Wedding traditions in the USA

Wedding Traditions: A Cultural History
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Some form of marriage is known to have existed in all human societies. Since children have a long period of dependency, there has always been a need to organize adults into cooperative groups for training them. Thus matrimony is a convenient means of stabilizing sexual relations and providing care for the young. Because of the critical function of marriage, each human society establishes rules for the selection and means of acquiring a mate, rather than leaving thhe search to chance.
Traditionally in patriarchal societies, where children and property descend in the husband’s line, the preferred method of acquiring a wife has been through payment of a ”bride price” to the father in exchange for the children she will bring to the union. In most societies, marriages have been viewed as alliances between families rather than individuals, and the union has usually been formalized symbolically. Among Romans, Greeks and early Jews, gold wedding rings-perhaps the most common symbol off marriage signified the groom’s pledge of betrothal, and were given as payment to the father of the bride.
Similarly, Western marriage vows have long reflected the concept of the wife as her husband’s property by calling for a pledge of ob

bedience on the part of the bride. Even today in many Western societies the bride’s father escorts his daughter to the altar and figuratively 11 gives her away.” The bride’s adoption of the groom’s name moreover remains the custom in most patriarchal societies.
Although the tradition of marriage by purchase has died out in Europe and North America, the practice of negotiating a “bride price” has continued until recently in the Far East and in Moslem countries and is still carried on in some areas. Traditionally among Hmong tribespeople in Laos a woman belonged to her husband, and a childless wife could leave her husband only after the bride price had been fully repaid. The several kinds of marriages practiced in West Affrica included “bond” marriages where the wife became the property of her husband and her children, his heirs. if he died before she did, one of his heirs inherited her as a wife.
A variant on the theme of bride purchase is the reputed practice of “bride capture.” A traditional ritual (Umykannia) at Ukrainian weddings involves a mock abduction of the bride and a skirmish between the families of the bride and groom. This drama is considered a vestige of behavior pr
rompted by a shortage of women among early nomadic peoples in the area that is now Ukraine. Other groups as well, including Slovaks and the Hmong, have traditionally enacted “hunts” or “abductions” of the bride as part of the wedding celebration.
Very few cultures have allowed individuals to choose their own mates. The families of the couple have traditionally arranged the majority of marriages throughout the world.
Arranged marriages are still found in parts of the Mediterranean region, India, and the Far and Middle East. Typically parents arranged marriages in order to achieve a socially appropriate match and/or economic advantages. Often the bride, and sometimes the groom, has had no part in the decision as in many cases the couple’s first meeting takes place at the wedding.
Arranged marriages often have necessitated the employment of intermediaries. The musical Fiddler on the Roof made legendary the role of the Jewish matchmaker, properly called shadchan, and in Japan prior to World War 1, the bride’s parents hired a baishakunin (“go-between”) to find a suitable spouse for their daughter. Macedonian families also employed the service of a matchmaker to negotiate on their behalf while Hindu matches have traditionally been arranged by a ghatak, a respected, elderly ma
an who might or might not be a relative of one or both families.
Despite her usual lack of opportunity to choose a mate, a measure of protection for the bride figured into the marriage practices of many cultures. Indeed that has been one function of the bride’s dowry. To guarantee a suitable match or provide insurance against divorce or widowhood, a woman’s family supplied her with a dowry consisting of goods, lands, or money. Often the arrangement was formalized by contract. Thus traditional Jewish weddings included a
ketubbah, a deed which under the rabbi’s authority transcribed the terms of the marriage agreement and guaranteed the wife her dower rights. In Southern Italy nineteenth-century custom provided for dowries for daughters and “gifts” for sons while among some groups, such as Greeks, the groom was required to provide a cash match for the bride’s dowry as a form of social security.
In Wales, Holland, Scandinavia, Normandy, Eastern Europe and other places the bride’s trousseau (from the French word trousseau or “bundle”)-the clothing and household goods essential for the establishment of a new home-was accumulated in a marriage chest or “hope chest.” By contrast, at betrothal parties in nineteenth-century Japan it was the groom’s fa
amily who presented the bride with her wedding kimono-decorated with his family crest-along with a dress kimono, shoes, hair ornaments, sake, and fish. In Southern Italy it was traditional for the groom to match the items of clothing in a bride’s trousseau with a corresponding number of articles for his own wardrobe, but the bride was still responsible for providing the bed, in the words of Guiseppi Pitre, “the chief household article, the pivot of the home, from which will rise up the future family.” Over time, then, the concept of trousseau has given rise to the modern bridal shower just as the bridal dance, in which male guests pay to dance with the bride at the wedding reception, has evolved from the Eastern European custom which required the bride’s dancing partners to contribute to her dowry.
Most wedding ceremonies, traditional and modern alike, include rituals which symbolically create a union. For instance, conventional Hindu weddings include a ritual called kanyadan, where the hands of a couple are tied with red thread over a pot containing water, leaves, fruits, and flowers, symbolizing the essentials of life. Similarly, Cambodian tradition calls for each guest to tie a string around the couple’s wrists.

At Ukrainian weddings a ritual cloth (rushnyk) is used for wrapping around their wrists during the ceremony, and the Basuto of South Africa use strips of the dewlap of a slaughtered ox for a similar purpose. For various portions of Greek and Thai weddings, the couple wears crowns that are linked together by a ribbon or string. These and other similar forms of binding create a physical joining among the bridal couple, symbolic of a more spiritual union.
May and June are popular months for weddings in the United States, but Italians traditionally believed that marrying in May would end in widowhood because May was the Virgin Mary’s month and so was unsuitable for marriage. In many rural cultures weddings took place after the harvest when there was a lull in the workload and plenty of food available for the festivities. In the same spirit, an Irish proverb held that marriage during the harvest meant, ‘‘you’ll have no rest from worries or work.” instead, for the Irish, winter was matchmaking time and marriages were expected to take place during Shrovetide (the three days prior to Lent), as the sacrament of matrimony was prohibited during Lent. The Chinese usually considered the first new moon of the year or the season of the first peach blossom an auspicious time for marriage while in Japan the tenth, eleventh, or twelfth lunar months were favored.
Although for Americans covering the bride’s face with a veil has come to represent innocence and purity, the practice was originally used in other cultures as protection from harm or molestation and was one of many rituals adopted out of concern for the happiness, safety, and fertility of the bride and groom. Covering the heads of the bridal couple in many cultures serves such a purpose-to protect them from descending malice. In a Jewish wedding the chuppah, or marriage canopy, offers shelter to the wedding party (and symbolically establishes a new home) whereas traditional Chinese weddings employ umbrellas as canopies. Conversely, raised chairs, red carpets, special shoes and other forms of insulation or protection have been used to defend against malicious spirits on the ground. For example, in China the bride, heavily veiled, walked gingerly in her father’s shoes to the bridal sedan, and in Western societies it is customary for the groom to carry the bride over the threshhold. The current Western practice of having a bridal party to attend the couple evolved from a Roman tradition, in which the bridesmaids and ushers dressed exactly like the bride and groom, to protect the wedding couple by confusing evil spirits.
The American custom of the all-white wedding gown probably originated in England in the late eighteenth century, although white was also used traditionally in France, Sweden, Japan, and West Africa. Whereas white was–and continues to be–considered the color of virginity in Western cultures, in Japan it was the color of mourning and signified that the bride was now dead to her natural family. In China red (indicating happiness) is the usual color for the bride’s tunic and skirt. Similarly, brides in northern India have traditionally worn red saris, and Islamic brides, red ghararas (tunics and ruffled trousers).
In many European countries brides and grooms were married in their “best” clothing, but sometimes, new clothes such as lavishly embroidered coats were created specially for the occasion. Colors or decorations followed local or regional traditions, and this practice continues in some Eastern European and Asian cultures.
Because marriage marks a new beginning for both the bride and groom, rites of passage have formed an important part of the wedding ceremony among many European and Asian groups. Cutting the bride’s hair and shaving the groom’s beard are examples of such symbolic rites of passage. The bride’s haircut has generally signified her new position in life as well as disguised her from evil forces.
Numerous ethnic groups, including Ukrainians and Lithuanians, have worn bridal crowns or wreaths of myrtle, rue, or flowers during the wedding ceremony as symbols of maidenhood. Some groups, among them Swedes and Finns, consider rarer materials such as metals and gems desirable for crowns. In Hindu culture the bride has typically worn an elaborate headdress, called a topar, made of pitch.
After the wedding the transition to wife has often been symbolically marked by the substitution of a matron’s kerchief for the maiden’s wreath or crown. Slovak custom dictated that after the wedding ceremony the bride’s hair wreath be ceremoniously removed by the village matrons, and replaced with a white, starched &chachek;epec (cap) or kerchief, which was to be worn at all times. (This privilege was accorded only women who had not committed any infractions of their virginity before marriage.) A Croatian bride received a kerchief signifying her new status as a matron, and a Finnish bride received a tzepy (linen cap) after a ceremonial haircut.
Some groups have created symbolic obstacles for the wedding couple to “overcome” together. In Brittany beggars plaited a hedgerow briar across the path of the bride and groom until bribed to remove it. French village children blocked the bridal couple’s route with ribbon. Children in Japan followed a similar custom, using a straw rope to impede the path and holding the couple ransom before removing it.
In many cultures sharing food, wine, or other spirits has formed an important part of the religious marriage services. The Shinto wedding rite in Japan revolved around the ceremonial exchange of sake nine times, and the sharing of wine is part of the traditional Jewish ceremony as well as the Greek and other Eastern Orthodox rituals. In the Hindu marriage ceremony the couple is required to share a plate of food. Similarly, in many cultures the ceremonial sharing of a piece of wedding cake, or of other foods, is a common occurrence after the religious ritual. After a Ukrainian wedding service, both sets of parents symbolically offer bread and salt–representing life’s sustenance–to the newlyweds. Another Ukrainian tradition is the sharing of korovai, sacred wedding bread, among all of the guests.
The throwing of rice, seeds, wheat, coins, flowers, or herbs at the bridal couple is one of the oldest and most widespread of wedding rituals, intended to promote fertility. Similarly, wedding flowers, forget-me-nots and orange blossoms, represent fertility and abundance. In gypsy weddings, couples “leaped the broomstick” which bore flowers to induce conception while Chinese brides regularly were offered chestnuts and ju-jubes in hopes they would conceive a son.
Although many rituals were intended to ensure the newlywed’s fertility, chiverie, a French tradition, involved the interruption of the wedding couple at night by a crowd clanging pots and pans, ringing bells and horns, and firing shotguns.
The bride and groom were expected to appear in their wedding clothes and provide treats for their tormentors. Other pranks performed in the spirit of chiverie might have included nailing up the door and blocking the chimney of the couple’s home, putting molasses, thistles or other irritants in their bed, or tying bells to its springs. These tricks, aimed at inhibiting the sexual act, relieved some of the strain of the solemnity of the occasion and were forerunners of the modern practice of attaching tin cans to the bumper of the bride and groom’s car.
All of the traditional forms of behavior described above in some way or another support the institution of marriage by prescribing appropriate conduct for the couple with regard to their future relationship. While these rules may vary from culture to culture, there are surprising similarities among the wedding traditions of different groups marking the transition to adulthood, for example, or symbolically referring to the couple’s future role as childbearers. That these traditions have persisted over long periods of time-and many have even survived, remarkably intact, transplanted to the United States-attests to the endurance of marriage as a social institution, and the deep symbolic meaning attached to it.
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Gail F. Stern is Museum Director of The Balch Institute.
Ruth Leppel, a retired teacher, is a volunteer researcher for the Museum.

Help for the couple
________________________________________Fresh – Blooming – Blossoming.all words to describe something new, a beginning. And hence, the centuries old poetic tradition comparing a new marriage to the springtime is continued to this day when every new couple enhances their wedding ceremony with flowers.
HOW TO BEGIN
The first step to deciding on the floral accompaniments to a wedding is to develop a basic concept based on the personal tastes of the bride and groom. Generally, this begins with discussions about which are your favorite flowers. Then, decide on a basic approach: extravagant, tasteful, modest, etc. A good place to start accumulating ideas is in the bridal magazines such as this one and floral arranging books at your library. One thing to consider right up front is whether or not the flowers you’d like are grown locally, and if so, would they be in bloom during the season in which you marry. This could prove to be a big cost factor later on.

CHOOSING A FLORIST
Because your floral arrangements (pun intended!) can be taken care of months in advance, it’s never too early to contract with a florist. After your final decisions, it’s one thing you’ll never have to worry about again before the wedding. The florist will take care of the delivery to wherever the bride is preparing, to the ceremony, and to the reception, and take care of all the preparation and presentation at each location. Recall weddings and other events you’ve attended where you liked the floral approach and find out which florist handled the arrangements. Consult bridal guides and The Yellow Pages to set up appointments with several different companies. Their consultants will have photo albums (and sometimes even videos) of past presentations and more than likely, you’ll see an example of just what you had in mind for an overall approach. And like every other area in wedding planning, price shop.

FLOWERS FOR THE BRIDE
(and Bridal Party)
The Bridal Bouquet (and flowers for your hair or headpiece) is probably the most important item on your flower list. The flowers you carry or wear will be determined by the color and style of your gown and so the final decision(s) must wait until you’re settled on the dress. The florist must be able to see a good photograph of the garment (or even the dress itself) to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want. This is not to say that the other floral plans can’t move ahead before you’ve settled on the gown; you can save this to be your last decision. (Another thing to consider is that the common approach is to coordinate the boutonnieres for the groom and attendants with the bouqet and so the plans for their tuxes or suits must be in place as well as the gown.)
The bridal attendants and other members of the extended wedding party for whom you wish to provide flowers must all be coordinated as well. This, of course, depends on what each person is wearing and, for instance, it may be necessary to provide the mother of the bride with a flower matching her dress as opposed to matching the rest of the party.
We’d like to point out that the latest trend in bridal bouquets continues into 2002/2003: according to just about everybody, is a return to traditional white, but not necessarily in a traditional arrangement! From all white, to setting off the white with anywhere from one to an equal amount of a chosen color (most impressive is the use of the rare “sterling” rose, a silvery gray flower which is stunning), to setting off the flowers with greens, ribbons or an unorthodox or personalized carrier, the style is up to you. The natural or “garden” look and the flowing or “romantic” look have already been spotted this year! Cascading bouquets are making a strong comeback (but remember that they’re really hard to get airborne if you plan to toss your bouquet out to your single guests). Another non-traditional arrangement making much headway in popularity is the wrist or forearm bouquet. It is of course a smaller arrangement, but it is virtually hassle free – you don’t have to put down or hand off your flowers everytime you want or need to do something. This is especially popular with brides who are marrying in a less elaborate wedding gown or other formal or street wear.
Always remember to check into the latest arrangements with your florist. And also remember, you are not required or expected to follow the latest trends. Do this only if you have a real desire to contemporize your ceremony. Otherwise, go for what you want, letting your personal style set the tone.

CEREMONY AND RECEPTION
Your principal arrangements at the altar or place of the actual ceremony will form the basis of the arrangements at the reception when transported by the florist after the event. Therefore, both locations must be taken into consideration for size and style. If a common ground can’t be found, you could wind up springing for two entirely different setups.
Most florists will be familiar with area churches and reception halls, but if not, they’d more than likely be willing to visit the location(s). Other than the decorations for the entrance/receiving line and head table or bridal party table, other uses for flowers are as the centerpiece for your guests tables (always a fun part of the event as you can either play a game for the centerpiece or present it to the woman whose birthday is closest, etc.) or to give out flowers as favors for your female guests. Outdoor weddings and/or receptions are a bit easier to plan as you more or less have free rein over your choices because coordination is not as big a factor: you have lots more room to spread things out!
FINALIZING YOUR PLANS
Always keep cost in mind. There are many other wonderful uses for flowers at a wedding such as a miniature copy of the bouquet atop the cake, strewing flower petals in lieu of rice, or garlands for the head table and entrances. But all of these things cost money.
If you’re using local flowers, it might be possible to go all the way, everything you’d like. But if you choose rare or out-of-season flowers, the costs could skyrocket with storage and shipping charges. Your florist will help you to set a budget and stick to it and a good florist will make suggestions without ever overwhelming your original ideas. Once your arrangements are finalized, you’ll have a worry-free item crossed off your big list of things to do and be assured of one more job well done so that you can concentrate only on having a good time on the most important day of your life!
A wedding cake is the one centerpiece that no wedding, large or small, should be without. Gone are the days of plain white cake with plain white frosting. Now it’s anything goes! Providing, of course, that the top tier is tastefully and appropriately decorated.
Chocolate cakes with white frosting have gained much favor in recent years as have fruited layers and even marble cakes. As with every other aspect of planning your wedding, it’s a personal choice. Go for what you really want – something that goes with your style, tempered by the number of guests and general style of the wedding (formal, semi-formal or casual). If you’re concerned that a large number of people may not enjoy your choice, you can always have the tiers baked in different flavors and give them a choice. As you’ll see below, this can also be accomplished easily if the wedding cake has “dummy” tiers and the guests are served from sheet cakes: have smaller sheet cakes baked in different flavors.
For a small wedding, a cake of several layers that can be served as the dessert course is always fun and traditional. But for larger receptions, cutting up and distributing a single cake, no matter how large, can be present a logistical nightmare.
The introduction of “dummy” cakes or “dummy” tiers in the last few decades has greatly reduced the problems in serving yours guests the actual wedding cake.
This allows for the traditional “bride cuts the cake” ceremony, while in the kitchen, the servers can be busily preparing the final course from sheet cakes prepared with the same recipe as the actual top layer of the presentaiton cake from which the bride and groom feed each other and the head table is served. Another advantage here is that in the event that you decide on a different dessert altogether, you can still enjoy the beauty and fun of a full sized wedding cake without incurring the expense.
And in the event that you decide on another dessert, you might still want to go with a sheet cake anyway. This would allow you to send slices of cake in gift boxes home with each guest. This was an old tradition which fell out of favor in recent decades but is cropping up more frequently these days. It makes a fine (and relatively inexpensive) favor and there’s an old wives’ tale that if an unmarried girl or woman sleeps with the cake under her pillow (in the box, of course!) she will dream of the man she’s going to marry!
If you would like a full cake and to serve it as dessert, advance planning is needed. At a recent wedding we attended, the bride and groom (with assistance from two waitstaff) cut and plated their entire huge wedding cake that was served to the guests by the wedding party (again with some waitstaff assistance).
This was accomplished in only a few minutes with no mess and no bother! And there were 200 guests at this wedding!
(Speaking of messes – I’ve never met anyone who thinks that the bride or groom smashing cake into the other’s face is funny at all. Outside of the party doing the smashing, most people do not find this amusing; in fact they find it quite offensive. It’s unseemly behavior and creates an unsightly mess. Just think about the consequences if you plan to preserve your gown. But, if that’s what you’re into, then all we can say is “it’s your wedding”.)
Another inexpensive (and, we might add, easier) aproach would be to go with the cake ineveitably offered by your caterer or the menu planner at your reception location. It eliminates the shopping and indecision. However, that choice also depersonalizes the cake. For a truly personal approach, we’ve known many a bride who baked the cake herself or with help from family and friends. This can become an “event” in itself and a great wedding memory and it will also drastically reduce expenses. (Just for the record, we’ve run into a couple of grooms who did the baking themselves as well!)
A big part of your decision will be the ornamental topping. Do you want the traditional Bride & Groom figurines or a small chapel? Many people today are choosing personalized figurines, small statues decorated or even created to represent the actual bride and groom! (No beanie babies, please.) The other decorations must be considered as well: silk flowers, candy, fresh fruit, and ribbons? How about none of the above or even all of the above?!

And so, the bottom line is that the easiest and most traditional way to plan for your cake is to visit local bakers, particularly those who advertise as wedding cake specialists. These are professionals who will be able to answer any questions you have, make suggestions, and guide you to your best option. Most have extensive photographic catalogs of the cakes they’ve designed and/or baked and many even have a showroom with models. With a baker, you will have open to you the most wide-raning choices in style, flavors and price, and you are even likely to wind up customizing your own unique cake from ideas lifted from several designs.
In any event, we recommend that you have some kind of wedding cake. If for nothing else, you want to be sure you have at least one piece of the cake for your freezer that you can defrost and share on the occasion of your first anniversary!
Like everything else involved in planning a wedding, the key is to shop, shop, shop – and shop early. Compare prices and quality and make a decision as far in advance as possible. This allows for plenty of time to save and to make any changes which crop up. Your wedding cake is one of the most fun decisions you’ll have to make and you’ll be glad in the long run if you stick with this delightful tradition.
Your wedding is a special event for members of your family and your circle of intimates.
A lovely way to share the closeness and warmth of your future life together is to choose a location for your ceremony/reception, which has a special meaning for you and your closest relatives and friends. Choosing one of your parents’ homes or a special park or natural location is one of the best ways to personalize your wedding. (In the cases of those of you who have been cohabitating, the home you’ve already made for yourselves is also a perfectly wonderful choice!)
Before we get into the specifics of planning a wedding for an “other than traditional” location, here are a few words of warning and caution:
1. If you’re planning on holding the ceremony in a private home, make sure that you’ll be able to LIMIT YOUR GUEST LIST to the number of people you’ll be able to accommodate comfortably. Even if you’re planning to use a combination of the interior of the home and the garden/yard, you’ve still got to consider the weather and what will happen if everyone needs to get indoors.

2. If you’re planning for a park or other natural location (the beach, an island, etc.), make sure you’ve arranged for EXCLUSIVE USE OF THE AREA so that your privacy will not be compromised.
3. DON’T ATTEMPT TO DO EVERYTHING YOURSELVES. Even if you’re going for a “casual” or “at home” approach to your wedding day, it is still the most important day of your life and you won’t want to be bogged down with details like tents for inclement weather, or the buffet, or the bar, or where you’re going to be able to borrow 50 chairs! Most rental companies and caterers, often working in tandem, will be able to accommodate your style from tres elegant to BBQ and will glady work closely with you to set up your ideal wedding and stay within your budget.
If you’re still reading this and you’re still thinking about a “do-it-yourself” wedding day, then you’re serious about it. So let’s move on to the fun part: Planning your “at-home” or “outdoor” wedding!

ACCOMODATING YOUR GUESTS
Once you’ve chosen a location for your wedding (the “traditional” approach would be to have it at the bride’s parents’ home), you need to scale your guest list to however many your house and/or yard will hold comfortably. Be sure that you’ve got a tent or canopy lined up from a rental company which will hold all of your guests in the event of inclement weather.
THE INVITATIONS
One of the most fun parts of planning an at-home or outdoor wedding is the method of invitation. While it is perfectly acceptable to use traditional, engraved invitations from a professional printer, it is most certainly all right for you to decide on a less orthodox approach. Handwritten invitations lend an air of casual intimacy, especially when accompanied by a personal note to the invitee. Even a telephoned invitation would be acceptable, if the bride, the groom, and their parents made the calls. This approach can be most personal – it’s like letting someone in on a big secret! Make your invitations at the standard time as the date approaches: 4 to 6 weeks before the wedding.
THE PLANNING
You will find that planning for a wedding at your home or an outdoor location closely resembles that of “normal” wedding planning:
Arrange for a member of the clergy or a Judge or Justice of the Peace who will travel to your chosen location.
Arrange for music for the ceremony and the reception. In the case of an at-home wedding, some common options are a guitar/flute or harp/flute duo, or a keyboardist who could play the family piano or organ. For the reception, maybe a disc jockey or a small band for the background music and, later on, the dancing. Make sure you have a surface for dancing and plenty of safe electrical connections for the entertainers.
A rental company or party planner can set you up with everything you’ll need in the way of tents, canopies, tables, chairs, even a portable dance floor, and depending on how much you rely on your caterer, they could also provide your place settings and serving paraphernalia. From paper plates and plastic cups to sterling silver and fine crystal, every style and budget can be well-served by your professional liaison and you can leave the worries behind. If you take care of everything yourself, make sure you’ve covered every detail including how the rental items will be returned because there’ll be no one to take care of these things on your wedding day. You’ll be on your own.
Restrooms/bathroom facilities are an important consideration. The general rule of thumb is one facility per 50 people. Do you have more than one bathroom at your house? Or are you heading off into the woods? In either case, renting a porta-john is a must!
YOUR MENU
Unless you are really ready to commit to a truly do-it-yourself reception (Dad at the backyard barbecue, a keg of beer, a barrel of soda, and a potluck of appetizers and side dishes provided by your family and friends), you’ll need to hire a caterer. Even if you plan to keep things on a simple “picnic” level, you’ll want your guests to feel like they’re being served – not being asked to fend for themselves. Have you ever tried to cut a steak with a plastic knife on a paper plate while standing? Think about these things. If nothing else, you’ll want someone to man the grill, tend bar, and clean up so that you won’t have to worry nor will you be imposing on your guests by asking them to clean up after themselves. A nice combination is for your guests to bring along someting, like they would for any other get-together, but rely on your caterer for the main course and special touches.
And if you’re looking for elegance, we’ve seen some amazing dinners presented, even out in the wilderness. (Imagine a Raw Bar, Beef Wellington, freezing cold Champagne, China and crystal on linen at the beach. We’ve seen all of these things!) A professional caterer has all the equipment and utensils to cover any menu, any place, any time.
In closing, it is important to consult with professionals even if you’re “doing it yourself”. They’ll be able to pinpoint the style you wish to convey that will help set the mood for your day. But if you really want to do it yourself, plan long and hard and carefully – it’s a big job. Good luck.

A Toasts . . .
Here’s to the wings of love
May they never shed a feather
Until at the end of the night
Your pants shall hang together.
Submitted by Michael F McKenna the week of his 50th wedding anniversary 1/7/97
Marriage should be like work,
Easy to love at best
and best if it is easy to love.
Love is blind, but marriage can be a real eye-opener.

A rhetorical question only a married man can appreciate: If a man stands alone in the forest, and there are no women around to hear him speak, is he still WRONG?

All perfect marriages are made up of couples who accept the fact that they have an imperfect marriage.

No one in love is free, or wants to be.

Do not marry a person that you know you can live with;
only marry someone that you cannot live without.

Marriages are made in heaven. But, remember, so are thunder and lightning.

FACT: At any given time, there are 1,800 thunderstorms in progress over the earth’s atmosphere.

The most important thing in a relationship between a man and a woman is that one of them must be good at taking orders. — Linda Festa

Marriage: the state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all two. –Ambrose Bierce

Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement. — Oscar Wilde

Courtship: Is like looking at the beautiful photos in a seed catalog.
Marriage: Is what actually comes up in your garden.

Success is getting what you want.
Happiness is wanting what you get.

Most married couples, even though they love each other very much in theory, tend to view each other in practice as large teeming flaw colonies, the result of being that they get on each other’s nerves and regularly erupt into vicious emotional shouting matches over such issues as toaster settings. — Dave Barry

The length of a minute depends on which side of a bathroom door you’re standing on.

The most effective way to remember your spouse’s birthday is to forget it once..

Some people are so determined to find blissful happiness that they overlook a lifetime of contentment.

A true music lover is a man who puts his ear to the key hole to listen to a beautiful woman singing in the tub.

Did you hear about the Norwegian who liked his wife so much, he considered telling her?

Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.

The only good thing about being imperfect is the joy it brings to others.

Love, I find, is like singing. Everyone can do enough to satisfy themselves, though it may not impress the neighbors as being very much. — Zora Neale Hurston

There are some who feel it is inappropriate to make fun of the holy institution of marriage.
Then there are others who know it’s the only way we can live with it.

A good marriage is like a casserole; only those responsible for it really know what goes in it.

Our real world dictionary defines a pessimist as an optimist with experience.

What’s the difference between a vision and a sight?
When my wife gets dressed up for a party she looks like a vision and when she wakes up in the morning she’s a sight.

My wife only has 2 complaints. Nothing to wear and not enough closet space.

Bigamy is having one wife too many. Some say monogamy is the same.

Cosmetics: A woman’s means for keeping a man from reading between the lines.

Q: What’s the best way to get a youthful figure?
A: Ask a woman her age.

Consider this: Sex is hereditary. If your parents never had it, chances are you won’t either.

Sex is a three-letter word, which needs some old-fashioned four-letter words to convey its full meaning.

To our best friends,
who know the most about us,
but refuse to believe it.
A TOAST: To our wiwes and lovers . . . may they never meet!

The difference between a prostitute, a girlfriend, and a wife?
The prostitute says “That’ll be $100.”
The girlfriend says “Oh, baby! I love you, I love you, I love you!”
The wife says “Beige. Yeah. Beige. I’ll paint the ceiling beige.”

Toasts for wedding day
For all the Bachelors
“She’s a lovely person. She deserves a good husband. Marry her before she finds one.”

I met the perfect women once.
Sadly, she was looking for the perfect man!!!!!!!!

A Relationship of Convenience?
FACT: After Albert Einstein had been at Princeton for some months, local news hounds discovered that a twelve-year-old girl happened to stop by the Einstein home almost every afternoon. The girl’s mother hadn’t thought to ask Einstein about the situation until the newspapers reported it, but when she got the opportunity after that she did so. What could her daughter and Einstein have in common that they spent so much time together? Einstein replied simply, “She brings me cookies and I do her arithmetic homework.”

Q: Why does the bride always wear white?
A: .because it’s always good for the dishwasher to match the fridge and stove.

Bachelor: — A guy who has avoided the opportunity to make some woman miserable.

-A guy who is footloose and fiancee-free.

-A man who every morning comes to work from a different direction.

-A man who never makes the same mistake once.

-A nice guy who has cheated some nice girl out of her alimony.

-A person who believes in life, liberty, and the happiness of pursuit.

-A selfish guy who has cheated some woman out of a divorce.

-The only kind of man who has never told his wife a lie.

Remember: Sex is dirty only if it’s done right.

THE MEN’S ROOM WALL SAYS: “Never turn your back on anything that can bleed for five days and live.”

The best way to fight a woman is with your hat.grab it and run!

The only thing worse than being a bachelor is being a bachelor’s son.

The difference between a mistress and a wife is the difference between day and night.

Marriage is a matter of give and take, but so far I haven’t been able to find anybody who’ll take what I have to give.

Ne’er take a wife till thou hast a house (and a fire) to put her in.

They say that love is the answer, but while you’re waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions.

Q: How do you make 6 pounds of fat attractive?
A: Put a nipple on it.

On the issue of potency:
A cocktail party is an affair where a man gets stiff, a woman gets tight, and they return home to find that neither is either.

“Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.”

QUESTION FOR THE RELUCTANT BACHELOR: How’s your love life.still holding your own?

Q: Why is sex like winning at bridge?
A: You either need a good partner or a good hand.

Q: Why do we have orgasms?
A: How else would we know when to stop?

*Sex is like air, it’s not important unless you aren’t getting enough.

Did you hear about the bulimic bachelor party where the cake came out of the girl?

They say man is incomplete until he is married. Then he is truly finished.

BACHELOR: A man who believes in life, liberty, and the happiness of pursuit.

Q: What did the bra say to the hat?
A: You go on ahead, I’m gonna give these two a lift.

The perfect t-shirt to get their attention: “Let go of my ears, I know what I’m doing!”

Two little boys were playing together when a cute, curly-haired girl walked by.
“You know something? When I stop hating girls, I think I’ll stop hating that one first!”

Sexist dictionary: WIFE — An attachment you screw on the bed to get the housework done!

Q: What’s the difference between a counterfeit dollar bill and a very thin woman?
A: The counterfeit bill is a phoney buck.

Advice:
The father of the bride at the wedding reception told this joke:
I first met Glen when he came to work for me in one of our restaurants. After a few weeks, he approached me and said
“Chris, you’re a man of the world, how do you attract the attention of a girl you fancy?”

I had no idea that the girl in question was my daughter, so I said, “Look Glen, go into the kitchen, find yourself a couple of nice sized potatoes, and stick ’em in your underpants.”

A week went by before I saw him again, and I shouted across the kitchen, “Hey Glen, how’s your love life going?”

He ambled towards me sullenly and muttered “Well, to tell you the truth,
things have got worse since I took your advice.”

I took one look at him, and immediately saw the problem. “Glen”, I said, “the potatoes are supposed to go in the front.”

A Toast for the wedding day!
Congratulations on the termination of your isolation and may I express an appreciation of your determination to end the desperation and frustration which has caused you so much consternation in giving you the inspiration to make a combination to bring an accumulation to the population.

To my husband,
We have been through the better and worse
(not always the better prevailed)
We’ve seen the richer and poorer
(the latter is most often sailed)
The sickness has outrun the health
(which often has caused much ado)
So now I pledge to you my heart,
till death do us part,
And pray all our dreams will come true!

Here’s to love, laughter
and happily ever after.
As (Groom) and (Bride) start their new life,
Let’s toast the new husband and wife!

Me got him.
He got me.
We got us.
You got that?

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