In a traditional wedding, the entire wedding party is referred to as the wedding party. The bridal party usually consists of the bride, usually including her mother, grandmother and sister, and other supportive family members such as aunts, cousins, and friends. The groom is also accompanied by his best man and the groom's groomsmen. Typically the bride and groom will form a royal wedding party, which is not to be confused with a civil wedding party.
Civil weddings are ceremonies in which the bride and groom declare their intent to marry before a judge or some other legally authorized authority. The couple then enters into a contract with their attorneys, which is recorded in writing. Once the papers have been signed, the marriage license is then issued by the county clerk to both parties. Civil weddings may not have an officiator, although it is more common for one to perform the ceremony anyway. Civil weddings typically last about three days, although they can be shorter or longer than this.
Formal weddings are ceremonies in which the bride and groom formally invite guests to join them in matrimony. At the start of the event, a date is set, for which the guests are asked to arrive at least thirty minutes prior to the actual ceremony. Once everyone has arrived, announcements are made regarding the time and place of the event. A band plays wedding music, the bride opens her bouquet and walks down the aisle, while the groom appears in front of the bride and fights a duel with her sword. Once the sword is sheathed, they proceed to walk back up the aisle to meet each other and kiss each other.
Following the bride and groom's wedding ceremony, there is usually a day of festivities known as the bridal shower, where the guest overflow onto the stage, often clapping their hands and cheering. In the United States, this is usually held within the month of June, while in other countries, such as Japan, it can take place anytime between March and May. Bridal showers are a good opportunity for the bride and groom to get together and give one another gifts, and is also a time when the bride is showered with compliments. Bridesmaids and groomsmen also receive gifts. Bridal parties are truly a group of sisters who come together to celebrate the beginning of a new life together.
After the bridal shower, the bridal couple will hold their own wedding reception. This can either be held in a hotel or outside, under a tent, which will depend on the weather. There are usually a band, which perform at the wedding, as well as food and drinks for the guests to enjoy during the reception. The bridegroom traditionally hosts the wedding reception after the bride, although that time is not set in stone.
The wedding rehearsal is the final chance for the bride and groom to show off their new attire before the big day. It is also the chance for the bride and groom to go over any last minute details such as the flower girls and tuxedo fitting. This is also a chance for the bridegroom to shake hands with his best man and has the opportunity to meet his bridal party members. During the wedding rehearsal, guests are asked to dress formal or semi-formal, depending on the formality of the reception.
Bridesmaids also have their own ceremony during the wedding. In some cases, a traditional Irish church wedding will have a bridesmaid's walk. In other cases, it might be just the bride and groomsman walking hand-in-hand. Some brides and grooms opt to have the ceremony and wedding receptions at one location, such as a resort, so that their bridesmaids can simply join them there instead of having to travel to another location.
In summary, a groom usually presides over the reading of the marriage vows, reads a book containing the rules for the ceremony (e.g., exchanging of rings), gives the ring to the bride and bridegroom and gives his attendants a dance at the reception. While these details do not happen every wedding, they are typically attended by the groom and bridegroom, are usually quite casual, and typically attended by close family and friends of both the bride and groom. In the end, these parties provide a fun and successful way to say “I Do” to each other.