Ceremony & Vows Wedding Traditions and Customs, A-J
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Wedding Traditions and Customs, A-J

There are many kinds of weddings in the U.S. Most are based on cultural or religious traditions brought to our “nation of immigrants” from around the world. The trend today is to incorporate such cultural wedding ceremony traditions and customs into wedding planning. So if you tell people your wedding will be traditional, be prepared to explain exactly what you mean — there are dozens of possibilities. Here are just a few interesting tidbits, descriptions and rituals that can comprise American cultural wedding traditions and customs.

African-American Wedding Traditions and Customs
In an African-American wedding ceremony, the couple’s wrists can be bound with braided grass, thus ”tying the knot.” They dip their fingers in a mix of honey and bitter herbs that symbolize the bittersweet aspects of married love. Often they “jump the broom,” which hearkens back to the days of slavery, to signify the formal start of their marriage.

Amish Wedding Ceremony Traditions and Customs
The Amish groom doesn’t give his fiance an engagement ring. Instead, he gives china or a clock. They’re married in November or December after first being “published” aloud in. The bride’s gown is unadorned and blue. She’ll be buried in the same outfit. Hymn singing follows while the minister counsels the couple in a separate room. Prayer, Scripture readings and a lengthy sermon follow.

German Wedding Ceremony Traditions and Customs
The ”umbrella dance” is the first dance for the German bride and groom. At the entrance to the reception, guests sign a white umbrella with colorful markers. When it’s time for the dance, the umbrella is presented to the newlyweds, who hold it over their heads during a waltz while guests throw confetti at them.

Hindu Wedding Traditions and Customs
The Hindu bride and groom exchange floral garlands, then blessings are asked, protective amulets are tied on their wrists and each family lineage is recited. The bride’s father offers her in marriage; the groom accepts by tying a pendant around her neck. After more offerings and sacrifices in a ceremonial fire, they lead each other around the fire seven times to signify their walk together through life. The groom applies vermilion to the part of her hair to signify her married status, the priest give a benediction and the couple is showered with rice.

Irish Wedding Ceremony Traditions and Customs
The traditional Irish bride carries a small horseshoe in her bouquet or sewn into her wedding dress, which often is red. This dates back to when iron was believed to be a sign of good fortune. Traditional Irish wedding cakes are fruit cakes. Their richness symbolizes blessings for wealth and prosperity. The top layer is saved until the christening of the couple’s first child.

Italian Wedding Ceremony Traditions and Customs
Before the wedding, the Italian bride assembles a trousseau of household items, her clothing and perhaps her groom’s clothes. The trousseau and money are taken to the groom’s home as a dowry. In recent years, this dowry custom may have been replaced with the more familiar bridal shower and bachelor party.

Jewish Wedding Ceremony Traditions and Customs
The bride and groom, their attendants and families gather beneath the “chuppah,” or marriage canopy. The couple takes a ceremonial sip of wine to signify commitment, The rabbi blesses them, then the bride receives a gold ring from the groom. The marriage contract is read and presented by the groom to the bride. The Seven Blessings are given, another symbolic sip of wine is taken, and the groom crushes a napkin-wrapped glass with his foot in memory of the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem.

To learn more see, Wedding Traditions and Customs, K-V