A wedding is one of the most important events in the life of two individuals, and if it is accompanied with cultural tradition, family and close friends, it becomes memorable not only to newlywed couples but also to attendees of the event.
We have received customs of wedding traditions from our ancestors, where each custom has its own unique prominence in traditions. And, hence it becomes ones moral responsibility to respect and secure it.
The wedding traditions from different countries are fascinating. Similarly, there are various wedding traditions followed by people in Europe.
In this we share the insights about how people of different countries like United Kingdom and Spain follow their own distinctive wedding traditions:
In United Kingdom, the marriage is usually initiated by a proposal of marriage, the man traditionally proposes the woman and if the proposal is accepted, the couple becomes engaged.
A traditional UK wedding is usually held in the morning and it involves a lot of people in it. The groom and his best men wait for the bride and her entourage inside the church. The entourage consists of the bride, her family, bridesmaids, maids of honor, flower girls, page boy or ring-bearer etc.
The ushers help the guest to guide them to their seats. The bridesmaids are escorted by the groomsmen. Then, the ring-bearer enters followed by flower girl. The bride proceeds down the aisle, escorted by her father.
During the ceremony, the bride and grooms exchange wedding vows. After the vows have been read, the couples exchange rings. The wedding ring is placed on the left hand. After the ceremony, the couples along with officiant and two witnesses sign the wedding register to give marriage a legal consideration. Afterwards, the guests throw flower petals, confetti or rice on newlywed couples as a sign of good luck.
The bride stands with her back to all the guests and throws her bouquet over her head to them. It is believed that whoever catches the bouquet is the next person to get married.
After the ceremony, the guests accompany the new couple to their wedding breakfast. A reception usually includes the meals, drinks along with of course speeches by the best man and usually maid of honour. This is all the followed by the cutting of the wedding cake and the first dance.
The dancing is usually started by the bride and groom followed by a dance between the bride and her father.
Weddings are also big in Spain, and usually have many guests who are friends, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, first or second cousins, neighbors and colleagues. Most Spanish weddings start late, (often the ceremony won’t start until around 7pm) and finish very late into the night or next morning.
A traditional Spanish bridal dress includes a lace headdress called a mantilla and it is worn over a high comb, itself named peineta. The bridal tends to favour orange blossoms as the whiteness in it symbolizes purity and further, it is also indicates fulfillment and felicity.
A traditional wedding custom consist of the groom presenting the bride with 13 arras (Arras in Spanish means Pledge), it represents his commitment to support and trust her. Its acceptance by the bride means taking that trust and confidence unconditionally with total dedication and prudence. The 13 arras represents Christ and his 12 apostles.
The alianza (wedding ring) is worn on the ring finger of the right hand which is in contrast to many traditions of many countries that wear wedding ring on the left hand. Spanish weddings do not include bridesmaids or groomsmen.
Godparents play an important role in it. The couple stands together at the altar with no one else in attendance.
The groom’s mother accompanies him down the aisle; and he is not to see the bride’s dress until that the actual ceremony.
At the reception, the head table is traditionally set for six: the bride, the groom, and their parents. The wedding favours are personally given by the bride and groom. During the reception, the bride and groom circulate from table to table carrying a basket with small detalles (wedding favors) that they personally hand out to each guest. The men will be offered a cigar or a mini-bottle of wine and the women a little present that looks and smells nice. This may be the time in which guests also give the preferred wedding gift to the new couple.
The bride will typically give out small pins or corsages to her girlfriends. Single ladies will wear it upside down. If a girl loses her corsage at some point during the reception, this means that she will be the next to be married. There is custom of cutting the groom’s tie into pieces and then auctioning them off for good luck
Thus, the wedding tradition in Spain and United Kingdom has its unique customs and fascinating beliefs.
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