Post # 1
Here’s a potentially contentious post… I made an observation to my father and stepmother the other day. Observation was as follows: when I compare every wedding I’ve been to, more religious weddings tend to have a bride and groom who are:
– Less likely to give the bride away
– Less likely to have the bride change her name
– Less likely to have submission vows (eg “I promise to love, honour, and obey”)
– More likely to observe other egalitarian practises eg bride gives a speech at the reception etc etc
My stepmother thinks this is because religious couples within the UK are probably couples who are more likely to have thought more completely about things like symbolism. This is because being religious is not the norm within the UK, so religious people tend to be more reflective (I appreciate that this may be the reverse in other parts of the world).
Post # 3
I find the reverse to be true of my experiences with weddings in the US.
Post # 4
@SoupyCat: Well, I did rather expect this to be the case, because I suspect that being religious to some degree is the norm within the US!
Our issues have often been with people who are often very secular, which I find odd. We’ve had problems where people have said stuff like:
– My advice is to start chasing your paperwork to change your name now, because it takes so long!
– I’m not changing my name after I marry.
– Seriously? LMAO! Does your church even allow that?
– They have no official position. I don’t want to. Therefore, I’m not doing it.
– But you’re having a religious wedding!
– That’s because we’re religious.
– But you’re not really religious, are you? Translation: you don’t stand in the centre of the road screaming that “Jesus is Lord” and that everyone else is “going to hell”.
– Well, Fiance was originally going to be a priest, and I was originally going to be a missionary, so I would say we’re quite religious, yeah. But that doesn’t mean I want my Dad to give me away in an [insert description here] traditional ceremony, or that I plan on changing my name.
– *confusion* *does not compute*
Post # 5
Yeah, I find the reverse to be true of all the weddings I’ve ever attended. I’m also from the US.
Post # 6
Fellow Brit here, and I agree with you. It also matches my observations.
Post # 7
@Rachel631: traditional weddings are religious weddings… do you mean secular?
Post # 8
I live in the US, and am having a Catholic ceremony. My priest actually talked about a lot of the traditions that have originated around weddings, and whether or not they really match what a marriage should mean.
-I will not be “given away.” Fiance and I are both walking down the aisle, with both of our parents.
-I’m not wearing a blusher
-I am not promising to obey
– I am changing my name, but it was after a lot of thought!
-We will not be partaking in any overtly sexist or anti-homosexual traditions.
I believe I am the exception though. I think it is because faith does not come easily for Fiance or I. Most of the things we practice are a decision, not a blind following.
ETA: I wish more religious people in the US were like you say they are in the UK. I live in the southern part of the US. Here it seems like you are either an athiest/agnostic, or are a Christian who thinks everyone else is going to hell, and that women should be subordinate to their husbands. It makes finding like-minded individuals nearly impossible.
Post # 9
@Persephone: I was wondering if I was the only one!
@subtlebee: By traditional, I mean things like submission vows, bride changing her name, bride not speaking at the reception, bride being given away, bride being walked down the aisle.
@Follydust321: Sadly, the rather extreme, charismatic Christianity is gaining pace in the UK as well, especially amongst young people. I find it odd, because Brits tend to shy away from extremes… we are a moderate and conservative (with a small “c”) people by nature. I wouldn’t have thought that that style of religion would be popular, but it is gaining in popularity. I also find that I have to put up with a lot of abuse from evangelical atheists. For some reason, it is not acceptable here for people to tell others they are going to hell, but it is acceptable for people to say that religion is the ultimate evil etc etc. I would explain the logic of that to you if I could.
On a lighter note… the blusher debate. I think they are beautiful. But I don’t like the symbolism. So I need to decide whether my values or my vanity will win out. It is a surprisingly difficult choice… I never realised that I was so vain before now!
Post # 10
@Rachel631: lol, sounds like religious to me!
Post # 11
@subtlebee: Well, the Catholic church has not officially allowed people to make submission vows since the 1980s (it might have been 1977, but I can’t remember exactly). Some churches stopped permitting submission vows as far back as the 1940s. In fact, the only time I have seen them used at all was in a secular ceremony.
No church, as far as I am aware, has any official position on the bride changing her name at all. Neither do they have any position on the bride giving speeches… in the most religious wedding I have been to recently, the bride did indeed give a speech.
I’m not sure what the position on brides being given away is, but I do know that my Grandmother’s sister was married in a Catholic church, and they did not permit my Great Grandfather to give her away. I don’t know why… it sounds quite odd to me, but I do believe her when she says it. My parents are also very religious, but my mother was never given away. It is part of the marriage ceremony in some (but not all) churches, but I’ve never heard of any official requirement that the father has to give the bride away… in theory, she could do it herself perfectly well.
A lot of things which some people think are religious are not, in fact, rellgious at all. They’re just traditional! When I think religion, I think prayer, hymns, sermons, a minister, churches, and Bible readings. Most other things… are really traditional rather than religious.
Post # 12
@Rachel631: right but traditionally they all pretty much did. thats why a traditional ceremony is considered religious. a secular ceremony is considered non-traditional and non-religious.
Post # 13
@subtlebee: I wouldn’t necessarily consider a religious ceremony traditional at all, or a secular ceremony to be non-traditional. For example, I’ve been to a secular ceremony where the had submission vows, the bride was given away, the bride wore a white dress and a veil, the bride didn’t speak at the reception, and the bride took the groom’s last name. I would say that that was a non-religious, traditional ceremony.
Equally, I went to a religious wedding where the bride kept her name, wasn’t given away, spoke at the reception, didn’t wear white etc etc. I would say that that was a religious, non-traditional ceremony.
Things like taking the groom’s name are not Biblical at all. Old Testament women would have kept their clan name, for example. The tradition of changing one’s name stems from medieval property laws, and is comparatively recent. But if you go back several centuries, then brides would not have taken the groom’s name during a church ceremony, for example. What you think of as a “traditional” church ceremony is not as old as you think at all… many wedding traditions are comparatively recent, and are found within both religious and secular ceremonies. Also, the idea of the secular ceremony is quite old, as well. Secular ceremonies are not as recent an invention as you might thiink.
Post # 14
@Rachel631: well just because you take some traditions without the initial meaning behind them doesn’t alter its origins. Also just because you leave out tradition but keep religion doesnt change the origins of the act.
Weddings are basically all religous ceremonies be they native american, christian, hindu etc.It is only fairly recently that non-religous wedding even occured (when governments started legal marriages)
This is why I cautioned you from traditional vs religious as they are one in the same. The real question should either be specific traditions from specific religions or religous vs secular.
Post # 15
@subtlebee: But that’s exactly what I am saying… none of the traditions I mentioned above have religious origins at all, with the exception of submission vows. The others started as traditions, and were later incorporated into a religious ceremony. In themselves, they have nothing to do with religion at all. They didn’t originate as part of a religious tradition in any way. The “initial meaning behind them” is NOT religious.
Also, certainly within Europe, the concept of a secular ceremony is centuries old. Secular ceremonies have been around since pre-Roman times. Indeed, some of our traditions originate within the secular ceremony, not the religious one! They were added to religious ceremonies later, but that’s not where they come from.
Post # 16
@Rachel631: we may have different ideas of what religion is, pagan rituals are religous in my definition as a social scientist.
Also the things you mentioned did start as religous traditions. non-religous traditions were kidnap girl have sex with her, shes yours. Religon formalied that and created ceremonies for wealthier citiens and that trickled down to the common people as religion expanded.
In native american tribes the rituals were different but also started at the higher level and trickled down to the common tribe folk.