Wedding - Common Elements Across Cultures

Common Elements Across Cultures

See also: Wedding customs by country

A number of cultures have adopted the traditional Western custom of the white wedding, in which a bride wears a white wedding dress and veil. This tradition was popularized through the wedding of Queen Victoria. Some say Victoria's choice of a white gown may have simply been a sign of extravagance, but may have also been influenced by the values she held which emphasized sexual purity. Within the modern 'white wedding' tradition, a white dress and veil are unusual choices for a woman's second or subsequent wedding. The notion that a white gown might symbolize sexual purity has been long abandoned, and is criticized by etiquette writers like Judith Martin as distasteful.

The use of a wedding ring has long been part of religious weddings in Europe and America, but the origin of the tradition is unclear. Historians like Vicki Howard point out that belief in the "ancient" quality of the practice are most likely a modern invention. "Double ring" ceremonies are also a modern practice, a groom's wedding band not appearing in the United States until the early 20th century.

The wedding is often followed by a reception or wedding breakfast, in which the rituals may include speeches from the groom, best man, father of the bride and possibly the bride, the newlyweds first dance as spouses, and the cutting of a wedding cake.

Read more about this topic:  Wedding

Famous quotes containing the words common, elements and/or cultures:

    This fond reiteration of the oldest expressions of truth by the latest posterity, content with slightly and religiously retouching the old material, is the most impressive proof of a common humanity.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    The three great elements of modern civilization, gunpowder, printing, and the Protestant religion.
    Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881)

    A two-week-old infant cries an average of one and a half hours every day. This increases to approximately three hours per day when the child is about six weeks old. By the time children are twelve weeks old, their daily crying has decreased dramatically and averages less than one hour. This same basic pattern of crying is present among children from a wide range of cultures throughout the world. It appears to be wired into the nervous system of our species.
    Lawrence Kutner (20th century)