Roman Catholic wedding rituals and style in India, differ from place to place, state to state and region to region. Like in Goa the wedding gown is worn through out the function but in Mangalorean style there are two dress worn by the bride the wedding gown and SADO (It is usually a red coloured Banarasi sari, which are made of finely woven silk and are decorated with elaborate engraving ).I’m a Mangalorean and brought up in Goa… My knowledge towards this two types of wedding rituals are strong compare to rest.
Note-A Christian marriage can be celebrated throughout the year, except seasons of Lent, a 40-day period prior to Easter and Advent, a 30-day period just before Christmas.
There are a series of pre-wedding, wedding and post-wedding rituals that are joyfully carried out in a traditional Catholic Wedding.
1.Engagement – Engagements are traditionally celebrated at Brides house. The bride and the groom exchange engagement rings blessed by the parish priest. It’s not a compulsory celebration. It only indicates the beginning of a period during which the boy and girl get to know each other, but does not guarantee that a marriage will, indeed, take place. However, if they do decide that they wish to get married, the wedding can happen within 6 months time to one year .
2.Attending a Preparatory Course-The prospective bride and groom attend a Marriage Preparatory Course, they can choose between a one-day and a three-day course. To participate in this course the prospective bride and the groom are required to fill in a form declaring details of their lives and take an oath on the Holy Bible that they have not withheld any information. Besides, they must also produce their baptism certificates. For 3 Sundays in a row, the priest declares after the mass the decision of the couple to wed. This is done for the purpose of bringing to light any hidden or misrepresented information. If someone from the parish knows of something that needs to come out, it is during this period that it should be told. A wedding is allowed only after the end of this 3 week period
3.Bridal Shower – The Bridal Shower ceremony is to be performed by the bride’s family. The Bridal Shower is basically the last party the bride gives as a maiden to her female friends and relatives. This is given as a token of appreciation for all the bridesmaids. During this ceremony, the bride gives gifts to the bridesmaids and serves a pink cake with a thimble hidden inside. Legend goes that the girl, who gets the piece of cake with the thimble, will be the next to marry.
4. The Bachelor Party or A bachelorette party: The Bachelor Party is hosted by the groom or groomsmen the night before the wedding traditionally. It is also called a “stag party” because it is for men only. This is the groom’s last night as a bachelor and he is expected to use this party as a way to enjoy that final bit of freedom. It is a night of drinking, revelry and merry making. However, prior to the start of the serious drinking, it is customary to raise a toast to the groom.
The Bachelorette party share similar concept of Bachelor party but its the bride or the bridesmaid host the party.
Tip 3 # Sometimes the bride and groom will choose to host a combined party for their friends and relatives rather than have the separate Bridal Shower and Bachelor Party. This is known as the His and Hers Pre-Wedding Party. Many times this is easier and less expensive if the families need to cut costs, but these parties can be just as much fun as the 2 separate ones.
5. Rehearsal Dinner– A rehearsal dinner is usually held after the wedding rehearsal and the night before the wedding ceremony. The guests generally include the couple to be married and others who form the wedding party, The rehearsal dinner costs are traditionally incurred by the groom’s parents. However, modern traditions allow for either the bride’s or the groom’s parents to incur these costs.The purpose of the rehearsal dinner is for the relatives and friends of the bride and groom to meet and have a good time. The couple generally takes this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped with the wedding preparations. Activities generally include toasting and the presentation of small gifts for those who have helped plan the wedding. This dinner can be either an informal gathering at home, or it can be a more elaborate dinner held at an exclusive restaurant.
Other Pre wedding celebrations according to different states and region are Roce, umbracha pani …. I Will make a seperate post on this….
P.S None of the above ceremony is compulsory its entirely your wish …!!!
1. Arrival at the Church : On the wedding day, the bridegroom reaches the church first and awaits his bride there. As the bride arrives at the church, the best man – from the bridegroom’s party – greets her with a kiss and her wedding bouquet.The procession to the church is usually in one of these ways:
1. The Priest may greet the couple at the door of the church, bless them, and lead them in; or
2. The bride may proceed up to her waiting bridegroom at the altar with her father or
3. The bride may walk in alone to her bridegroom at the altar, preceded by first the pageboys and flower girls bridesmaid – best man pairs, and followed by a single bridesmaid carrying her veil.
2. Wedding Mass/Ceremony/ Nuptials
The Wedding Mass begins with the couple walking down the aisle followed by the wedding procession. The ceremony is begun by the priest who first welcomes them into the Church and then gives them his best wishes. Hymns are sung and there are special selected readings from the Bible. The Homily is delivered by the priest. This is a rather interesting lecture .Many times the priest chooses to make the Homily even more entertaining by including amusing little stories in it. While the basic celebration of the mass is usual.. the readings , hymn …The main part of the Mass is the Wedding Rituals…
- The Nuptials : The nuptial rites take place in front of at least two witnesses. During this rite, the priest asks a few questions that the couple must answer honestly.
- The Solemn Promise : The priest guides the couple through this rite. The bride and the groom are asked to join their right hands (symbolic of union). Then they individually declare their intention to take each other as man and wife with the famous lines “I, x (name), take you, y (name), to be my lawfully wedded wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, till death do us part”. The bride repeats the phrases with the relevant name and gender changes. The priest blesses them and tells them that “What God has joined, man must not divide”.
- Exchange of Rings : The priest blesses the joined hands with the Holy Water and also the rings so that the couple that wears them will have deep faith in each other, do the Lord’s will and always live together in peace, goodwill and love. Then the couple put them on each other’s fingers . At this point, the priest pronounces them man and wife. The groom may now kiss his new bride, usually lifting her veil for the honor.
- Prayer Service : The mass proceeds with the prayers of the faithful – petitions for blessings on the couple – and an offertory procession. The couple brings offerings like The Bible and rosaries; a house made of thermocol, candles, and flowers, fruits that are symbolic of a happy married life.The priest blesses them. He then gives them consecrated bread and wine which stand for the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
- Nuptial Blessing and The Recessional : The communion service follows and the mass ends with the signing of the register, which serves as a valid legal document of marriage. The copy of this document is sent to the Registrar of Marriages’. Nuptial masses are accompanied by a choir, which sings specially chosen joyful hymns, with perhaps a special solo at communion.
POST MARRIAGE CEREMONY- RECEPTION
After the marriage ceremony the bridal couple proceed either home or to a studio for a photographic session, or straight to the reception to celebrate their wedding.