Weddings are celebrated in many different ways based on a couples religion, belief, country, culture, social class or ethnic group. In some cases, mixed marriage between couples of different background celebrates both traditions. The importance of marriage is that it binds two people socially and legally.
In Christian teaching, the purpose of marriage is to procreate. Other culture allows polygamy and is considered to be legal so long as they can provide for their different families. When a couple decides to get married, a wedding celebration is expected and all friends and families of both parties are invited.
In a wedding ceremony, wedding vows are exchanged by the couple that is publicly proclaimed by a leader. Priests, pastors and other religious leaders head the celebration in a religious community. A public official such as the mayor can perform civil marriages. Presentation of gifts such as rings, money, symbolic items or flowers by the couple to one another is an important part in the celebration. A wedding reception usually follows after the couple is officially married.
Wedding couples and their entourage wear special clothes to celebrate the event. The traditional white wedding dress and veil worn by the bride was popularized by Queen Victoria. It is said to be a sign of sexual purity. Nowadays, a white wedding dress is viewed as a fashion statement. Other countries and cultures have their own special wedding clothes. Japanese wear their traditional garment Kimono. Koreans also wear their traditional garment called Hanbok. In India, their traditional dress is called Sari. Grooms usually wear formal black coat and tie. In the UK, it is called a White Tie.
The wedding ring originally came from European culture. Women were the only ones who used it but in the 20th century, it became customary for the couple to wear wedding rings. In pre-wedding customs, an engagement ring is given by the man to a woman as a betrothal present.
In a Christian wedding, the ceremony is often held in a church presided by a priest or a pastor. The ceremony is based on the bible. In India, Hindu wedding lasts several days depending on the social class or caste. A Hindu priest called Brahmin is present to witness the wedding. In Jewish customs, wedding celebration lasts for seven days. The groom breaks a glass underfoot when the ceremony ends. Muslim weddings follow the Quran teachings. Muslim weddings should be declared publicly.