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American Family Traditions

American Family Traditions

Marriage and Weddings

"Until Death Do Us Part"

Marriage is a social institution that defines the relationship between a man and a woman. It defines in legal terms the obligations of spouses to each other and to their children. This forms the basis for also defining the rights of the children born into the family created by the marriage relationship. 

It takes 18-21 years to raise a child to adulthood. The level of commitment required between a man and a woman to sustain a relationship and a home for child rearing is significant. A permanent loving relationship between spouses, and between spouses and children, provides the best nurturing environment for continuation of society. Society's Principles and Values are passed to children within the Family environment. This process ensures the continuation of a Nation. 

Customs and Traditions associated with marriage, and the wedding ceremony that marks the beginning of the marriage contract, are wide and varied. Details vary from culture to culture and also evolve over time. Generally there is a legal aspect to the contract with requirements under State laws, and a religious ceremony to mark the event.

Family Tradition

The United States is "a melting pot" of cultures each with their own unique Marriage Customs and Traditions. There has been a set of Customs and Traditions generally accepted as common to Marriage in The United States unless the marriage is a Common Law Marriage.

Dating is the accepted pre-engagement practice between couples. Families generally establish requirements for the details of acceptable activities, time of day, single or group dating etc. The age, personality and maturity of dating children generally drive the conditions set by parents if the children are still at home.

Love between the couples is believed to be a prerequisite to marriage.

Proposal of marriage by the man and acceptance by the woman results in an Engagement. Couples enter into marriage with the belief that the relationship is permanent. The engagement is marked by the gift of an Engagement Ring from the man proposing to the woman accepting.

A Marriage License is required by all States including a Blood Test and a prescribed waiting period.

A Wedding Rehearsal Dinner is usually celebrated between the immediate families of spouses in the late afternoon the day before the wedding. The Groom's Family traditionally provides for this celebration.

A Bachelor  Party is held for the Groom and usually sponsored by The Best Man the night before the Wedding. It has become very popular now for The Bride's Maid to also sponsor a Bachelorette Party for the Bride. 

The Wedding Ceremony is most often performed as part of a religious ceremony each with its own specific customs and traditions. On the day of the wedding the Groom does not see the Bride until the actual ceremony. As Custom would have it from Victorian Times: the Bride wears Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Sixpence in her shoe.

Rings are exchanged to mark the permanent commitment of the new spouses to each other.

A Wedding Reception is usually held after the ceremony for all family and friends to celebrate. The Bride's Family usually provides for this celebration.

A Honeymoon is taken by the Bride and Groom to a secret place where they go off for their first night together in Marriage. It is thought that the Honeymoon Custom was established to avoid the European Custom Charivari where family and friends banged on pots and pans outside the couple's bedroom their first night of marriage.

Our Product

coverIt has become customary at many Wedding Receptions to leave a Wedding Camera on each table. Visit our Shopping Mall to buy these great Kodak Wedding Cameras. The guests all take candid photos during the reception making a wonderful array of photo-memories of family and friends for the Bride and Groom to go along with their Wedding Album. Some couples have even used the negatives from these cameras to construct their Wedding Album themselves, fully filled with 8X10, 5X7, and smaller photos as desired. Many camera shops and film developers produce excellent enlargements to help couples create an economical Wedding Album. 

Further Study

There are many many more details associated with actual ceremonies and numerous checklists that have been developed. Many books are also written that discuss more details to aid in setting up a Wedding Ceremony. Don't forget that most encyclopedias also provide a variety of information and references for further study in this area. 

Additional Web Sites 

Wedding Tips


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This Web Site is the intellectual property of American Family Traditions. Some of the information provided is general knowledge and some is the original work of American Family Traditions. Permission must be requested to use or reproduce any of its contents to ensure fairness. Footnotes have been provided where appropriate to give credit to the work of others and to ensure you get permission from those sources.
Copyright   2000-2001 American Family Traditions. All Rights Reserved.
Last updated March 8, 2001
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