirrors.
• The groom spends the night in a separate room at the girl's house with a younger brother. In the morning he is given clothes, money and gifts by the bride's parents. That afternoon his relatives come to accompany the bridal couple to their home.
• The Rukhsat Ceremony
The farewell by the father of the bride: he gives her hand to her husband and asks him to protect always her.
• Gifts are exchanged between the bride's family and the groom's family before and after the wedding.
• Walima- The Weddding Reception
• Dinner is served separately to the women and men. The groom's family feasts separately.
• Dried dates and a sweet dish are served to the guests. The dates have religious significance.

Some other interesting extras
• Muslim weddings are considered to be the biggest ie. The guest list is the longest sometimes inviting over 200 guests!

Your typical Hindu Wedding includes…

• A hall
• Or a temple
• This would then be meticulously decorated with lighting, flowers and stage décor.
• The actually ceremony takes place on the hall stage and the guests sit at tables placed across the hall and are very beautifully decorated.
The bride:
• All Indian brides wear a ‘dress' called a sari.
• Lots of draping is also done on this dress.
• The colours are always bright and colourful usually soft colours like oranges, yellows and reds.
• Groom is accompanied first by his close family and then the bride.
• The priests recites from the Bagwan Githa (hindu holy book) and some rituals are done in Hindi (Indian language). The rings are then presented and placed on each finger.
• After such formalities the bride and groom stand in a row on the aisle and are showered with blessings and congrats by the guests.

• Any type of Indian Cuisine is acceptable.
• Biryani and Dhall being the most prevalent at weddings.
• Desserts also have no special specifications; even ice-cream may be served.
• Usually there is also tea, coffee and a variety of Indian savouries, including sweetmeats.

Some interesting extras

• After the wedding the Bride and Groom usually play ‘games' with their rings for example, placing the rings on a plate with dessert all over it and both trying to grab it before the other.

Your typical Jewish wedding includes…

• Usually a synagogue, however according to some scriptures it may take place anywhere outside too (if you want to).
• Jews are not strict about this but a bride would have to cover her shoulders.
• The groom would wear a head covering, usually a skullcap (known as a yumulca, kippah), and all the other male guests too.

In traditional Jewish literature marriage is actually called kiddushin, which translates as "sanctification" or "dedication."
• shidduch
The very first stage of a traditional Jewish marriage is the shidduch, or matchmaking. This means that the process of finding a partner is not haphazard or based on purely external aspects.
• vort - engagement
When the families have met, and the young couple have decided to marry, the families usually announce the occasion with a small reception, known as a vort.
• ketuvah
At the reception itself, the first thing usually done is the completion, signing and witnessing of the ketuvah, or marriage contract.
• bedekin
After the signing of the ketuvah, which is usually accompanied by some light snacks and some hard liquor for the traditional lechaims (the Jewish salute when drinking, which means, "to life!"), the groom, together with his father and future father-in-law, is accompanied by musicians and the male guests to the room where the bride is receiving her guests.
• Chuppah
• The next stage is known as the chuppah, or "canopy." (A decorated piece of cloth held aloft as a symbolic home for the new couple).
• Kiddushin
The groom, now takes a plain gold ring and places it on the finger of the bride.
• sheva brachos
After this, the sheva brachos, or seven blessings, are recited, and given to various people the families wish to honor. The blessings are also recited over a full cup of wine and the groom breaks a glass by stamping on it.
• cheder yichud
Now that the couple are married they are accompanied by dancing guests to the "the room of privacy."

• Light snacks and some hard liquor for the traditional lechaims.
• Any type of Jewish food is acceptable as there is a wide variety to choose from (with the ruling of meat and dairy never being mixed).

Some other interesting extras
• According to Jewish law physical contact is not allowed between a man and a woman until they are married (except for certain close relatives), and also they may not be alone together in a closed room or secluded area. This helps to ensure that one's choice of partner will be based on the intellect and emotion as opposed to physical desire alone.

Your typical Buddhist wedding includes…

• The wedding ceremony itself takes place inside a temple (namely a Buddhist temple).

Many however, choose the alternative of a blessing from the Bhikkhu or Lama before or after a civil wedding.
Groom's Attire
A Buddhist groom also wears a Bhaku, one that is with sleeves. The bhaku reaches to just above the ankles. The bhaku looks beautiful as it is made of brocade and is worn with a waistcoat called Lajha.

• With a temple marriage being a social occasion rather than a religious one, there is no set pattern for how the day is planned.
• You could choose to celebrate the blessing in any way you see fit, as long as you respect the rules of the temple.
• Many however, choose the alternative of a blessing from the Bhikkhu or Lama before or after a civil wedding.

• Any type of vegetarian food is acceptable.

Some other interesting extras
• Buddhism is (by lots of Buddhists) classed as being a faith and not a religion and therefore the concept of marriage is not considered relevant to the Buddhist faith.


Spoken information:
• Friends who are Christian and Muslim
• Family members


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