India is a secular country, has different wedding celebrations. Christian weddings are performed in two ways in India, one is commonly called the Indian Christian Wedding. It follows the Indian tradition of ‘haldi ceremony’ wherein the bride and groom are applied turmeric by relatives before the wedding day. The bride wears a traditional saree instead of a gown and the groom wears a dhoti-kurta instead of a suit for the wedding. The other type of wedding is called the ‘White wedding’, which follows England’s christian wedding traditions. This has different pre-wedding rituals. Let’s see what are the christian wedding ceremony steps, if you want a white wedding you should know these.
Christian Wedding Traditions
The engagement ceremony is usually organized by the bride’s parents. It’s a closed affair where only close members of both the families and friends are invited. The church is also sent the announcement of the engagement. The ceremony has a formal prayer service to bless the couple. Usually the friends of the bride and groom to be, bring a cake to celebrate the occasion.
So, be prepared to say yes and then the special ceremony that follows with family and friends.
2The Bridal Shower and Bachelor’s Party
The Bridal Shower
The time from when you know that you are getting married, you eagerly wait for your bridal shower. This a party which is hosted by the ‘maid of honor’. The maid of honor is one of the bride’s best friend. The bride also has a bunch of the bride’s maids, they are her sisters or friends. The Bridal Shower is called ‘hens party’ where, all the ladies shower gifts upon the bride to be.
The bride offers all the ladies a cake, which has a thimble (a small metal finger cap). It is believed that the girl who gets the thimble in her piece of cake, gets married next. If you are the maid of honor, make sure you have a bash with the bride to be, surprises will always make her happy.
The Bachelor’s Party
This is for the groom to be, the bachelor’s party is hosted by the ‘best man’ of the groom. The best man is the groom’s best friend or brother. This party is where all the close male friends of the groom come together to celebrate the last day of the groom’s bachelorhood. It involves all kinds of fun stuff that the groom would like. The groom also has a bunch of groom’s men. The number of bride’s maids and groom’s men should be equal.
3The Rehearsal Dinner
The rehearsal dinner is a formal event which is done a night before the wedding. Both the families organize this event. The bride and groom rehearse the wedding and then both the families have dinner together. The main purpose of having a rehearsal dinner is that, this is only the time when both the families can actually spend time with each other. The wedding day will keep them all busy with other guests, so this is the time when they can attend the wedding peacefully.
During the rehearsal dinner, the best man and the maid of honor propose a toast and give a little speech about the bride and the groom.
The most awaited day for all the well wishers of the bride and the groom, the big day for the couple. For this day the church is decorated with curtains and flowers, everything around is made so special, all dressed up and waiting to see the bride and the groom. The christian wedding has the following steps:
All the guests and family members are seated, all the guests are requested to sit by the ushers. Then the parents of the couple are accompanied by the best man and the maid of honor till their seats. The bride’s maids accompanied by the groom’s men walk towards the alter after which, the little flower girls come spreading flower petals on the aisle for the bride. Then comes the groom, every one is asked to stand up for the bride as she walks down the aisle hand in hand with her father.
If you are a bride to be, this will be one of the most memorable moments of your life. You will have your childhood hero walking you down to your prince. The moment when you see your Mr.Right waiting for you at the alter.
The prayer, once everyone is seated and the bride and groom have arrived, the church pastor or father begins the ceremony with a prayer. They pray for the bride and the groom and their interests.
The Wedding vows and pledge, the bride and the groom repeat after the priest their pledge, then give each other their wedding vows. Usually, the vows are also repeated after what the priest says, but some people write their heart out as their vows for their partner. According to me, writing your own vows is better.
The rings, the bride and the groom exchange rings as a sign of their wedding and also to signify their holy matrimony. In the Indian Christian weddings, the groom ties a ‘mangal-sutra’ around the bride’s neck signifying their wedding.
Unity candle, the bride and the groom then light a fancy candle together. This signifies that they are now united and will always be.
Marriage registration, the bride and the groom with their witnesses, sign the marriage register.
Prayer service and presentation, after the marriage is officially registered with the church priest gives a small lecture for the couple and then presents the newly wed couple with their changed names.
The couple then walks out of the church hand in hand, while all the near and dear ones shower flowers on them.
After the wedding ceremony, there is a grand reception where all the invitees come to meet and greet the couple. The party begins as the couple walks till the stage while people welcome them with cheerful hearts and confetti. The reception is organized by both the families and hosted by the maid of honor and best man. The hosts invite the family members for the big cake cutting after which the wedding cake is given to all the guests.
Once the couple finish their first dance, the serving of dinner is announced. Then the photo session and giving away of the ‘thank you cards’ takes place.
Wedding is a wonderful celebration, its the joy of two families. Be it an Indian traditional wedding or a Christian wedding, every wedding is the celebration of love and togetherness.
By- Roseleen Aind