Christian Wedding Rituals

Christian Wedding Rituals

We all have seen a movie or drama where a Christian wedding is portrayed as a romantic union of two individuals who are wholly drenched in the ocean of love and affection. The gorgeous bride decked up in a frothy gown holding a bouquet walks the aisle towards her dapper groom well dressed in a Tuxedo Suit.

But there is much more to know about the Christian religion through its wedding rituals. Commonly known as the white wedding, it fascinates people through meaningful wedding rituals.

Here is the compilation of all listed Christian wedding rituals in three segregation Pre-wedding rituals, main wedding rituals and post-wedding rituals.

Pre-wedding rituals in the Christian wedding

1. Engagement Ceremony –

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In a traditional Catholic family, the elders of the family members believe in finding a suitable boy or girl for their child to unite them in the holy nuptial knot. After fixing the marriage, the very first wedding celebration takes place and it is The Engagement Ceremony. The bride and groom exchange their beautiful wedding rings and become a couple. Before this ceremony, the rings of the bride and groom give their rings to the priest for a blessing. It could be a small and intimate get-together ceremony or a grand affair according to the choice of the bride and groom or their families.

2. The Bridal Shower –

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As the name of the ritual signifies, it is a bride-centric pre-wedding ritual that marks the celebration of single life right before the bride’s married life. Approximately a week before, this ritual takes place at the bride’s place. The female friends of the bride gather together and enjoy the celebration of the bride’s last few moments as a single person. The bride brings a pink-colored cake for their female friends. She hides a metal or plastic piece known as a thimble of silver color. After cutting the cake and distributing it among her friends, she becomes curious to know who has got the thimble. It is believed that whoever gets it, will be the next one to get married.

3. The Bachelor’s party –

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A quite similar party or fun event is organized for the groom before his D-day to celebrate the final few moments of single life. Any female in the family is not allowed to take part in the function. Only all men including the friends, cousins and other close relatives of the groom enjoy the dance, food, peppy songs and a lot of fun at the Bachelor’s party. It is believed that the bachelor’s party strengthens the bonding between all the men of the family as they share the most fun time all together.

4. The Roce Ceremony –

Image source: Weddingz. in

Very similar to the Haldi ceremony of Hindu wedding culture, in Christianity the Roce ceremony is celebrated at the home of the bride and groom. The family members dip their fingers in a sacred oil and draw a cross structure on the forehead of the bride/groom. Now this oil’s droplets are poured into the ears and shoulders of the bride/groom. After this, the coconut juice is applied to the face, hands and feet of the bride/groom. The unique ritual of the Christian wedding ends with the ceremonial bath of the bride and groom.

The wedding day rituals of the Christian community

5. The Bride’s Ride –

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Traditionally, the groom sends an embellished vehicle or car that takes her to the wedding venue. When the vehicle reaches the bride’s place, the best man greets the bride and offers her a flower bouquet. Now he escorts the decked-up bride to the entrance of the church or any other pre-divided wedding venue.

6. Processional ceremony –

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This ritual showcases the welcome or entrance of all the important members to the wedding place. The family members follow a serial while entering there. First, the minister enters, then the groom enters and escorts his parents down the aisle, now the groomsmen are followed by the parents and grandparents of the groom and after him, the bridesmaid, ring bearer, flower girl make their entries. In the end, the wedding altar becomes lively with the glorious arrival of the bride with her father or both parents.

7. Presentation ceremony –

Image source: ShaadiDukan

A very touching and soulful moment comes with this ritual right before when bride steps on the altar for performing the further wedding rituals. The parents or the parent figures of the bride give away their daughter and this ritual depicts that the bride is a “precious gift/present” to the groom. Several parents also consider this moment as a symbol of becoming a partner with someone else for their daughter as they hesitate to consider their daughter as a present or gift for the groom.

8. The moment of the Silence –

Image source: Brides

Akin to the other faiths or cultures of India, the deceased loved ones are also remembered in Christian weddings. All the members who are present at the wedding venue, pause for a few minutes and the minister speaks the names of all the deceased ones of the family and welcomes them to bless the couple with their presence. This ritual shows the deep reverence of the family members towards their loved ones who are not present on the earth to attend the wedding ceremony of their children.

9. Homily –

Image source: Aleteia

This couple-centric ceremony is popular with other names also like – sermon and message ceremony. In this significant custom of Christian weddings, the minister offers insights into the relationship of the couple and also guides them towards the path of marriage by describing the below given Bible scripture, “Love is patient…Love is kind...” It is a very popular scripture reading of the Bible which is read during the holy Christian weddings.

10. Prayer ceremony –

Image source: Aleteia

The minister now speaks a few words for blessing the couple and offers a prayer for their best-married life ahead. In this ritual, the minister also asks the attendees to join him in the prayer ceremony. The people bow their heads and stretch their one arm while sitting on their chairs in the direction of the couples. This act depicts the support of all people or relatives towards the couple during one of the most precious moments of their life – Their Wedding.

11. Exchanging of Vows ceremony –

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Now a very integral and core part of the Christian wedding comes which is called – Exchanging Vows. The couples make strong promises to each other regarding their marriage. First, the minister cites the sacred vows of marriage in front of the couple and they recite them after him. Here the couple has two choices, they can repeat the entire vow by following the minister or just say ” I do” after every vow. After completing the personalized vows of the couple, the community vows also take place. Now the relatives and all the other attendees reply with “We Do” after every community vow cited by the minister. This shows the support of people towards the wedding of the couple. The vows ceremony in Christian weddings also replaces the objections of any people who are against the sacred union of the two individuals.

12. The Unity Ceremony –

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Right after exchanging the vows of the wedding, a ritual that signifies the unionship of the couple, as well as their families takes place. One of the closest family members from both sides comes forward at the decided place to perform this unity ceremony. Usually, the mothers of the bride and groom take part in this ritual. They come with a lighted candle and give it to their child. Now the couple takes these candles (one each) and lights up the third candle placed between them with the help of those two candles provided by their mothers. This new flame depicts the unity of the couple and the support of their families in this holy wedding.

Some Christian families who follow the different faith of catholic religions perform distinct way of Unity ceremonies. Hand Fasting, Washing of the feet and God’s knot and cord of three strands are some other ways of symbolizing the similar unity ceremony in the Christian weddings. Some Christian people also consider them as an extension of the vows than the unity ceremony.

13. Exchange of the Rings ceremony –

Image source: My Dream Wedding

After exchanging the sacred vows of marriage, it’s time to exchange the wedding rings by the couple. Each member of the couple slips on a precious ring on the left-hand ring finger of his/ her soon-to-be spouse. The exchange of rings ritual is also followed by some of the vows which strengthen the bonding between the couple and assure that the relationship between them will be like the never-ending shapes of their wedding rings. These rings are the only object in Christian weddings that represents a symbol of love that one can put on its body. With reciting of some vows after the minister, the Exchange of Rings ceremony is considered concluded.

14. Pronouncement ceremony –

Image source: American Marriage Ministries

This ritual marks the conclusion of the Christian wedding as well as the official declaration of the status of the couple – Married. The minister directs the couple to Kiss each other in the eyes of the church and the presence of every close family member. In a few Christian weddings, the ministers first pronounce the marriage and then direct the couple to kiss but it is also completely acceptable to first kiss each other and then pronouncement by the minister who is conducting the wedding of the Christian couple. All attendees express love and blessings for the couple that is just married.

Post-wedding rituals in a Christian wedding

15. Recessional –

Image source: Brides

In the Christian wedding, there is a ritual for leaving the sacred wedding venue or the holy church as well. In recessional the couple walks down the aisle by holding hands of each other and exits this house of worship. Now the flower girl and the ring bearer follow them. After that, the parents and the family members of the couple exit the wedding place and at the end, the minister comes out of the church. His exit from the place marks the completion of the wedding of a couple according to Christian customs.

16. The Reception Party –

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Traditionally Christian weddings are celebrated during the daytime and the families keep the evening time spare for an even more grand celebration of the love between the bride and groom. The lavishly organized reception party in the evening offers a fun frolic affair with loud cheering, peppy music, boozy drinks, dancing, singing and sumptuous food at the end to satiate your tickling buds. This reception party is followed by many other rituals also as it takes a long time to celebrate the love of the just married couple.

17. Toast and Speech ceremony –

Image source: Lifestyle

Another ritual that is imbibed with fun and love takes place during the reception party. All the close family members and friends of the couple raise a toast on their turn and wish the couple a very happy married life. These raised toasts are accompanied by the funny and little bit embarrassing stories that a person evokes and tells all the others. These stories are related to the couple’s past life. It creates a lighter and laughter moment for all the attendees. Everyone including the couple enjoys this ritual a lot.

18. Cake Cutting Ceremony –

Image source: Times of India

A Christian wedding is considered incomplete or bland without the cake-cutting ritual. This custom marks the sweet beginning of the couple as a married partner. The couple joins each other to cut the beautifully decorated wedding cake and feed each other with the very first bite of it. The traditional wedding songs or bell sounds in the background enhance the charm of this cake-cutting ceremony. All the attendees clap and cheer for the new beginning of the couple as a married one. In the end, the delicious cake is served to all the guests.

19. The First Dance –

Image source: Birdlens creation

After a long wedding celebration, it is time to bring the couple on the stage for witnessing their beautiful first dance together. They rehearsed for a ball dance before their D-day. After some time other couples also come to the stage and give a spellbinding performance with their beautifully choreographed romantic dance. Once the couple’s dance ends, the peppy dance music takes place at the party and infuses great enthusiasm into all the family members. The great dance music compels everyone to join the dance stage and groove freely on the party beats. The dance ceremony at the Christian wedding makes everyone revel in the joy and fun.

20. Bouquet Tossing Ceremony –

Image source: WedMeGod

A very unique ritual of the Christian wedding concludes all the fun but meaningful post-wedding celebrations. In the bouquet tossing ceremony, the bride throws her wedding flower bouquet behind her without seeing it. All her female friends stand behind her to catch it. It is believed that whoever catches the bouquet thrown by the bride, will be the next to get married in the family or friend circle of the bride.

These beautiful wedding rituals of the Christian wedding depict a lot of cultural values of the Christian community.

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