Christian Marriage Ceremony
The fanfare of the Christian
marriage begins with the engagement party. Engagement
parties usually given by the bride's family often precede
the Christian marriages. The "bridal shower", an informal
party is organized by the bride's family or friends
and consists of only women. Similarly, the groom enjoys
the bachelor party or the stage party, which is hosted
by him, the ushers or a friend. It takes place just
before the wedding.
Tradition demands that the
bridegroom reach the church first and await his bride
there. The best man - usually from the bridegroom's
party - greets the bride with a kiss and her wedding
bouquet. The procession to the church is usually in
one of these ways:
Priest may greet the couple at the door of the church,
bless them, and lead them in; or
bride may proceed up to her waiting bridegroom at the
altar on her father's arm; or
bride may walk in alone to her bridegroom at the altar,
preceded by first the pageboys and flower maids, the
bridesmaid - best man pairs, and followed by a single
bridesmaid carrying her veil.
The bridal couple kneels before the altar. While the
basic celebration of the mass is as usual, there is
usually a mention by the priest about the couple who
intend to marry and that both of them should treat each
other with love and respect. The nuptial section of
the mass is well known. In the presence of two witnesses
from either side, the groom and the bride declare their
intention to take each other as man and wife with the
famous lines "I, Y, take you, X, to be my lawfully wedded
wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and
in bad, in sickness and in health till death do us part,"
with bride repeating the phrases. The best man usually
carries both the rings, which are handed over to the
priest who then asks the couple to put them on each
other's fourth finger of the left hand. This done, he
blesses the couple and declares them as man and wife.
And then we have the traditional wedding kiss.
After the marriage ceremony
the bridal couple proceed either home or to a studio
for a photographic session, or straight to the reception
to celebrate their wedding.