Marriage is an ancient and honorable institution, the union of two souls into holy matrimony in the eyes of God, the priest, the town hall, and the town gossips.
From the stately church weddings of Christian culture:
to the quick and simple civil ceremony
In Western society, the Bride's father traditionally gives the bride away. Older, far more enlightened cultures make sure she is paid for in full before the ceremony takes place.
During the marriage ceremony, many vows are exchanged before the priest. Although formerly considered a very serious matter, our modern society has reallised that, as a verbal contract, these are of course completely unenforcable, and are now considered more of a quaint tradition than anything binding.
Normally following a marriage ceremony there will be a reception for the happy couple, with speeches by everyone of importance in the ceremony. The release of the the bride's now bankrupt father from speech making duties is considered an act of charity, allowing him to concentrate on eating and drinking the most expensive meal he has ever paid for in his life.
While our readers may never have one, most are probably familiar with Christian marriage, as shown in seemingly every chick flick ever made. However, all cultures and sub cultures have some form of complex ceremony to celebrate the union of a man and woman into one soul, one mind and one voice - usually hers.
The Hindi Marriage Ceremony
If you think we are going to poke even gentle fun at a ceremony that invokes a pantheon that contains a multi armed, sword wielding god called Shiva the Destroyer, you over-estimate the size of our balls.
One bad motherfucker
The Jewish Ceremony
The Jewish marriage ceremony is the brightest spot in the lives of the chatan (groom) and kallah (bride), for on this day all their past mistakes are forgiven as they merge into a new, complete soul, free to start screwing things up all over again. It is customary for the chatan and kallah not to see each other for one week preceding the wedding - this gives them sufficient practice for many years of married life together. In the Askenazhi tradition, the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom stand together and break a plate - though not the last time crockery will be broken, probably the only time these two will be in agreement about anything. The groom, accompanied by family and friends, proceeds to where the bride is seated and places a veil over her face. This signals the groom's commitment to clothe and protect his wife, and serves the dual subsidiary purposes of preventing a bride switch (see Jacob and the Leah/Rachel mix up) and preventing the groom running in screaming horror from what he is about to combine his life with. The marriage become official when the groom gives the bride an item of value - a ring is normal, but a Mercedes is preferred. As befits an old culture, the marriage contract is then read out. After the recitation of the seven blessings, the chatan breaks a glass under his foot - the first and last time he will not be on the receiving end of breaking crockery and glassware.
The Muslim Marriage Ceremony
Muslim marriages are often arranged marriages, with both the bride and groom having to pass a rigorous selection procedure based on family opinion, social standing, similarity of interests, background, personality and ability to meet the bride price . This normally leads to stable, long lasting marriages. Marriages in Muslim society, though usually carried out by the Imam, may be carried out by any male who knows the words. As befits the culture which kept the light of learning burning during the dark ages, divorce is as simple as marriage. All that is required is for the man to utter the words "I divorce you" three times in a row in the presence of the wife he is divorcing. As a Muslim man may have up to four wives he is rarely going to be uninterrupted long enough to get a divorce.
The Mormon Marriage Ceremony
As with the muslim marriage, the presence of an existing wife is no bar to carrying out the ceremony. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon church, was established by Joseph Smith in 1820, after a meditation in the wilderness. Driven by the voice of God, and the belief that men and women do not already suffer enough in this life, he permitted polygamy.
Best wedding gift - 200 cases of viagra
The Cultic Marriage Ceremony
Cult marriage ceremonies are fairly rare events. The leaders of the cults, no matter what their other beliefs, invariably seem to believe in value for money, and postpone weddings until they can get the bulk discount rate.
The Gay Marriage Ceremony
This has become a hot topic in recent years. Opposition by devout Christians, who wish to reduce the amount of pain and suffering in the world, has lead to a great deal of publicity. However, civilised and sensible discussion and debate in the news media and public forums, primarily sponsored by the Association of Divorce Lawyers, is slowly leading to the right, at least in the west, for homosexuals to be just as miserable as the heterosexual community.
Here are some hard won tips for both sexes for surviving marriage with both your dignity and self confidence intact:
Sorry, we got nothing..........