In Christianity, marriages are considered the union between man and woman predestined by God. The sanctity of the institution can be made clear from Jesus’ message, which lays down that wedding is a relationship, a union so real and intimate that ‘the two become one flesh’. Husband and wife are treated one in a Christian marriage. Being so significant to the religious mentor, Christian wedding rituals are conducted in church, amidst all friends and family members. Different sects of Christianity hold different opinions regarding marriage and have diverse ways of conducting it. Like all other marriages Christian weddings also have and post wedding rituals.
Pre Wedding Rituals
The pre wedding rituals consist primarily of engagement ceremony. After this, there is the informal hen party known as the Bridal shower. All the females gather at the bride’s place and rejoice by singing and dancing. They shower gifts on the bride and she offers them a pink cake with a hidden thimble. Whoever gets the piece with the thimble, is supposed to get married next. Just like this, groom celebrates the Bachelor’s party with his male friends.
This is considered a wild party bash, wherein he celebrates his last night as a bachelor. Raising a toast is a must here. At some places, just like the Hindu wedding, the bride and the groom are applied turmeric and sandalwood paste. It is known as Haldaat ceremony. However, in Goa it is known as Ross, wherein the couple is applied coconut paste in place of turmeric. After all these rituals, finally the wedding day arrives.
On the wedding day, the groom sends a car to pick up the bride and waits for her outside the church. After she arrives, the Best man of the groom welcomes her with a bouquet of flowers. Then the couple walks down the corridor gracefully to reach the altar. There the priest awaits them and offers them best wishes. He then reads psalms from the Hoy Bible, which is followed by sermon called Homily on the sacredness of the wedding. Following this, he asks question to the bride and the groom regarding their consent for the marriage.
The couple makes promises to stay with each other through thick and thin and exchange rings. These rings are blessed by the priest first, to instill love and faith between the two. After this the couple is blessed by the gathering and the priest. The wedding concludes by signing on a register and the couple walks down the aisle, arm in arm. A copy of the signed page is later sent to the Registrar of Marriages.
Post Wedding Rituals
The Christian wedding is followed by a Reception, which is a celebration party. It is a grand affair, wherein the couple is welcomed by the guest, with a shower of confetti. After this, the newly-wed couple cuts the wedding cake and feeds each other. The Toastmaster then offers a toast in the honor of the couple. Besides, the Reception party is celebrated with dance and dinner party. In many weddings, there is even a live band present, which plays tunes, for the people to swing on.