In the UK people get married either in a church or a registry office (a local government building). In the US people often get married in a house, a park, a hotel, or wedding chapel, as well as in a church. The traditional wedding, called a white wedding as the bride wears a white dress, takes place in a church.
The Main People at a Wedding
The bride is the woman who is getting married. Traditionally she wears a long white dress and a veil, and carries a bouquet of flowers. She also wears “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” to bring her luck. The bridegroom (also called the groom) is the man who is getting married. He wears a suit, or something a tuxedo in the US, or a morning suit in the UK.
Before the Ceremony
It is considered bad luck if the bridegroom sees the bride on the morning of the wedding. The bridegroom arrives first at the church and waits at the altar with the best man. The best man is responsible for bringing the wedding ring, and there are many jokes about him loosing or forgetting it. The bride arrives at the church in a car with her father. There are often jokes about the bride being late, and the groom being very nervous as he waits and worries that she may not come.
It is traditional for the bride’s farther to give her away (to walk to the front of the church with her and formally give permission for her to marry). The bride and her farther walk slowly up to the aisle and the bridesmaids follow. When the bride and bridegroom are together at the altar, the priest begins the wedding service. He or she asks if there is anyone present who knows of any legal reason why the couple should not get married. Then the bride and groom exchange the traditional vows. It is sometimes possible to change the vows or even white your own. “I, Jane Smith, take thee, David Jones, to be my lawful wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forth, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish forsaking all others, until death do us part.”
The couple then give each other a gold ring and say, “With this ring I thee wed” (I marry you).
At the end of the ceremony, the priest says, “I pronounce you man and wife,” which means that they are officially married. The husband and wife then sign the register (the official record of their marriage).