I run into this all the time, a bride wants to just get a "quote" and they are not ready to set up a meeting as of yet.
It can be aggravating at times, but what can you do? I always tell my brides that I would like to set up a face to face meeting so I can better explain in person how I can make their ceremony as special and unique to them as possible, and so they can better see if I am someone who fits into their vision of their wedding.
Most of the time I am able to book a face to face meeting from that, and then there are those who still just want to just "look".
But, Honestly why should a bride book a face to face meeting with an officiant if all she really wants is just a price quote? I'm gonna tell you why...
1. The bride can see for herself if this Officiant is someone who can speak eloquently, and convey her ideas for her ceremony.
2. The Officiant can communicate exactly what services are included with their price quotes.
- what the difference is in price packages
- why the packages are priced as such
- what type of "extras" are included
- how much a rehearsal would cost
- what type of ceremonies they will perform
- Answer any questions regarding the ceremony
At this meeting, this not only give the Bride and Groom a chance to see how this Officiant fits into their vision, but it also give the Officiant a chance to get to know the couple on a more personal level so they can perform their job more sufficiently and even put little nuances of the couple into their ceremony. I always asks a list of questions so that I can see the couples' responses to each others answers, it gives me insight to what kind of couple they are.
I just recently had the mishap of dealing with a Bride and Groom who actually was booked by a 3rd party-the Bride's Mother. This couple lives out of state and the bride is in the service, so communication has been strictly through the mother. Difficult to say the least but not impossible. I sent out my contract and all my wonderful paper work that I usually go over in a face to face meeting to the Mom and to the bride, I never got any response back from the bride, but always from the Mom...She sent a signed contract back to me with out the cover page of the contract. She sent along my required deposit, and circled my Silver package, stating that it was just going to be the Bride and Groom, no witnesses. Not a problem. Simple enough...
Well I got a phone call from Mom asking me to do a rehearsal the day before the wedding, and I explained it would not be a problem but there is an extra fee...She was under the understanding that the rehearsal would be free...
Now if there had been a face to face meeting, even a skype meeting if at all possible, this issue would have been discussed and taken care of. So as I explained to Mom, that No it is not free, what is free is the initial face to face meeting with the couple prior to signing a contract. Ok Mom was understanding of the rehearsal fee and agreed to it, then Mom explains that since there are 6 nephews and nieces involved in the wedding we want to make sure everything runs smoothly. Again, My ears perk up and I realize they think that because it's family involved, they aren't considered Bridesmaids or groomsmen...Not true!
Again, I explained to Mom that if we had had this meeting face to face, all of this would have been a non-issue. I had to explain that it doesn't matter the age, relation, or title by which the bride and groom wants to call anyone, if they are participating in the wedding ceremony, (standing up, reading a poem, singing, etc...) they are included in the wedding party. I price my packages based on time and amount of participants...
Needless to say I had to refer Mom back to my front page of the contract and remind her to please re-read it and get back with me if that seems alright by her.
The 1st contact I got from the bride was in response to this misunderstanding and she totally understood and had no issues since she knew she was out of state and it has been somewhat difficult to get together....Problem solved, but the misunderstanding and confusion is still left hanging over everyone's heads.
This is just one of the many reasons for a bride to schedule a face to face meeting even if they are just price shopping.
You have to consider it a Job interview, you are hiring someone who will help you make your wedding ceremony as memorable as possible. Think of it this way, You wouldn't just call a dress shop and ask them to send you a white dress in a certain size and make sure it is pretty. You have to see for yourself and try it on! Nor would you call a bakery and ask them to just send you a pretty cake in what ever flavor they have with out looking and tasting it 1st.
So why would you want to price shop on something that is the most important part of the wedding....The actual CEREMONY!
I could have been knocked over with a feather when I receive an email the other day; it was from a future Groom asking about my pricing, and actually complaining about one of my colleagues for their $300.00 Classic Custom ceremony fee. According the emailer's calculations, the fee for a "15 minute ceremony" resulted in the Officiant obtaining the astronomical hourly rate of $1,476!
EXCUSE ME!?!? If that were true, I'd be blogging from my summer mansion on the shores of a Hawaiian Beach while my cabana boy massaged my tootsies!
Couples often have to rein in their wedding day festivities to accommodate their budget. And make no mistake about it--the wedding business is a multi-billion dollar industry with the average cost of a wedding hovering above $30,000. A professional job well done is worth a fair price, however,
and it seems our unhappy emailer above
was unaware of the time, work and expense
put forth by a high-quality officiant.
So, if you've been secretly wondering why the rate for some officiants seems high for the amount of time it takes to deliver your ceremony, let me clarify things.. First of all, let's look at the actual time that is included:
· Most custom ceremonies do not last 15 minutes as
our friend suggested, but closer to 30 minutes.
Officiants generally arrive up to 30 -60 minutes prior to the ceremony to facilitate last minute coordination, and stay an additional 30-60 minutes after the completion of the ceremony to sign the license, congratulate the couple and pose for photos.
Most custom ceremonies do not last 15 minutes as our friend suggested, but closer to 30 minutes in grand total.
Officiants generally arrive up to 30-60 minutes prior to the ceremony to facilitate last minute coordination, and stay an additional 30-60 minuts the completion of the ceremony to sign the license, congratulate the couple and pose for photos.
The initial getting acquainted meeting lasts 45 minutes to an hour.
It takes an hour to write the ceremony.
Driving time to and from the ceremony must be included.
There is generally an additional 30-45 minutes of email time during the course of our pre-ceremony relationship to answer questions. We advise couples on everything from marriage licenses to the name charge process to wedding etiquette.
So, factoring in the above actually brings our "15 Minute Ceremony" up to 5 hours of time on the part of the officiant.
Still, our frugal friend might howl that brings us to an hourly average of $74--unjustifiable to many. So, let's take the
following expenses into account.
- How did our fine fellow find us? Through one of the wedding sites upon which we advertise. This does not come for free. Nor does our website that we pay to design, maintain and host in order to give prospective clients complete information on our services as well as access to other helpful resources.
- Add in the cost of gasoline, car insurance and maintenance to get us to the ceremony on time (always a plus!)
- Office expenses, ministerial vestments, binders, phone costs, bank fees, postage, business taxes, membership dues, paper, ink, postage and that fancy black pen that you get to use to sign your license!
All of this is difficult to quantify and will vary from officiant to officiant. And of course, the cost needs to be spread across all of the bookings that an officiant acquires in any given month. Let's take a conservative estimate and say that the above costs average approximately $30 per wedding booked.
This brings us down to a more respectable $44 per hour. But wait! We have forgotten to include the wedding resources to which each couple has access in order to write their ceremony.
Most officiants who've been writing ceremonies for years have compiled a vast wealth of options for vows, blessings, readings, etc, as well as some great creative ideas for use in the ceremony. Value? Well, we sell our ceremony resources, for $50, so let's assume that is a safe bet. Lopping that off the top of the original $300 brings our officiants hourly rate down to about $34.00 per hour.
Now, our fine fellow could certainly have his best friend, Bud obtain a quickie online ordination and perform the wedding ceremony for the compensation of a six-pack.. That would be one way to save the cost of an officiant and is a viable option for many.
However, before you go call up the Bud-ster, you might want to think about what comes with that $34.00 per hour fee.
A professional wedding officiant is going to be able to handle anything that comes along on the day of the wedding. It's not as simple as showing up and reading the script. Consider the following mishaps that have happened to couples whom I've wed: microphones die during the ceremony, bridal party members faint, ex-spouses feud (openly!), brides and grooms cry uncontrollably during their vows, flower girls get stung by bees, Dads need reassurance, lines get flubbed by the bride and groom, the ring bearer throws up on his way down the aisle. A thunderstorm unleashes halfway through the ceremony, Unity Candles won't light. It goes on and on.
And then there are the last minute details--coordinating with the music providers, the photographer and the venue staff. Bridal party members need to be lined up and inevitably some key person is in the bathroom come ceremony start time. Is the Unity Candle lighter in place? Where are the roses for the rose ceremony? They were forgotten? No problem, the officiant plucks some out of a centerpiece and saves the day. Does the best man have the rings? Oh dear! The reader forgot her reading--good thing the officiant has an extra copy. Who has the marriage license? Which side is the bride's side and which is the groom's? The FOB (father of bride) is MIA. Oh, there he is--on the balcony having a cigarette with his girlfriend (who by the way can't stand the ex and refuses to sit in the same row). The bride, starting to stress, turns to her officiant, who offers her a reassuring smile. All is well.
The ceremony is filled with wonderfully creative ideas that the officiant has provided. It is delivered by a proficient public speaker who projects loudly enough for even those in the back row to hear. Along the way, the officiant has offered support, guidance, and encouragement. A professional wedding officiant is equal parts emcee, etiquette advisor, coordinator, script-writer, organizer, frayed nerve-soother and legal resource.
The wedding officiant is one of the lowest wedding vendor fees that a couple will pay, yet having a bad one can ruin what should be the couple's most special day. While we respect the right of each couple to prioritize their wedding spending, it is always surprising when a couple spends copious amounts of money on things like cake, cutesy favors and limousine, only to seek a bare bones ceremony--which is the heart of the wedding day.
Down the road, I think you will want to remember the words of commitment you spoke as being meaningful and poignant as opposed to how yummy your cake was or that you had an open bar at the reception.
Beware the officiant who charges a ridiculously low fee, does not require a deposit or doesn't issue a contract. I can't tell you how many calls we get from panicked prides because their "professional" wedding officiant backed out of the wedding a week before. If you haven't given them money and signed a contract, then the deal is not sealed.
Here's the bottom line: expect to pay a fair price for a professional service. Then, sit back and allow your officiant to show you how to create a wedding ceremony that upon which you will look back and smile about for many years to come!
I posted a blog about Halloween themed and Scary wedding dresses earlier, While I was doing research I came across so many different pictures that could have easily been included.
So I think I will just make this Blog about Horrible Wedding dresses and include them here...
This 1st dress...is well, Uhm...Very colorful to say the least! Now I am not against anyone wanting to have the wedding of their dreams, but you really have to ask yourself while looking at these pictures..."WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?" I call this one Rainbow Brite Bride and Groom.
Again, I am all for a colorful wedding, but this brings new meaning to a "Green Wedding."
The bride saved so much money by not having a traditional Veil...
(I can hear you saying "What was she thinking?" lol) OUCH!
Now this next dress is for that very loyal "Hello Kitty" fan.
I can see my daughter when she was 12 wanting this for "Dress Up time", but c'mon...Would you really wear this down the aisle?
Now this brings us to the Camoflauge Dress, I have seen several variations and yes I have had the opportunity to even participate in a "Redneck Wedding" where
camoflauge was required...I will post those pics also...
Love the look on this kids face.
Since it's in church, does
that make it more classy?
Even with the White Jacket,
it still is a CAMOFLAUGE
This one makes me wonder who is the actual Hunter and whom set the trap for whom?
Of course here is my own Picture of the Redneck Wedding I Officiated...Yes I am actually wearing a Camoflauge Dress!
(I can hear it again...What was she thinking!?!)
Now for some Traditional type Wedding dresses.
This is the Mini-Wedding dress, She saved a ton by purchasing just the Slip and Crinoline...
This is one of those Vegas Dresses, She can tear off her skirt and go back to work as soon as the ceremony is over...
We can't forget about the Ghetto Wedding...I did not label this
Picture that name, it came right from their album named that way!
The Carmen Miranda Wedding Dress.
Shocking! Pink! and Belly! Oh My!
And now for our OMG Collection.
I wonder what the Parents of the bride and groom were wearing?
Can we say
They wore these just in case the groom got so drunk he wouldn't forget who the bride was incase he found someone in bed past out with their dress over their head!
I hope they are going somewhere warm for the honeymoon!
She always dreamed of being just like the Little Mermaid one day and marry her prince Eric.
I look just like Cinderella!
(I can hear it again! "What was she thinking?")
Notice the "Love Birds" hanging from the Arch?
And just so you know, I am not above making fun of myself...
This is me and my Maid of Honor at my Wedding in 1987.
I feel so aweful that I made my bridal party wear those horrible "Gone with the Wind" Dresses!
(What was I thinking?)
I love Halloween and I love Weddings, so I decided to put my 2 most favorite things together and show you some Halloween Wedding Humor...Enjoy...
And now for some REAL life Scary weddings!
I just can't figure out what is more scarier...the boobs or the bellies!
Happy Halloween Everyone!
Daniel and Jessica, young couple, got married and went happily on their honeymoon. When they got back, Jessica immediately 'phoned her mother and her mother obviously asked, 'How was the honeymoon, dearest?'
'Oh, Ma,' she replied, 'the honeymoon was wonderful. So romantic...'
Then Jessica burst out crying. 'But, Ma, as soon as we returned home Daniel started using the most ghastly language... saying things I've never heard before! I mean, all these awful 4-letter words! You've got to come get me and take me home.... Please Ma.'
'Calm down, Jessica!,' said her mother, 'Tell me, what could be so awful? What 4-letter words?'
Still sobbing, Jessica whispered, 'Oh, Ma...words like dust, wash, cook, and iron.'
Advice To The Couple
[In the form of a cake recipe]
4lbs of love
lb of sweet temper
1lb of butter of youth
1lb of blindness of faults
1lb of pounded wit
1lb of good humour
2lbs of sweet argument
1 pint of rippling laughter
1 wine glass of common sense
A dash of modesty
Put the love, good looks and a sweet temper into a well-furnished house. Beat the butter of youth into a cream and mix well together with the blindness of faults. Stir the pounded wit and good humour into the sweet argument, then add the rippling laughter and common sense. Work the whole together until everything is well mixed and bake gently forever.
I officiated a wedding for a great couple. This was a booking from a bridal show and the bride had actually won my drawing. My clients were originally going to have a friend DJ for them. Turns out, the friend bailed. Apparently their friend had a family emergency and neglected to call or try to explain his absence. My groom actually wrote an article about this particular incidence and it was published online. (http://www.examiner.com/st-clair-county-in-detroit/how-the-smart-phone-saved-our-wedding-reception)
Being that I am in the wedding planning industry, I try to always be prepared, and for this particular time, I and my fiancée were! We were able to step up and help by being the DJ’s for this couple and all turn out just fine…This is one of a handful of weddings I have booked over the years due to a friend of the bride or groom not coming through. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise. Sometimes the real damage happens when they DO show up.
So this begs the question, “Should you hire a friend for your wedding?” My two cents…no. When couples hire me, at some point I ask them about the other vendors they’ve hired. It’s important for me to know who all the players are. That’s part of my process. When a couple tells me they are considering having a friend do the photography, or the catering, or the wedding planning & coordinating, the first thing I always ask is “Does your friend do this professionally?” That can make all the difference in the world. A professional is an expert who is a master in a specific field. Professionals most often do what they do for a living, commercially, and not just at home for fun.
I’m not a major sports nut, but the Baseball playoff finals are going on right now. For a moment, compare your wedding to a big game in these finals. You’ve put an enormous amount of work into this game. Blood, sweat, tears, countless hours of planning and strategy has gone into this day. Then, imagine someone made the decision to have a friend come in and be your pitcher. Or visualize one of your friends being an umpire. To save even more money, you could have another friend run the sound system and music programming for all your fans. That person could even use the microphone to talk to the crowd. For pictures, your Aunt Sally has a new camera and is getting better and better all the time. She could come in and shoot. This will be fantastic! You probably see where I’m going with this. The game will still be played, but all of your fans will be disgusted by the game, upset with the umpire, bored and unmotivated by your DJ, and weeks after the game when you look at the photographs, you’ll be in tears because every important shot you wanted was missed.
How to say no: I love honesty (mostly because I’m terrible at lying), so I recommend just explaining why you’re not hiring a friend who has offered wedding services as straightforwardly as possible. But if you feel like you can’t use the direct approach, just shift the blame: you can’t hire them because of the demands of your parents, your in-laws, your fiancée, your wedding planner, your venue contract. Pick the fib that works for you.
This is not a stretch. And I understand there are tremendous savings in having a friend help out at the wedding. Times are tough for all of us and every dollar counts. My advice? Don’t hire your friends, unless they are professionals in the industry. Plan your wedding early, with plenty of time to save up for the right players to do the job. I often talk with couples not just about the details here and now, but how they will feel 5, 10…25 years from now. When you look back on your wedding day, you don’t want to feel regret. You don’t want to push your wedding album to the back of the closet because you’re embarrassed to look at the pictures or show them to friends & family. You don’t want to relive your first dance when your DJ friend started playing the wrong song or the music just stopped while all your guests were watching you, or he got up and said something completely inappropriate or offensive. Those memories last a lifetime and you can't get them back!
·Your friend might be willing to give you a discount as a wedding gift, however
it would be rude to ask for this.
· By hiring a friend you are contributing to the success of her business.
· Instead of playing Russian roulette with unknown wedding vendors, you can rest assured that your vendors are trust-worthy.
· If you hire a friend, she may put some extra effort into her job since it’s for someone she cares about.
·Just the act of involving friends and family in your wedding is a win-win situation for everyone.
· If your ideas clash with your friend’s then it may be difficult to ensure that everyone is happy on the big day.
· When you hire a friend or anyone to do a job there isn’t a 100% insurance that the job will get done correctly, or the way you envisioned. If your friend doesn’t pull through the way you hoped, it could cause a rift in your relationship.
· The friend you hire will be working instead of enjoying your wedding.
Planning your wedding can be fun and stressful, so the most important thing to remember when doing so is that you make decisions that relieve stress, rather than add more. Have fun!
I just did a wedding at the Glen Gables Chapel in Flushing last weekend. Very beautiful place. The owners, bought a church and renovated it to a beautiful chapel and reception site. Very nice idea, they even had 2 separate rooms for the Bride and the Groom to get dressed in.
This particular couple had contracted me almost a year before their wedding, which is not uncommon, and had told me where the wedding was being planned to take place. I usually keep in contact with the bride over the months before her wedding by email and sending little messages of encouragement. I also send a variety of ceremonies for the couple to go over and pick and choose from. This particular couple never returned any of my emails, so I would call and leave voice mails, still nothing in return. Ok, not unusual sometimes, life can be really busy when planning a wedding. So 3 days before the wedding I get a call from the bride explaining that she has abandoned all emails because they are causing her stress, and that she will "talk" to me about the ceremony at the rehearsal the next night. Ok, Now I am the one "stressing!" I like to have the ceremony all printed up and ready for review at the rehearsal, now I am flying blind...
Not a problem, I can do this, so at the rehearsal, things went very smooth and as expected, at the end of the evening, I pull the couple aside to ask about the ceremony they would like and they both just looked at me and said, something short but sweet and we both get to say in Sickness and in Health....Ok, I said, as you wish.
The bride herself was battling a severe cold and sounded very stuffed up and just miserable, so I can see why the insistence about the In Sickness and in health reference.
I went home and picked a very short but sweet ceremony and made sure I highlighted the particular part they wished to repeat.
At the wedding, one thing after another went wrong, I felt so sorry for the bride, but I always tell my brides, these are just the small stuff, little things that don't add up to much...just breathe thru them and things will end up the way you want. The bride was running a fever, Her flower girl's mother was extremely late because of a botched hair appointment, and didn't leave any time for travel to the chapel or to get the flower girl ready properly. The Grandmother of the groom got lost and call to ask for directions, it would have helped if she was actually on the roads she claimed to be on to give her correct directions to the chapel. She was actually 2 miles away from where she reported she was...
Needless to say, everyone got there safely, not on time, but at least they were there. Now at this time I was feeling relieved not only for the couple but for myself so we could get the wedding started. As we are all gathering in the foyer of the chapel, lined up to make our grand entrance, I could feel my face heat up and begin to burn, So much so, that the father of the Groom notices, and asked me if I need to sit down, I look like I am ready to explode. Great! I am now in the middle of a hot flash, and this chapel has not turn the air on since it's suppose to be "Autumn". Well It just so happens that that day, they high was 80 degrees!
We all were feeling the heat. The ceremony went extremely well, I was able to put in some nuances about the couple and even throw in a joke or two to help ease the stress levels. The Flower girl was just a s cute a could be and of course the wedding was beautiful. I survived the heat, and the bride was radiant, even though we knew it was because of her fever, her guest had no clue... Lesson learned here...Just go with the flow, things will work themselves out, and if you ignore the small stuff, you get to enjoy the real important things that much more!
Weddings are steeped in such tradition, but do we actually know where they all began, and why do we still continue with them to this day? Some traditions have a bit of superstition behind them and some are simply because of geographical location, others were implemented just as a means to protect a person literally! Lets explore some of the most popular ones still common for today's brides. Now I don't think any of the brides of today would be so willing to abide by these traditions if their origins were still true today....
The Male Child and Cook may now Kiss...
The word "bride" comes from old English for the name for "cook," while the word groom comes from from "male child."
You Can Have her if you promise to...
The term "wedlock" comes from the old English word "wedd" and old Scottish "wad," which both appropriately mean "to pledge." "Lock" comes from the old English term "lac," which means to carry out an action. That, in keeping with the original meaning wedlock which was the pledging of property, as payment for his daughter, to the bride's father. Nice to know This is a custom no longer in use!
"AT YOUR SERVICE"
The custom of proposing on one knee hearkens back to the days of knighthood and chivalry when it was customary for a knight to dip his knee in a show of servitude to his mistress and his master. The knight would kneel before a tournament and wait for "his" lady to toss him her ribbon or colors, as an indication of her favor.
In years gone by, the difference between the genders was very clearly defined and it was unheard of for a woman to propose to a man. Today, that's not the case. Albeit, it's still men who do the majority of proposing, there are women who have made the "get down on one knee" proposal their own.
In the United States we have a holiday called Sadie Hawkins Day on which the tables get turned between men and women. The day presumably gives women the right to propose to unmarried men. There is no set day for this holiday, but many communities celebrate it in November. The Day is named after a man chasing woman named Sadie who appeared in Al Capp's cartoon strip, Lil Abner.
Another possible source for this custom may be connected to the practice in some religions for congregants to kneel (genuflect) during prayers and at other religious ceremonies, like weddings. That interpretation gives proposing a solemn, spiritual connotation with overtones of respect. After all, isn't committing oneself to a permanent relationship a surrender of sorts?
While on the subject of proposing, I want to mention the origin of the very popular custom of allowing women to make Leap Year proposals.This special privilege given to women on the 29th of February dates back hundreds of years to when the leap year day was not recognized in English law. The day was simply "leaped over" and ignored. Hence the expression "leap year." Since the day had no legal status, one could assume that standing traditions could be broken. Many unmarried women took advantage of this glitch in the law by proposing to the man they wished to marry.
WITH THIS RING...
Engagement rings can be traced back to Anglo Saxon history, when the gift of a ring became a token of promised love. The circular band became a symbol of eternal love and unity, and in later years the diamond, because of its composition, became a sign of the strength of never-ending love. We can trace the custom of a wedding band back to the Egyptians who presented their brides with circlets of hemp or rush.
The origin of the ring on the third finger has several theoretical explanations. One says it dates back to the 17th century. Presumably, at Christian weddings, the priest touched the three fingers on the left hand, while reciting "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Another theory claims the custom dates back to ancient Egypt, where it was believed that the "ring finger" followed the vena amoris (vein of love), which runs from this finger directly to the heart.
The ring pillow has its origin with the pillow that traditionally carried the coronation crown for royalty. The tradition has evolved as a symbolic way to prominently present the most precious of gifts.
Marriage announcements are a custom that date back almost a thousand years. In the past, the purpose of an announcement was to give the members of the community an opportunity to object to the marriage, either because the prospective bride or groom was already married, already betrothed, or for some other justifiable reason.
Bought and paid for...
The tradition of asking for the bride's "hand in marriage"comes from a Roman custom called "joining of hands." In a symbolic purchase, the groom would give the bride's father a coin, and the bride would then be passed from her father's "hand" to her husband's.
The tradition of a best man has its origin with the Germanic Goths, when it was customary and preferable for a man to marry a woman from within his own community. When women came into short supply "locally," eligible bachelors would have to seek out and capture a bride from a neighboring community. As you might guess, this was not a one-person operation, and so the future bridegroom would be accompanied by a male companion who would help. Our custom of the best man is a throwback to that two-man, strong-armed tactic, for, of course the future groom would select only the best man he knew to come along for such an important task.
THE BEST BODYGUARD...
The role of the best man evolved. By 200 A.D. his task was still more than just safeguarding the ring. There remained a real threat that the bride's family would attempt to forcibly obtain her return, so the best man remained at the groom's side throughout the marriage ceremony, alert and well-armed. He continued his duties after the ceremony by standing guard as sentry outside the newlywed's home. Much of this is German folklore, but is not without written documentation and physical artifacts. We have records that indicate that beneath the altars of many churches of early peoples (the Huns, Goths, Visigoths, and Vandals) there lay an arsenal of clubs, knives, and spears. The indication is that these were there to protect the groom from possible attack by the bride's family in an attempt to recapture her.
Traditionally, the bride stands to the left side of the groom. This was much more than meaningless etiquette. Among the Northern European barbarians (a name given to them by the Romans), a groom placed his captured bride to his left to protect her, as he kept his right hand free to use for defense. Also originating from this practice of abduction, which literally swept a bride off her feet, sprang the later symbolic act of carrying the bride across the threshold of her new home. And speaking of carrying the bride over the threshold, tradition dictates that the bride must never trip and fall as she enters her new home or she will have bad luck for all the years to come.
It may well be that even the honeymoon had its origin with this capture scenario. It may have served as a cooling-off period for the bride's family. It was the groom's hope that when the newlyweds returned from their honeymoon, all would be forgiven. An entirely different theory says that the honeymoon is based in Babylonia about 4,000 years ago. Tradition held that the bride's father would supply his new son-in-law with all the mead (honey beer/wine) that the young man could drink. Their calendar was lunar-based, and, as it turned out, this tradition, called the "honey month," was just about the the time it took the groom to consume his gift. Ultimately, this period of time just after the wedding became known as the honeymoon. It was also to ensure that the groom was kept happy with his bride and did not want to "return" her to her family.
Talk about Double Vision, sometimes triple...
The infamous kidnapping of the bride soon turned into a fun ritual. The bride surrounded herself with "maids" who dressed identically in a symbolic attempt to confuse the groom and his accomplices.
Bridesmaids and ushers have their roots in Roman law which prescribed that ten witnesses be present at a wedding to fool evil spirits who, it was believed, were in attendance at marriages with the purpose of causing mischief and disharmony. The bridesmaids and ushers were instructed to dress identically to the bride and groom, in order to confuse the evil spirits who presumably would then not know who was really getting married.
Nice Day for a White Wedding...
The bridal gown has always been a symbol of purity, and was in history an outward sign of a maiden's worthiness. The concept of a white wedding gown dates back to Queen Victoria. Marriage was considered a union between two families and it was essential that the bride be an honor to both. Purity was valued above all else and so great care was taken to ensure that the bride be presented as an unspoiled, protected, and valuable treasure. So, the white dress became the symbol of all these things, and a symbol of the bride-to-be's innocence. The elaborate styling of modern wedding gowns can be attributed to Empress Eugenie, the bride of Napoleon III. She was quite the fashion plate of her generation and wore what was to become worldwide style, replacing the customary wedding finery of the day.
It was thought that the white wedding gown also served to ward off evil spirits. Omens and evil spirits and good luck tokens were always a part of the wedding gown tradition. It was said that the bride should never make her own dress and should wait to have the last stitch sewn until just before she entered the church. It was also a popular tradition that the bride should not try on her complete wedding outfit before the wedding day or, it was felt, she would be "counting her chickens before they hatched."
Souvenirs...Traditional bows, or love knots, which resemble a number eight on its side, originated in the late 1500's. The sideways eight, you will note is also the sign for infinity (i.e., eternity). In years past, brides wore dresses covered with love knots and after the wedding, guests would snip them off as souvenirs.
Secret-Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman...The bridal bouquet had its earliest beginnings as a bunch of fragrant herbs. The bouquet's "job" was to discourage evil spirits from getting close to the bride. It was also a way to "perfume" the bride to make her more attractive to the groom. You have to remember in those days, bathing wasn't the ritual it is now. It started not as a bouquet, but, with Greeks and Romans, as a garland of fresh herbs which the bride wore in her hair. In Victorian times, the flowers in a bride's bouquet carried messages, because each flower had its own special meaning.
It's a Toss up...The practice of the bride tossing her bouquet before she leaves on her wedding trip is said to have started in the 14th century, when getting a piece of the bride's clothing was considered good luck. In those days, the bride was treated poorly. Guests would grab at her wedding dress in order to tear off pieces of it. Although brides continued to believe they would not be wearing their wedding gowns again, they objected to its wanton destruction. Instead of allowing guests to tear at their gowns, brides found an alternative and instead, started to throw personal items, such as the garter, to the guests. Today, the groom removes and tosses the garter, while the bride tosses her bouquet. The unmarried man who catches the garter is asked to put it on the leg of the unmarried woman who catches the bouquet. It is said that they will be the next to marry (not necessarily each other).
Yet another version tells us that the garter had a very practical beginning. When silk stockings were standard garb, this accessory was a necessity. This "version" of the customs origin tells us that the tradition of stealing the garter began in England. Young men took this pre-ceremony procedure quite seriously, as it was considered very good luck to "win the prize." To avoid embarrassing the bride, the custom evolved from stealing the garter into throwing the garter.
My Knight in Shinning Armor...
The groom's boutonniere is a nod to medieval times when a knight wore his lady's "colors," proudly displayed for all to see.
LEADING THE WAY...
The flower girl and the tradition of walking before the bride and tossing petals date back to old English tradition. It was customary then that the entire bridal party would walk behind a small girl as she tossed flowers . . . all the way to the church.
TRICK OR TREAT?...The wedding veil has a bit eerier history. It is a tradition believed to have developed from the Roman custom of having the bride wear a full-length veil that was later used as her burial shroud.
And, back to that capture theme . . . another theory is that the veil is reminiscent of the act of throwing a sack over the prospective bride's head while she was being carried off. Roman superstition also held that wearing a veil would confuse the evil spirits that loomed near the bride. It was said that the spirits might be jealous of the new couple's happiness and that covering the bride's face would keep them from recognizing her.
And yet another explanation . . . In ancient times, marriages were arranged by families and were often nothing more than good business deals. It happened more often than not that the first time the couples saw one another was standing at the altar on their wedding day. To ensure the groom wouldn't have second thoughts at the sight of a bride perhaps less attractive than he's assumed, veils were used to cover the bride's face. The veil was not lifted until the very end of the ceremony, only after the groom had already said, "I do."
This may also be the reason why traditionally the bride and groom are not allowed to see each other the day of the wedding.
And then there is the kiss at the end of the wedding ceremony. In ancient times, the kiss was legally binding and signified mutual acceptance of the contract of marriage. It is said that the bride and the groom "exchanged a bit of their souls" with the breath of a kiss!
All Tied Up...
With the ceremony concluded the bride and groom have
tied the knot, an expression which dates back to when, in ancient times, the bride and groom literally were tied at the waist with wreathes to signify that they had been united. Another piece of bridal lore tells us that in ancient Roman times, women wore girdles made from long strips of material. Buttons, hooks and snaps having not yet been invented, the girdles were tied in knots to keep them secure. On a bride's wedding day, the bride's attendants made sure the knots were tied well and could be untied easily, on the wedding night.
Know your Target...
Throwing rice and old shoes at the end of the ceremony is a custom that has its origin with the ancient Assyrians, Hebrews, and Egyptians who gave or traded sandals as a symbol of good faith when striking a bargain. In the case of marriage, the bargain was the transfer of a father's authority over his daughter, to her new husband. The bride's father would give the groom one of her old shoes and the groom would tap the bride over the head with it. That act symbolized the groom's acceptance of his new responsibility.
There is reference to rice throwing in Roman history, in about 400 B.C. Then, a bridegroom would "say" goodbye to his bachelorhood by distributing walnuts to his "old" friends. That makes walnuts and hazelnuts the forerunners of today's rice and almonds.
Other sources make reference to the tradition in Tudor times of guests throwing shoes at the newly married couple. Presumably, this was done with "good intentions," because it was thought to bring good luck and fertility to the bride and groom, if they or their carriage were hit. This, incidentally, is where the custom of tying old shoes to back of the car may have originated. Yet other theories tell us that the tradition of tying shoes to the bumper of the car originated with "bride-stealing." As a sign of his anger, the bride's father would throw his shoes at the kidnapper groom with the stolen bride. Incidentally, it was also believed that leather had the power to ward off evil spirits!
To the ancient Assyrians, Hebrews, and Egyptians, rice symbolized fruitfulness, so it was "a natural" to be thrown at the new couple, after weddings, as a symbol of good wishes. The origin of throwing confetti over the newlyweds goes back to the Pagan rite of showering the couple with grain, as a symbol of fruitfulness. Pagans held the simple belief that the fertility of the seeds would be transferred to the couple. The symbolism of throwing rice holds same symbolic meaning. Beginning in the Middle Ages, rice became a symbol of fruitfulness amongst many early peoples. The tradition of throwing of rice may also have been a way to ward off evil spirits that hung around near the bride and groom. It may also have its origins in the "food tossing ritual," discussed elsewhere in this article.
In Italian, the word "confetti" comes from the same root word as confectionery and actually refers to sweetmeats, grain and nuts that are covered in sugar and thrown at the newlyweds. More recently, we substituted paper confetti, but today most ceremony sites don't allow confetti because of the cleanup nightmare . . . so wedding bubbles now offer an environmentally safe alternative.
No Rest for the Wicked...
The concept of a reception originated in France and is based on the old custom known as a "charivari" (shiff-a-ree). Traditionally, friends would figure out where the newlyweds were spending their wedding night. They would gather under their window to sing, blow horns, and make as much noise as possible to keep the couple awake.
The clinking of glasses creates a bell like noise. In years past, and by those who are superstitious yet today, that noise is said to repel the devil. Many couples today follow the ritual of kissing as glasses are clinked, taking the opportunity to "connect" when the devil is not around to create havoc.
Bust a move...
The custom of a "First Dance" harkens back to ancient times when the "Bride Kidnapper" would show off his "hunting" skills by parading his "stolen" bride around, in front of his warrior friends, so they could see how well he had done. The feasting would begin immediately after this display. Today, the "First Dance" still traditionally marks the beginning of the reception.
A wedding cake is the traditional centerpiece at the wedding reception. You might find it interesting that originally, the cake was not eaten by, but thrown at the bride! It developed as one of the many fertility traditions surrounding a wedding. Ancient Romans believed that wheat and barley were symbols of fertility and so, wedding cakes included one or both of these ingredients. Incidentally, wheat was among the earliest grains (predating rice) to be ceremoniously showered on the bride and groom. In its earliest origins, the unmarried young women attending the wedding were expected to scramble for the grains to ensure their own betrothals, much as they do today for the bridal bouquet. Somewhere around 100 B.C.E., Roman bakers began creating small, sweet cakes with it. The tradition of pelting the bride, or breaking it over her head, died hard. The Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius in "On the Nature of Things" ("De Rerum Natura") wrote that the throwing tradition mellowed into a custom of crumbling the sweet, wheat cakes over the bride's head. As a further symbol of fertility, the couple was required to eat some of the crumbs, a custom known as "confarreato," translated into "eating together." After all the cakes were used up, the guests were supplied with handfuls of "confetto," a sweet meats mixture of nuts, dried fruit, and honeyed almonds.
The tradition of eating the crumbs of the wheat, sweet meat cakes spread throughout Europe. In England the tradition "broadened" to include the practice of washing down the cakes with a special ale called "bryd ealu," translated as "bride's ale," words that eventually became the word "bridal."
In the Middle Ages when food tossing became rice tossing, the once decorative sweet meat cakes evolved into small biscuits or scones. Guests were encouraged to BYOB (bake/bring your own biscuit) with them to the ceremony. After the wedding, leftovers were distributed among the poor. It is those very simple biscuits and scones that became the forerunner of the elaborate multi-tiered wedding cake we know today. Legend has it that throughout the British Isles it became customary to pile the biscuits, scones, and baked goodies on top of one another in one huge heap. The taller the pile, the more the future prosperity of the young couple, who exchanged a kiss over the mound. In the 1660's, during the reign of King Charles II, a French chef (unfortunately nameless) visited London, and, it is said, was appalled at the cake-piling ritual. It was his idea to transform the messy mound of bland biscuits into a beautiful work of art, an iced, multi-tiered wedding cake
The tradition of saving a piece of wedding cake is an old one, that some couples still hold to today. The custom is said to have originated with the concept that it was a sign of wealth for a couple to freeze the top portion of their wedding cake, thaw it out and eat it on their first anniversary. Most cakes don't freeze well for long periods of time, so couples wishing to practice this lovely tradition, should ask their baker to prepare a freezer-safe layer that will last the year in the freezer.
The Penguin Suit...
Many a groom and usher have pondered the origin of the famous (infamous) tuxedo. It was fashioned after a coat worn by the Prince of Wales, Grisworld Lorillard, a tobacco heir in the late 1800's. He wore a tail-less black dinner jacket to a ball in Tuxedo Park (yes, the one in Orange County). His outlandish style set his contemporaries back on their heels and established a new tradition.
The lovely custom of distributing Wedding Favors has been around since ancient times. In the the late 17th century, guests were given favors such as scarves, garters and gloves. Today, some brides follow the custom of giving each guest five sugar coated almonds as symbols of health, wealth, fertility, happiness and long-life. This custom dates back to a Greek legend about Demophon who fell in love with the Tracian princess, Phyllis. Before the marriage ceremony could take place, Demophon's father died and Demophon returned to Athens for the funeral. He vowed to his beloved that he would return, but seriously miscalculated the amount of time it would take him to go to Athens and return. With him away for more than three months, Phyllis became convinced that he was not going to return and, in despair, took her own life. The gods, the legend tells us, were so moved by her love for Demophon, that they transformed her into an almond tree. Upon his return, the grief stricken Demophon offered a sacrifice to the almond tree, and declared his undying love. The almond tree responded by immediately bursting into blossom. It is for this "reason," that the almond tree has become the symbol of impetuous youth and undying love.
Some also believed that eating five almonds wards off drunkenness and keeps the celebration from getting out of hand.
There is also historical evidence of the practice in 15th century English court. The custom was to give out little boxes of precious metal filled with almonds. The act symbolized good wishes for the coming year.
Can I get a witness...
The wedding guest book was once a necessity. In days of old, everyone who attended a wedding was considered a witness and was required to sign the marriage document. Today, even though the legal requirements for witnesses has changed, the concept of a guest book remains as a wonderful remembrance for the wedding couple.
Ever wonder what the origins are of some of the wedding sayings we are so familiar with today?
"Something Old" symbolizes a link to the bride's family, and their past. The item most often will be a family heirloom that the bride will wear or carry on her wedding day. Perhaps a piece of jewelry or a hankie from her Grandma...The bride may also choose to wear a family member's wedding dress to honor and to represent the “Something Old”. Now a day’s, many options are given to today’s bride to honor this part of the tradition, like sewing a piece of Grandma’s dress into her slip, wearing something in her hair, wearing Grandpa’s watch. Today anything goes! Just don’t let it be the “Ex-boyfriend” sitting in the back row sobbing as he sees his future with you, walking down the aisle with someone else.
"Something New" represents good fortune and success, for a wonderful new life together. A bride may choose to say her shoes are new or her wedding gown, many choose to wear a new piece of jewelry. Some claim the “Husband” themselves are the “NEW” item...Just don’t let it be the “New Rock” on your finger...or the “Baby Bump” that you have kept hidden until now.
"Something Borrowed" symbolizes the love and support of family and friends in times of need. A borrowed object can be a token from friend, such as a lace handkerchief, earrings, hair piece, anything you wish to represent this part of the tradition is completely up to the bride. Again, anything goes with today’s bride. Just remember if you borrow something, give it back, You can’t borrow the best man to dance with all night, at some point you have to give him back to his significant other to go home.
"Something Blue" is an object that symbolizes faithfulness, and loyalty. Most Brides will choose a blue garter or ribbon. Blue is often added to their flowers or even in a made up special drink at their reception. This is probably the most simplest and easiest of the tradition to accomplish. Blue can be added to just about anywhere throughout a wedding. Just don’t get too carried away and expect your groom to be wearing the “Blue Ribbon” for the honeymoon...
"A Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe" is a blessing for wealth. This one is really simple also; the bride can put a dime in her shoe. What you don’t want is everyone giving you a coin to put in your shoe and you sound like the Ghost of Christmas past as you walk down the aisle.
Now you have the origins of Something Old, Something New....My Advice..., Make new traditions and do your own thing!
I came across this article awhile ago ...Thought it was quite humorous!
While some of these things being said here might ring true, not all of it is!
If only we had this information in hand before some of us actually took that walk down the aisle!
Getting married can ease depression, study finds
Lonely? Feeling low? Try taking a walk -- down the aisle. Getting married enhances mental health, especially if you are depressed, according to a U.S. study.
The benefits of marriage for the depressed are particularly dramatic, a finding that surprised the professor-student team behind the study.
We actually found the opposite of what we expected, said Adrianne Frech, a PhD sociology student at Ohio State University who conducted the study with Kristi Williams, an assistant professor of sociology.
They expected to find that one spouses depression weighed too much on the marriage, but just mattering to someone else can help alleviate symptoms of depression, Frech said.
Frech will present their findings at the American Sociological Associations annual meeting in Montreal on Sunday.
The researchers used a 3,066 person sample that measured symptoms of depression -- such as an inability to sleep, or persistent sadness -- in the same people both before and after their first marriage.
They found that depressed people experienced a much more extreme decrease in the incidence of those symptoms.
Depressed people may be just especially in need of the intimacy, the emotional closeness and the social support that marriage can provide ... if you start out happy, you don't have as far to go, Williams said.
On the other hand, if you are not depressed, marriage could have the opposite effect, Frech said.
People who were happy before getting married and end up in a marriage plagued by distance or conflict -- qualities associated with a depressed spouse -- might be better off single.
It seems right to say that people who are not depressed are at risk, that if they marry a depressed person this could be a bad deal for them, Frech said.