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A Time To Wed An Analysis of Weddings and Our Need to Have Them
Hail, wedded love, Mysterious law; true source of human happiness. -John Milton The traditions and customs, the pomp and circumstances, the money that is spent – have weddings become a social event or a sacred bond?
History and Origin of Customs and Rituals Cost related to weddings Religion and Marriage Civil Ceremony Marriage and Civil Union Women and marriage in the 1800 s
Customs and Rituals A discussion of the symbolism represented by different rituals included in a wedding suggest that if rituals are consciously chosen and included in the wedding, there may be an important and lasting effect on the marriage. -Barbara Jo Chesser
Wedding Apparel Bridal Gown White is symbolic of virginity. Queen Victoria was married in white rather than silver which was the color used for royal brides. Modern idea is that once the gown has been chosen, the rest of the wedding can be planned. The Veil Symbolizes protected purity-gift wrapping. Pulling the veil back indicates the brides new status as a wife. The Tuxedo Prince of Wales, Grisworld Lorillard Tuxedo Park in Orange County This outlandish style caused a new tradition.
Wedding Ring Oldest Symbol Everlasting love Highest form of trust and power Romans and Greeks Worn on left hand as a symbol of submission and obedience It was believed that a small artery ran from the fourth finger to the artery of the heart Diamond Ring • Ancient Greeks believed that the fire of a diamond reflected the flame of love, they actually thought them to be teardrops from the gods. • Roman – Diamonds to be splinters from the falling stars that tipped the arrows of Eros. • Puritans –the power of the ring revealed its true superstition and heathen origins, they wanted to ban rings.
Bridal Bouquet During Greek and Roman times only fragrant herbs were used. They were placed in the brides hair to ward off evil spirits. Victorian times the bouquet replaced the herbs In Medieval times Knights would wear their “Ladies” colors.
Wedding Cake Roman times the cake • Cutting the cake was composed of wheat, water and salt. Wheat was a symbol for fertility Small loaves of wheat bread were crumbled over the heads of the bride and groom Considered good luck for guests to take home crumbs from the cake. signifies the sharing of lives between the bride and groom. • When guest eat the cake it is to ensure good luck
Bridesmaids and Ushers Roman law Required ten witness to be present Bridesmaids and ushers dresses identical to the bride and groom to confuse evil spirits who presumably would then not know who was getting married. 17 th Century The duty of the attendants increased Undress the bride and groom and saw to the “placing of the couple side by side in bed. ”
Business of Marriage Fathers used their daughters as currency Pay off debt to a wealthy • land owner Symbolize a sacrificial, monetary peace offering to an opposing tribe Buy their way into a higher social strata A father ‘owned’ his daughter until he had chosen a worthy marriage partner to give her away to. Roman marriage vows were made between the groom and his father-in-law. Medieval times • Process of making marriage required elements of ritual expression. • Property rights made valid with the public act of a church wedding • A contract made through marriage was a formal binding contract • In ancient times the kiss was legally binding and signified mutual acceptance of the contract of marriage.
1939 Survey of 154 couples Ring - $2. 50 to $200 Stationary - $16. 75 Lowest- $7. 00 Highest - $1, 927 Average - $392. 30 Clergy - 133 Judge - 21 Average for 2008 Wedding Planner Ring - $3, 000 Stationary - $400 Clergy/Justice of the Peace -$250 Average - $24, 000 *This does not include the Rich and Famous weddings
Religion and Marriage Catholic Faith • Christian marriage is a communal event • If a marriage is to be blessed, the ceremony needs to be performed in the church • The community agrees to help and support the couple • Begins with a prayer of support from the community • The Chapel is considered a “House of the Lord” and is where the “Blessed Sacrament, the Real Presence of Christ is Reserved” • Have been occasions where a Priest has refused to perform ceremonies out of the Church.
Religion and Marriage Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints • LDS faith believes in marriage for time and eternity • Marriage is conducted in LDS Temple • Covenant is made between the couple and God • Not a one-time event that guarantees marital success and happiness –only through their continual faithfulness to God’s commandments. • Interview process • Protects those who are found worthy as well as those who are not ready or willing to make important covenants with God.
Marriage Counseling Protestant faiths require marriage counseling before marriage to help the couple prepare for marriage. Marriage counseling is a new and timely aid to help alleviate marital strife
Civil Ceremony • Many couples choose to be married by a civil servant • Friend or family member • Bride and groom belong to different religions • The pledge and commitment made is no less sacred
Definition of Marriage “The state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law” Civil Union “The legal status that ensures to same-sex couples specified rights and responsibilities of married couples”
Marriage and Civil Union Difference Marriage is recognized by church and state Marriage is socially accepted. “Marriage is as soluble as sugar is to water. ” Theorist Michel Foucault “As if in order to gain mastery over it in reality, it had first been necessary to subjugate it at the level of language. ” Concept is that once society applies meaning to a word, it is then that the word has power.
Women and Marriage in the Nineteenth Century Idea of the Spinster took shape in the literature of 1800 s Unattractive Slightly hysterical Often unhealthy Many women of the time chose not to marry and created a major social problem
Women and Marriage in the Nineteenth Century Role of women Wife Mother Caretaker Spinster • Completely dependant on her family for monetary support • Working class – textiles or domestic work • Genteel class - Governess Wealthy Families No benefit to have daughters' marry Remained celibate to benefit the family Take over head of household Found lives fulfilling and satisfying Older brother served as surrogate husband Dedicated lives to their family
Why Do We Marry? Marriage is no longer a economic institution but a choice There are some who say that those who are married have good health, both physical as well as mental through the act of marriage. E. J. Graff said that marriage is “the single most important relationship that human beings throughout history have had: the one in which we share our bodies and our lives. ”
Conclusion If a wedding is a social spectacle with all of the trimmings or a simple affair with a Judge, the sacred and legal promises and covenants made that day between two people fulfill our need as human beings to share and express our love and commitment for one another.
“Marriage is the most natural state of man, and. . . The state in which you will find solid happiness. ” -Benjamin Franklin