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Old and new wedding customs and traditions in Great Britain and the USA (стр. 1 из 3)




1.1 Wedding Preparations and Forms of Marriage

1.2 The Ceremony


2.1 American Wedding Traditions

2.2 The Ceremony





There are a lot of different customs and traditions in Great Britain and in the USA. Most of them are very beautiful and old. But we study the most old and beautiful in our term paper. In our opinion wedding ceremony is one of the most importance events in the life of people, that’s why the theme of our term paper is always currently central. Also, this theme is of great interest for us, because we want to know as much as possible about the English speaking countries. Marriage traditions are changing with the course of time, and in our work we want to follow up these changes.

The subject of our work is the studying of old and new wedding customs and traditions in Great Britain and the USA.

The object of our work is wedding traditions, preparations and main parts of ceremony both in Great Britain and the USA. The objective of our work is to find similarities and differences between British, American and Russian wedding, describe British and American ceremonies in all their beauty and find out what parts of ceremonies are going from long-ago and what is new in them.

To achieve the objective we set the following tasks:

- to carefully study wedding ceremony in Great Britain and in The USA separately and compare them with Russian wedding ceremony;

- to stand out the main parts of ceremonies and describe their characteristic features.

The theme is up-to-date because people are still get married by the old traditions and keep up all the aspects of ceremony.

The theoretical applicability is that this work contains detailed descriptions of all the sides of ceremony, which help us to get to know a lot about this beautiful

ceremony. The practical applicability consists in consideration of ceremony as ancient hangover.

The research novelty consists in definition of problem and new ways of its solution.

To write this work we studied a question from all sides with particular focus on scientific and history literature.

The work consists of 2 chapters, items, conclusion and the list of used literature.

They are maintained in the belief that they will bring good luck and happiness to the couple at a time when their lives are changing, hopefully for the better.

In the past when the marriage proposal was a more formal procedure, the prospective groom sent his friends or members of his family to represent his interests to the prospective bride and her family. If they saw a blind man, a monk or a pregnant woman during their journey it was thought that the marriage would be doomed if they continued their journey as these sites were thought to be bad omens.


wedding tradition british american

1.1 Wedding Preparations and Forms of Marriage

In Britain the custom of becoming engaged is still generally retained, though many young people dispense with it, and the number of such couples is increasing. As a rule, an engagement is announced as soon as a girl has accepted a proposal of marriage, but in some cases it is done a good time afterwards. Rules of etiquette dictate that the girl’s parents should be the first to hear the news; in practice, however, it is often the couple’s friends who are taken into confidence before either of the parents. If a man has not yet met his future in-laws he does so at the first opportunity, whereas his parents usually write them a friendly letter. It is then up to the girl’s mother to invite her daughter’s future in-laws to a meal or drinks. Quite often, of course the man has been a frequent visitor at the girl’s house long before the engagement, and their families are already well acquainted.

When a girl accepts a proposal, the man generally gives her a ring in taken of the betrothal. It is worn on the third finger of the left hand before marriage and together with the wedding ring after it. Engagement rings range from expensive diamond rings to rings with Victorian semi-precious stones costing only a few pounds. In most cases the engagement itself amounts only to announcements being made to the parents on both sides and to friends and relations, but some people arrange an engagement party, and among the better-off people it is customary to put an announcement in the newspaper. In the book “Etiquette” the author writes that “as soon as congratulations and the first gaieties of announcement are over, a man should have a talk with the girl’s father about the date of their wedding, where they will live, how well off he is and his future plans and prospects.” Nowadays this is often not done, one of the reasons begin that today the young people enjoy a greater degree of financial independence than they used to, to be able to decide these matters for themselves. However, in working class families, where the family ties are still strong and each member of the family is more economically dependent upon the rest, things are rather different. Quite often, particularly in the larger towns the couple will have no option but to live after marriage with either the girl’s or the man’s people. Housing shortage in Britain is still acute, and the rents are very high. It is extremely difficult to get unfurnished accommodation, whereas a furnished room, which is easier to get costs a great deal for rent. In any case, the young couple may prefer to live with the parents in order to have a chance to save up for things for their future home. But if the young people, particularly those of the higher-paid section of the population, often make their own decision concerning the wedding and their future, the parents, particularly the girl’s, still play an important part in the ensuing activities, as we shall see later.

The period of engagement is usually short, three or four months, but this is entirely of choice and circumstances. As early as the sixteenth, up to the nineteenth century, marriages were arranged by parents or guardians. The bride and bridegroom often were not acquainted until their marriage. The parents often made the marriage arrangements and betrothals while the bride and bridegroom were small children (ages three to seven). The children would continue to live with their own parents and meet from time to time for meals or holiday celebrations.

These prearranged marriages came under fire in the late seventeenth century when a judge held that betrothals and marriages prior the age of seven were "utterly void". However, they would be valid if, after the age of seven, the children called each other husband and wife, embraced, kissed each other, gave and received Gifts of Token. Later, young couples ran away and had a ceremony privately performed without banns or license. These elopements and private ceremonies represented the beginning of a revolt against parental control of marital selection. The Civil Marriage Act of 1653, passed by the Puritans under Cromwell, required a civil ceremony before a justice of the peace after presentation of the certificate from the parish register that banns had been published. If either party were under twenty-one, proof of parental consent must also be presented. The wedding ceremony consisted of a simple formula to be repeated by the man and woman and was accompanied by hand fastening. The use of a ring was forbidden.

By the Hardwicke Act of 1753, all weddings, except members of the royal family, were to be performed only after publication of banns or issuance of a license, only during the morning hours of eight to twelve, only in an Anglican Church or chapel, and only before an Anglican clergyman. Two or more witnesses were required and a register must be kept. Parental consent was demanded unless the banns had been published.

The Catholic Church, in the Council of Trent, restated its position that marriage was one of the seven sacraments and therefore could not be dissolved.

Up until the early 1990's, it was very difficult to get married in Great Britain. If one wishes to marry in England or Wales, they must do so in a church which has a register, (which is like a special license), and they can do so only in the district (shire) where one of the couple resides. All Church of England parishes (Anglican) are automatically registered, regardless of their size. No blood tests or counseling are required. In England and Wales there are four forms of marriage: by banns, by ordinary licence, by special licence and by a registrar.Marriage by Banns is the form most usually adopted. Banns must be called for three consecutive Sundays in the parish churches of both the future bride and the groom unless they both live in the same parish. They must have been resident for at least fifteen days previous to the first publication of the banns. There is a small fee for the certificate of banns.

The clergyman at the church where the marriage is to take place must be notified by letter of the couple’s intention to marry, of their names and addresses and how long they have resided I their parishes. If one of the parties is a minor, a letter of consent must be obtained from the Superintendent Registrar of the district. If the marriage is to take place in the bride’s church, a certificate of calling of the banns must be obtained from the bridegroom’s parish clergyman. The marriage must then take place within three months of the banns being published.

Marriage by Ordinary Licence is a convenient alternative to the publications of banns. In London, application must be made by one party to the Faculty Office, where he will swear that he does not know of any impediment to the marriage such as being legally married to another or consanguineous relationship, and that one of the parties has live for at least fifteen days in the parish of the church where the marriage is to take place. A licence is valid in England and Wales for three months after the date of issue. Outside London, it can be obtained from any Bishop’s Registry Office in a cathedral town or from a Superintendent registrar in the district of residence. The licence is granted without previous notice and is available as soon as it is issued, but the marriage must take place I a church named on the licence. Marriage by Special Licence costs 5 pounds and can be obtained only for special reasons such as suddenly being sent abroad. It is never granted lightly. Application must be made in person by one of the parties at the Faculty Office. The marriage can then take place at any time and in any place, celebrated by the rites of the church, and residence qualifications are unnecessary.

Marriage by a Registrar can be celebrated, without any religious ceremony, at a registry office. Notice must be given by one of the parties of the intended marriage, if both have resided in the district for seven days immediately preceding the notice. If one has lived in another district, notice must be given to his or her local registrar. The certificate is issued twenty-one days after the notice has been given. It might be traditional to be a June bride, but marrying in peak time means fighting to secure must-have bookings before hundreds of other brides and grooms. Planning an autumn or winter wedding's a great way of standing out from the crowd and carries hidden benefits that'll make you glad you waited until summer was over. The biggest upside to an off-peak wedding has to be the cost. You can shave thousands off hotel and function room bills by booking out of high season, and there's unlikely to be as much competition for your desired venue as the days grow colder. Suppliers including caterers, photographers and transport specialists often offer similar discounts, so be sure to shop around for a good deal.

The same argument applies to guests, who will be delighted to get an invitation to an event that doesn't conflict with their summer holiday or other weddings on the same weekend. And the stunning alternative scenery's a big plus - marrying outdoors as the trees begin to turn their leaves or against a spectacular snow and frost-covered backdrop will add a fantastic edge to your photos.

Of course, you only find turning leaves and snow when the weather gets colder, which can make the idea of a late-season wedding less appealing. If you're still planning to hold an outdoor ceremony, ensure you've organized a contingency venue, preferably nearby, so unpredictable weather conditions don't spoil your plans. Colour is all-important as the days get greyer, so avoid pastel shades when you're planning your colour scheme. Traditional autumn hues such as deep red, orange, yellow and copper will look gorgeous in flower arrangements, bridesmaids' outfits or as part of your table decoration, while winter whites are well set off by silver, gold or rich jewel colours like burgundy, dark green or midnight blue.

Summer weddings make the most of sunshine and flowers, so it's a good idea to work with what you've got around you in terms of decoration. If your chosen autumn venues got a lot of trees, ask the co-ordinator when they're likely to be on the turn (although places famed for their foliage often charge more money for the privilege.) Have large arrangements of multi-coloured leaves instead of flowers, scatter them over tables, or even try adding a few to your bouquet.

Snow's an increasingly remote prospect for most of us in winter, but don't ignore your natural surroundings. Hang swags of greenery along aisles and dust tables with white rose petals to imitate the effects of a snowfall. Mistletoe clusters will look great as decorations - and can be hung in strategic areas for an extra splash of romance. Since the Civil Partnership Act came into force in December 2005, same-sex couples have been allowed to form a legally recognised partnership and become 'civil partners', affording them similar legal rights to those as married couples. In England and Wales there are more than 4 million couples co-habiting, and although co-habitees are legally protected in some areas, they are significantly worse off than those who are married or are civil partners.

Despite the widely held belief that once a couple have been living together for a number of years they become 'common law' husband and wife, more and more people are finding out to their cost that couples who simply live together have barely any rights comparable to those who are married or have formed civil partnerships.

Before civil partnerships came into force there was no way that a same-sex couples could enjoy similar legal recognition of their relationship in England and Wales. Neither could they have the same protection, benefits and responsibilities as married couples - but this all changed on 5 December 2005 when the Civil Partnership Act 2004 became a reality.

So in a nutshell, the Civil Partnership Act allows same-sex couples to be legally recognised as partners, and affords them equality to heterosexual married couples in terms of legal rights which cover a wide range of areas.

Before a civil partnership can be formed, the couple involved must notify the registration authority of their intention to register a civil partnership. When the notice has been given, the authority will publicise it for 15 days, after which, the partnership can be formed at approved premises (including registry offices) in England and Wales.

1.2 The Ceremony

In Scotland people over the age of sixteen do not require their parents consent in order to marry. Marriage is performed by a minister of any religion after the banns have been called on two Sundays in the districts where the couple had lived for at least fifteen days previously. Weddings may take place in churches or private houses.

Alternatively, the couple may give notice to the registrar of the district in which they have both lived for fifteen days previously. The registrar will issue a

Certificate of Publication, which is displayed for seven days, and it will be valid for three months in any place in Scotland.

Marriage at a registry office in Scotland requires a publication of notice for seven days or a sheriff’s licence, as publication of banns is not accepted. Such a licence is immediately valid but expires after ten days. One of the parties must have lived in Scotland for at least fifteen days before the application, which is often prepared by a solicitor.

As soon as the wedding date has been decided the couple will think about the kind of wedding they want. Though comparatively few young people nowadays regularly attend church, most girls still dream of a white wedding, with its solemn ceremony, bridesmaids and the rest. There is no equivalent in England of our Palaces of Weddings, and civic ceremonies in a registry office are very dull. But what with the church fees which are extremely high and other extra expenses, a white wedding costs a great deal of money, so a couple may decide against it on these grounds.

There are practically no special customs attached to weddings at a registry office. For these reason attention will be mainly given to church weddings, with their age-old ritual and customs. However, the reader should bear in mind that by no means all the customs concerning the preparation for a wedding or the wedding ceremony itself are necessarily maintained, quite often reasons of economy.

The rules are not absolutely hard and fast, but generally they are the follows.