One of the really great parts about being Orange County Wedding Photographers is the opportunity to photograph so many different types of weddings. Orange County, as well as Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California, is full of diverse people with different backgrounds and cultures. Obviously, the type of wedding ceremony and reception that we have had the opportunity to witness the most often are Christian Weddings, and all the traditions that come along with them. Three16 Photography honors the Christian Wedding Ceremony, as well as Christian Wedding Traditions throughout the world.
We truly appreciate the opportunities we get when we can witness and be part of their special day. It’s very special. One might wonder about where all the various traditions come from in a Christian Wedding. So, we thought we would introduce you to a little of history and more modern traditions of the Christian Wedding.
With so many of today’s weddings becoming more modernized and away from old traditions, much of what takes place in the wedding still stems from those traditions, even if they have been a bit altered for today’s society. With all the various ethnic, cultural and religious affiliates, wedding traditions of the Christian faith cannot be spared, although it might be the closest to the old traditional ceremonies compared to others.
The marriage between Christians is often a spiritual event and is not taken lightly. Although in today’s society it may not always seem to be that way. However, many Christians follow the sanctity of a Christian marriage and many of the traditions that come with it as it is portrayed in the Holy Bible.
For the most part a Christian wedding is very much the same throughout history, but with a few tweaks here and there that might match with their personalities, preferences or the latest Pinterest craze. Other than that, the ceremony follows much of what tradition is.
Prior to the bride entering, there could a variety of ways things could go. The groom and his groomsmen may already be at the altar, the groomsmen may escort the bridesmaids with only the groom waiting at the altar, or any other preference.
Then it’s time for the bride. Most often the bride will walk down the aisle with her father as he will be giving her away. She is dressed in white which would resemble purity. The officiant will then begin the wedding. The order in which the wedding will go will either depend on the bride and groom or the officiant may have a predetermined plan based on their church. Some ceremonies may include a private moment for communion, they may do the lighting of the unity candle, or there may be readings from friends or family members.
The key to the whole wedding is the actual vows and exchanging of the rings. This is when the couple becomes married and not when the officiant announces Mr. and Mrs. Last Name.
Some other Christian Wedding Traditions that take place during the ceremony and/or reception include:
• Prior to Queen Victoria of England wearing her white wedding dress, a typical wedding dress was the bride’s Sunday best. However, in 1840 Queen Victoria opted to wear a new white dress for her wedding. The world was in awe and began to follow her lead. It wasn’t until later that the white dress became a symbol of purity as the bride, and groom, were supposed to be virgins, thus pure for each other, until their wedding night. Just a fun note, the groom’s tuxedo didn’t become standard until President Teddy Roosevelt wore a tux making it fashionable.
• Back in the day, it was common for the entire bridal party to walk to the church together prior to the ceremony. Unfortunately, as they walked, many that passed them would put a curse on the bride and groom. To overcome this, the wedding party would dress alike so that people did not know which one the bride was and which one was the groom. Of course, this doesn’t happen in today’s society, as now we dress alike for the wedding’s pageantry.
• In the olden days, many people felt that evil spirits were always around and were trying to ruin weddings. Therefore, one of the ways the bride and groom would combat that is with a bouquet of flowers. The flowers were not like today. They were usually the combination of fresh herbs that had strong scents, such as garlic and thyme. Today, flowers are more for decoration that symbolizes a new life together.
• It is believed by many that the reason that the wedding ring going on the third finger is due to a vein that runs from that finger directly to our hearts, thus the name, “vein of love.” But did you know that prior to the fifth century that the ring was placed on the index finger? Truth.
• The purpose for the bride standing on the groom’s left during the ceremony dates back to a time where it was not uncommon that people would try to rescue the bride from the groom and from getting married. This was usually done in the event others felt she had been taken or if others had a liking towards her. Therefore, since most grooms were right-handed, they would need their right hand available to pull out his sword and fend the intruders off. What is his left hand doing? Holding his bride’s hand of course.
There are much more than these older and newer Christian Wedding Traditions than what is seen here. Are you still not sure what to include in your ceremony? Back then, there were reasons behind everything in a Christian Wedding. Today, the strings are a little less stringent and couples can pretty much put their own personal touches to the actual ceremony and reception. However, for a Christian wedding, it’s all about the purpose of the wedding and marriage, and it’s ties back to God, Jesus and the principles that are written in the Bible.