A wedding is a formal ceremony in which two individuals are legally united in matrimony. Traditions and cultural norms vary greatly amongst various cultures, religious groups, societies, and other social groups. In some regions, marriage ceremonies are performed for different reasons, while in other regions, the wedding serves as a highly ritualistic event. While there are several basic factors that affect matrimonial ceremonies all over the world, it is the individual choice of each couple to decide what they want in their wedding.
In the West, marriage ceremonies are performed by licensed ministers or priests. These officiants are considered the “offenders” in these ceremonies who express verbal vows against their partners. In many traditional societies, men are the breadwinners of the family while women are the main providers. In conservative East Asian cultures, there is less emphasis on individualism than in the West, although certain differences exist with regards to religious observances and customs.
While it is not necessary to have an actual clergy or a minister to perform marriage ceremonies, there are certain rituals and traditions that must be upheld in certain regions. Most Western cultures require an appointment from either a parent or legal guardian prior to the actual ceremony. Appointment can take place within a few days to a week. This appointment is to show respect and confirmation that the couple has reached a mutual agreement upon the terms of their marriage. Some cultures also require a marriage ceremony approval from a senior higher office such as a temple or church. Marriage ceremonies can be performed for business hours within the four hour daily work shift, although the actual service may be scheduled for a later time during business hours.
A marriage ceremony is not considered complete until a marriage license has been signed by the attending couple. Marriage license documentation contains important details regarding the couple's personal history, as well as information about the parents and legal guardians. Marriage license documentation can be made available to anyone who requests it, either for informational purposes or for the purposes of verifying the couple's marriage status.
Wedding rings play an important role in wedding ceremonies. Many cultures view wedding rings as symbols of devotion and love, therefore they are usually worn by both men and women at a marriage ceremony. In some cases, couples choose to exchange their wedding rings immediately after getting married rather than wait for the marriage license to arrive. If this is the case, the bride and groom must first get their marriage license before exchanging their rings. After exchanging their wedding rings, the couple may then decide to exchange their marriage license with a local government clerk.
The Jewish definition of Jewish law states that the wedding service is the spiritual ceremony that strengthens and sanctifies the marriage. During the wedding ceremony, the couple is said to be sealed with God's promise of marriage, giving them the right to be wed. According to the Talmud, the only prerequisite for a Jewish marriage is that the couple is ready, not that they are following the traditional customs that are part of most weddings. Even if these traditions were considered important in past times, they are not a part of Jewish law today, and should not dictate how a Jewish man and woman should act when they are legally married.
The marriage ceremony can also follow many different traditions. In the United States, officiants generally officiate at just one marriage ceremony, but couples in other countries do have more than one ceremony. Some couples prefer to officiate under the guidance of an Orthodox rabbi, while other couples like to have an rabbi of a particular tradition preside over their marriage ceremony. Rabbis are not required to officiate weddings, so some couples choose to have an Orthodox rabbi preside over their weddings. Others prefer to choose a non Orthodox rabbi to officiate their marriage ceremony.
When the marriage ceremony is legal, the bride and groom typically make sure that they have a copy of the marriage license before they leave the wedding site. They then fill out the paper with important information about themselves and their spouses, including the exact spelling of their names. Once the paperwork is completed, the officiant will verify the information and then sign it, witnesses will be sworn in by the groom and bride, and the marriage license is then stamped with the official seal of the State. After this is complete, it is then time for the newly married couple to enter the reception hall, where the reception is formally opened by the Master of Ceremony. The wedding party then moves into the newly decorated home where the family will live until the new family takes ownership of the home.