First let’s go down memory lane…
Traditionally speaking, before a man and a woman could even fathom the idea of being united in holy matrimony, the suitor would ask the father of his intended for permission to visit and court his beloved. The parents of the courted would then agree with the suitor to set dates and times for visitation. The suitor would show up during the agreed upon visitation schedule, he would sit by “his girl” on the sofa as her bedroom was prohibited and a dishonorable place to be in before marriage.
The first visit would consist of dad asking the poor fellow the two stapled questions of the time… What are your intentions with my daughter and what do you have to offer? For the sake of the suitor’s life, the first question would best be answered with, ‘marriage sir!’ The second question was intended to know the financial and social situation of the suitor. In those days women (our grandmas or great-grandmas) would depend solely on their husband’s financial and social status and most daddies wanted nothing but the best for their little princesses!
Holding hands may or may have not been permissible and kissing was out of the question. Back then, some girls thought that a kiss could actually get them pregnant and talking about sexuality with the folks was taboo and completely out of the question. Going into marriage, being a virgin was a sign of honor for the bride and her family. If the love birds wanted to go for ice cream, the theater or a movie (probably a silent movie, just saying!) a chaperone would always accompany to protect the “goods”, and it would usually be the girl’s mother, an aunt or someone else trustworthy in the family.
Once the couple were ready for marriage, before even asking the girl sometimes, the suitor would ask his future father in-law for her hand in marriage. If the answer was yes, the future father in-law and son in-law would celebrate together, depending on their financial status with a cigar and perhaps a scotch or a fruit cocktail which became very popular during prohibition in the 1920’s.
All about traditional western wedding customs and ceremonies
Moving forward to the 21st century… even though there is a gender wage gap (sorry, couldn’t help myself!) women are now more independent, no longer needing a man’s financial and social status to navigate the world on their own, at least not in the western hemisphere. Therefore, a lot has changed when it comes to courtship and since we are all living in this century together, there is really no need for me to bore you with the differences, so let’s move forward to the traditional wedding ceremony.
In our current times a traditional wedding ceremony will depend on several factors such as culture, religious principles and the financial status of the couple. The average cost for wedding in the United States ranges in the upwards of $19,000 to about $33,000. Where did I get this information, you ask? Check it out here at CostofWedding.com, they also have a Wedding Cost Estimator which I found to be a very handy tool.
Traditionally and in the following order, the minister/officiant, groom and the best man will come in one by one through a side door and wait at the front of the room for the wedding court to make their way in through the front doors. The mothers and the groom’s father make their way in first, then the three bridesmaids (one by one), who are escorted by the grooms-men, walk in. Next is the matron of honor who, by herself, gracefully makes her way in, followed the by the flower girl first and then the ring bearer.
Finally the moment that all have been waiting for. The music starts, all attendees rise and turn to the main entrance doors, the beautiful bride gracefully pacing herself, with all eyes on her as she walks in accompanied by her father/companion. Her soon to be husband nervously awaits her, gazing at her in awe of her beauty and grandeur… waiting for her to slowly make her way in towards him and to forever be his.
The Ceremony Formation
Looking ahead and now seated, the guests can see the minister/officiant at the center of it all, the bride to their left and groom to their right. In a line formation as if forming to the side of the bride, first is her matron of honor followed by her bridesmaids and lastly the flower girl. To the side of the groom, first is his best man, followed by his grooms-men and finally the ring bearer.
Once the bride and groom have sealed their love with a kiss, everyone remains seated. Bride and groom walk their way out, acknowledging their guests with eye contact and smiles. They are then followed by the flower girl and not far behind her walks the ring bearer. Next to follow are the matron of honor with the best man, bridesmaids and grooms-men and last to exit, is the officiant/minister.
Once outside, the happy couple poses for pictures to then heads to their wedding reception to celebrate their nuptials.