Old and new wedding customs and traditions in Great Britain and the USA

When a girl accepts a proposal, the man generally gives her a ring in taken of the betrothal. It is

Old and new wedding customs and traditions in Great Britain and the USA

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Культура и искусство

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  1. Wedding Preparations and Forms of Marriage
  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, thats 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:

  1. to carefully study wedding ceremony in Great Britain and in The USA separately and compare them with Russian wedding ceremony;
  2. 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. 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 girls parents should be the first to hear the news; in practice, however, it is often the couples 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 girls mother to invite her daughters future in-laws to a meal or drinks. Quite often, of course the man has been a frequent visitor at the girls 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 girls 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 girls or the mans 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 girls, 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 couples 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 brides church, a certificate of calling of the banns must be obtained from the bridegrooms parish clergyman. The marriage must then take place within three months of the banns being published.

Marriage by Ordinary Licence is a convenient

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