A wedding is one of the biggest days of a person’s life. The commitment made to another human being – to love and honour them and share their life, normally on the understanding that this is a lifetime commitment at least at the time.
So where did this all start?
Why do we go in front of others to make these declarations?
When did it become such a legally binding thing?
And what is available now for couples that wish to tie the knot, get wed, be hand fasted or just make a public commitment about their love for each other?
Let’s look at the history of the Wedding Ceremony 😊
Well marriage has seen many forms – way back in the days of the ancient civilisations’ marriage was quite a formal proposition and was about power and building a larger community or tribe. preferably to another group that was able to bring something to the table. It was rather a patriarchal affair with arrangements being made by the families themselves and little or no say from the participants – especially the women who were married very young.
But it was seen as the thing to do and those that didn’t marry – well they weren’t seen as being in the in crowd at all – in fact the Romans passed a bill in which those that didn’t marry were actually penalised for it… but interestingly if you lived together for a year then that was OK you were , married’ and no ceremony was needed.
Surprisingly as well the church which is now a fundamental part of may wedding days was not so keen – it was seen to be purer and more in line with God if you remained single ( and celibate)…but by the 5th Century the church was heavily involved in may things and it was passing rules about how you lived – the marriage stopped being a civil act and became a religious one.
Here in the United Kingdom handfasting was still popular among the lower classes (rich individuals were very much all about what marriage could give them rather than love) and a priest would oversee this – the part about being committed for a year and day was all about engagement. The couple would normally have to wait around a year for the local priest to travel to their village to conduct the service.
Having got to the point where in Europe everyone had to be married by the church and in front of witnesses the French revolted and as part of their new laws, civil marriage was re-introduced. But there were many restrictions on who could marry and who could not ... marriage was between a man a woman ... it still led to the man really gaining all property and children rights and women were reliant on ‘a good marriage ‘for financial security.
But then after the 2nd world war much changed. Women were taking on different roles and earning their own money, people were becoming open to new ideas ... and slowly (and yes, I admit, in cases very slowly) – things began to change.
As we sit here today with marriage allowed for all and even recently the introduction of civil commitment being made available to opposite sex couples as well as same sex couples it hard to believe that only as late as the 1980’s did we really start to have a shift. People started to live together which was unheard of prior to this… same sex relationships started to be discussed and new laws were needed to cater for changing needs.
Alongside the big changes in the laws for who can marry we have also seen a real shift in the way the wedding day is seen. It used to be a very traditional event with a set way of working. It was a big day but often low key in terms of where it was held, the flowers and perhaps a buffet afterwards at the local hall...
Now especially with the ability for Celebrants to conduct ceremonies in any chosen location and the introduction of the have it all and Instagram world ceremonies are very very different.
Couples can opt for almost anything they wish for to create their perfect day... and capture that perfect moment.
Whether it’s a wedding celebration ceremony, a renewal of vows, a civil partnership or a commitment ceremony there can be no expense spared on making it a day to remember.
Here at Be Celebrational we can make your ceremony as magical as you wish it to be … one word of advise though ... remember why you are getting wed , that this is a day to show your love for each other in any circumstance … the size of the ring , the dress , the party is not the declaration of your love and commitment .. these things will make great pictures for you, but a marriage can be just as strong with a simple service in front of a few witnesses. So, make it the day you want… and let us help make that happen.