Frequently Asked Questions with Answers?
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WHAT IS A … OR … DO I NEED A
BRIDAL CONSULTANT? WEDDING PLANNER?
A bridal (wedding) consultant or planner is a professional whose training, expertise and network contacts will help make your wedding as close to perfect as it possibly can be, and let you relax (as much as you can) and enjoy your wedding … You can count on a professional consultant and planner to help you in may roles to make your event perfect.
As an expert, the consultant knows weddings and events from the socially correct formats through the proper planning and organization of the reception. A professional puts structure into your day.
COORDINATOR & DIRECTOR
Through extensive contacts in the wedding business. The unlimited consultant, and/or wedding planner can match you with the right professional from caterer to photographers, from florist to doves and butterflies, from a disc jockey, to a band or quartet (within budget) to turn your wedding dreams into reality. Present at the Rehearsal, Wedding Day Ceremony and Reception, plus.
Plan the details. Why should you worry, about the details of planning your wedding? Your wedding planner will work with the other professionals you have chosen to make sure everything happens just as you want it. Draw up the pre-ceremony flow chart itinerary.
If you’re working with a budget (and WHO ISN’T) your wedding planner can help you organize your dream wedding with your budget, by suggesting ways to make your dollar go the farthest.
Caught between “ex”-families and “step”-families? A professional bridal consultant (planner), as an independent third party often can smooth ruffled feathers and mediate disagreements.
THIS IS YOUR ONCE IN-A-LIFETIME DAY!
Let your PROFESSIONAL BRIDAL CONSULTANT - WEDDING PLANNER handle the details with you. It’s your big day! A Planner will make certain it turns out perfectly, and you can relax and ENJOY YOUR WEDDING!
Choosing the RIGHT Event Planner ...
Wedding Coordinator to entrust the most important day of your Life
WHAT WILL A BRIDAL CONSULTANT DO FOR ME?
A seasoned, well networked professional event planner is the best investment any person can make for a perfected event. Hire the experts. In addition to helping make your wedding, or special event dreams come true within your budget-and perhaps advising you from making costly mistakes-a consultant will save you time. With today’s hectic lifestyle, many bridal couples and their families, corporate personnel do not have the time for the detailed planning, and work, a beautiful, well organized professional event requires. A professional planner / consultant, working with you, can handle the details, allowing you the freedom to do what you want to do. You can relax with the internal comfort of knowing that all the details (within your specifications) are being handled professionally, quickly, and with care.
DO I NEED A CONTRACT WITH MY CONSULTANT?
You should have some agreement in writing. A formal contract probably is not necessary; a letter of agreement, signed by both of you, usually is enough. This is an informal contract, which spells out what each of you will do. However, we highly recommend a formal signed contract.
HOW CAN I TELL IF A CONSULTANT IS REPUTABLE?
Look for references, reviews, ask for referrals from churches, friends, family, and/or professional community associations. How long have they being doing “proven” business, and confirm that it’s not a hobby. Does their work history show consistency? Do they network within the event industry, and have professional vendor relationships? All Association of Bridal Consultant’s members agree to uphold a Code of Ethics and Standards of Membership.
I want to plan part of the wedding myself.
WON’T A CONSULTANT WANT TO RUN THE WHOLE SHOW?
A professional bridal consultant will work with you, handling as much or as little of your wedding as you want. After all, it is your wedding event, your day, your vision, your dream, and your budget. The consultant is there to help you-and to make your day perfect.
WHAT WILL A BRIDAL CONSULTANT CHARGE?
It is normal for a consultant to charge about 15% to 20% percent of the cost of the event. Some consultants charge an hourly rate or a fixed fee, or some combination of these. Others charge nothing and earn their income from supplier commissions. All these methods are acceptable, but you should determine in advance how your consultant will be paid.
”We charge a fixed flat rate based on an analysis of the event / wedding requirement needs; as well as depending on the event type (it’s complexities) and size, we then may charge a percentage of the event cost for very large projects needing specialized skills and technical tools, sometimes a wedding, but most likely a high level projects such as a business conference, a company fund raiser with research, or convention.”
CAN I AFFORD A BRIDAL / EVENT CONSULTANT?
A wedding consultant is PART OF YOUR BUDGET, not an extra expense. In fact, you often save money because a consultant “suggests less expense alternatives” that still enhance your wedding. Consultants often can obtain discounts from suppliers. Above all, the professional event planner / bridal consultant will work with you to produce your dream event - including the consultant’s fee-within your budget.
Why can’t I do the planning myself;
WHAT GOOD IS AN EVENT / BRIDAL CONSULTANT?
You certainly can do the planning yourself. – and that sometimes is part of the fun of your wedding. “I did”. But it also can be a hassle, checking out many sources for each service, making sure all the details are in place and worrying about whether you’re getting the best deal – and whether everything will turn out all right. A professional planner / consultant has connections, training and experience to make it all work, while you relax.
HOW CAN I TELL IF AN EVENT PLANNER /
BRIDAL CONSULTANT IS PROVIDING A QUALITY VENDOR?
The consultant’s reputation – and future business – depend on the quality of the services, including vendors, you receive.
Buying the RIGHT Dress:
Should I purchase my dress from a Bridal Retailer?
Is it safe to buy from a Discount Bridal Service, or is it okay to purchase online off the Internet?
You should purchase your gown from a retail shop, not a third party. The retail shop is a local direct responsible entity to resolve any occurring problems encountered “immediately”. Whether it be style, size, color, or delivery date. “A well networked and trained Professional Event Planner, or Consultant has the answers”, Event Planning Division WE CARE … Our starting price is $650.00
DO BRIDAL CONSULTANTS GET “KICKBACKS” FROM SUPPLIERS?
Some vendors do offer commission to bridal consultants, much as airlines pay commissions to travel agents. Many consultants pass these commissions to you in the form of discounts.
My family live in a different part of the country.
HOW CAN AN EVENT CONSULTANT HELP?
A well trained event planner is networked, experienced, well trained, and a professional, they have the network connections to meet your specifications. With the industry connections, and through the Association of Bridal Consultants’ network a member can work with other members world-wide to help you arrange your wedding wherever you choose. In your current town, in your parent’s home town, or a special destination.
IF A CONSULTANT CHARGES A PERCENTAGE,
WONT SHE BOOST THE BILL TO MAKE MORE MONEY?
A professional event / bridal consultant is committed to provide the best possible wedding and/or special event for the lowest possible cost. Besides, you are working with a budget, so the consultant’s job is to keep you on budget. A satisfied bride is the consultant’s best advertisement.
We are a typical family, with divorced relatives and working parents.
HOW CAN A BRIDAL CONSULTANT HELP?
With so many brides and their parents working, a bridal consultant can handle much of the time consuming, detailed planning for your wedding, you save time, reduce stress and concentrate on having fun as your wedding approaches. And, with experience dealing with many brides, a consultant can “smooth” all of those complex relationships in a modern family.
DO I NEED A BRIDAL CONSULTANT?
A consultant will be a distinct asset as you plan your wedding. Wouldn’t it be nice to spend time with your fianc’e and your families, rather than worrying about all the details of your special day? A consultant will take care of the details, leaving you to have the fun, and stress free.
How to Write Your Wedding Vows
Here are a few things that you should keep in mind when you write your own wedding vows:
1. Keep your wedding vows concise, yet meaningful. Too many people will overload a wedding ceremony with verbage that is redundant and overkill the meaning behind a wedding vow. Don't torture your wedding guests with a long wedding ceremony! We find it very interesting that the shorter the ceremony, the more guests come up to us afterwards and say, "Oh that was the best ceremony I've ever been to."
2. If you can write your own wedding vows from scratch, make sure that you are edited by somebody you trust. If you pick from our wedding ceremony vow kit you can simply pick the marriage ceremony that fits you, or choose bits of ceremonies that fit how you feel and then add in the wedding poems or wedding songs that move you.
3. A sample wedding ceremony program often has these elements:
1. The wedding processional (walking down the aisle)
2. The opening of the wedding ceremony or call to the guests
3. Some words from your wedding minister on love or marriage or wedding poems readings
4. The wedding vow or wedding vow and poem
5. The ring exchange ( wedding ring exchange vows )
6. The pronouncement of marriage
7. Blessing or wedding day poem
8. The introduction as husband and wife
9. The wedding recessional
If you decide that you do not want to do any of these steps listed above in the sample wedding program or put them out of order- - - -it's all your choice. You can say anything that you want to say that is fitting for your relationship and as long as you both agree to be married somewhere in the wedding program.
3. Often a passage that you like, a song, or a wedding love poem can be included in your marriage ceremony. A special guest, a member of the wedding party or the wedding minister can recite this wedding poem and reading, but it is not out of the ordinary for the bride or groom to recite or sing a wedding love poem to each other. When you book your wedding with us we will work with you in the selection of popular wedding day poems, and sample vow choices.
4. Don't be afraid to express how you feel in the context of your wedding vow. This is the time to do it. Your wedding ceremony is your expression of love for your partner, it's your pronouncement to the world. Express yourself in your wedding vows how you would like to remember your wedding ceremony. And if you are not a poet, as most of us, pick a sample wedding vow that is a beautiful description of who you both are.
Q. How many ushers and bridesmaids are needed?
A. It depends on the size of the wedding? Normally, there should be one usher for every 50 guests. The average wedding party for formal or semi-formal is four to six bridesmaids and ushers. A bride does not need as many bridesmaids as ushers.
Q. In a formal wedding, which side is usually reserved for the bride’s family and friends?
A. The bride’s parents are seated on the left side of the aisle and the groom’s parents sit on the right side. (in some synagogues this is reversed.)
Q. What if the church has two center aisles?
A. Pick one aisle and run the whole wedding as though it were the only one, or use the right aisle for the processional and the left for the recessional.
Q. Does the groom always kiss the bride at the altar?
A. The person performing the ceremony will rule on it, according to the church practice.
Q. Is there a recessional at a home wedding?
A. It is not necessary. The married couple may turn around after the ceremony and receive best wishes from the guests.
Q. Who gives the officiant his or her fee?
A. The groom pays, but the best man hands it over in a plain white envelope before or after the ceremony.
Q. Where does the wedding party stand in the receiving line?
A. The receiving line is at the back of the church after the ceremony. The order may vary, but usually the brides mother and father are first, followed by the bride, groom and bridesmaids. The grooms mother and father may be included. The ushers and the best man do not stand in the receiving line.
How to Perform
a Wedding Sand Ceremony
The Unity Sand Ceremony is known all over the world for its beauty and sanctity. Couples add this ceremony to their weddings as an alternative to the unity candle ceremony because it so elegantly captures the meaning of their two lives becoming one. And it creates a lasting keepsake of that special day.
Using different colored wedding sands, the bride and groom each take turns filling a Unity Vase as they recite their chosen vows. The sand colors can be coordinated with your home décor, chosen based on colors you love personally or for any other special reason that is meaningful to you. At the end of the ceremony, the vase is taken home and sits atop a shelf, a table or a mantle, beautifully symbolizing the start of your new life together.
Thinking of a Beach Wedding?
Beach weddings are growing in popularity. There’s something very special about being outdoors, having an ocean breeze wash over you and your guests. It’s very magical. Beach weddings are uniquely suited for the Unity Sand Ceremony.
I’m sure you would agree that beach weddings are very romantic and the Unity Sand Ceremony is a beautiful way to add meaning to your beach wedding vows. Your guests will be touched as well watching you and your beloved pour colored sands into your Unity Vase as the waves lap upon the shore.
A Special Way to Honor Your Blended Family
The Family Unity Ceremony is a modified version of the Unity Sand Ceremony. This ceremony can include children and other members of your new blended family and creates a treasured Unity Vase filled with many colors. Family members can also recite special vows as part of the ceremony.
In today’s world it’s not uncommon for either the bride or groom to have children and the Family Unity Ceremony is perfect for when children are part of the picture. Children are especially drawn to using sand to symbolize the loving union of their new Mom and Dad.
Select from these Beautiful Unity Vase Sets
Searching for the perfect Unity Sand Ceremony accessories? Choosing the right Unity vase set and the right color sand is an important part of creating the perfect wedding. At My Divine Wedding, you’ll find everything from heart-shaped vases to the popular family unity nesting vases and a whole lot more. The vase sets can be engraved with your names or a special message to honor your wedding day.
You’ll also find a great selection of high quality crystalline quartz sands in colors ranging from Bermuda Blue, Lavender, Dark Pink, Moss Green and several others. If children or family members are included in the ceremony, you may want to have them choose a color that is symbolic to them.
The wedding sand ceremony, or unity sand ceremony, is becoming ever more popular. It can replace the unity candle or be used after it in the wedding ceremony. In original sand ceremonies, the bride and groom would toss handfuls of sand together into the wind. The grains were combined and unable to be separated, symbolizing unity and eternity. The sand ceremonies of today can be performed in a way that honors both of the families and then kept always as a treasured keepsake.
Sand Ceremony Instructions
Things You'll Need:
- Small- to medium-sized glass vase with narrow mouth
- Smaller vase for each color of sand you will use
- Sand in 3 or 4 different colors (white and your wedding colors)
- Rose petals (optional)
- Tealight candles (optional)
- Clear wax or candle gel
- Double boiler or microwave
- Small circle of cloth
- Rubber band
Sand Ceremony Procedures
Set a small table near the alter before the ceremony. Place the main sand vase in the center. These vases may be ordered with a wedding monogram and date engraved in silver, black or gold script. Place the smaller vases, each containing a different color of sand, around the main vase. You can also use rose petals and small tealight candles for more decoration.
Choose a version of the sand ceremony. The sand ceremony may be modified in any way you wish. One version is to have a base of neutral or white sand already in the main vase. It should fill about one-third of the main vase and be ready before the wedding ceremony begins. This sand is used to represent God as the foundation for the marriage.
Include parents in the ceremony. As in a unity candle ceremony, assign each family a color of sand or both families the same color. For a simpler color scheme, the parents can also use the neutral or white sand. The parents will go first, as two couples, and pour a small amount of colored sand from their small vases into the large vase. Instruct them to move their small vases around as they pour to create a layered design. It is simpler if the parents can pour one vase together as a couple.
Approach the sand ceremony table. The bride and groom may pour identical colors of sand or two separate ones (depending on how many total colors you want incorporated into the final vase). The bride and groom should each have their own separate small vase, but pour their sand into the main vase at the same time. This way their sand mixes together, symbolizing unity and eternity since these sand grains can never be separated.
Complete the rest of the wedding ceremony and reception. After the festivities, fill the main sand ceremony vase with the remaining sand, layering colors to create a design. Leave half an inch at the top of the vase.
Melt clear wax or candle gel using a double boiler or microwave. Gently pour the wax or gel onto the sand until it is level with the top of the vase.
Leave the sand ceremony vase as it is for a keepsake once the wax dries. If you wish to hide the wax, place a circle of coordinating cloth around the top of the vase and secure it with a rubber band. Then place a ribbon over the rubber band. Use a scrap of netting from the wedding veil, cloth from the bridesmaid dresses or groomsmen handkerchiefs, or ribbons from the bridal bouquet for an extra special touch.
Sand Ceremony Tips & Warnings
1. If you are having a beach wedding, couples can simply pick up a handful of sand from the beach.
2. If you still want the colors, use the beach sand as the family or spiritual "base" and colored sand for the bride and groom. This way you still have sand from the beach where you were married, but also a bit of color.
1. The simplest ceremony eliminates the parents and religious foundation, and simply has the bride and groom pour sand into the container at the same time.
2. Order extra sand and experiment with layering it in the vase before the wedding. Let everyone practice so the actual keepsake vase will have a nice design.
3. You can order more sand in the two wedding colors you use to represent the bride and groom. Layer this extra colored sand in candle holders and position white votive candles in the center. Place them on each table at the reception.
4. Another option is to layer the bride and groom sand in tiny bottles with corks and seal them. Hand paint your wedding monogram and the date on each bottle for a wedding favor.
5. Even when sealed with wax, the sand ceremony vase needs to be handled very carefully. Moving and shaking it will cause the sand to mix and you will lose the color distinctions and patterns. Pick a place to set it and try not to move it often.
6. Avoid using too many colors in the vase. The most appealing use the neutral foundation (which can be altered to represent the families instead of God) and two wedding colors.
The Wedding Invitations & Announcements
Q. When should wedding invitations be ordered?
A. Invitations should be ordered when all of the details of the ceremony and reception have been confirmed. Information such as the date, time and place of your service and reception, as well as an accurate guest list count are needed when placing your invitation order. You should order invitations at least three months before the wedding
Q. When should wedding invitations be mailed?
A. Invitations should be mailed approximately 6 to 8 weeks before the ceremony.
Q. Are any special arrangements made for out-of-town guests?
A. It is a good idea to send a “save-the-date card” to your out-of-town guests. This card is usually sent three to four months before the wedding. This is the first news your guests have of the wedding. It typically includes information about the wedding and any special accommodations which you have made for them.
Q. What are considered traditional invitations?
A. Traditional invitations are white, ivory, or ecru with a panel or with out a panel. Traditional invitations can be thermographed or engraved. Thermographed (raised) printed invitations are less expensive and imitate the look of engraving.
Q. May guests be invited to the reception and not the wedding itself?
A. Yes, if the wedding service is attended only by relatives and close friends.
Q. Are wedding announcements ever sent to anyone who’s been invited to the ceremony or reception?
A. No. Wedding announcements are only sent to those who were not invited to the ceremony or reception.
Q. Are wedding invitation envelopes addressed formally?
A. Yes, abbreviations should not be used except for Mr., Mrs., Jr. or Dr.
Q. Is it correct to use “and family” When addressing the invitation envelopes?
A. No. Separate invitations should be sent to adult family members living under the same roof, whenever possible. For small children, address the outer envelope to their parents and write their first names on the inner envelope under their parent’s names.
Q. What is the purpose of the tissue included with my invitation order?
A. In the past, tissues were used to guard against ink smears. Today’s printing methods ensure ink is dry before invitations leave the printing plant, so the tissues are no longer needed. However, many continue to use the tissue as part of their wedding ensemble for aesthetic reasons and for the sake of tradition.
Q. How should the invitation be inserted in the envelopes?
A. The invitation is folded and put in the inner envelope (the smaller envelope) with the folded edge down and the front of the invitation facing the back of the envelope. The inner envelope is the placed in the outer envelope with the front of the inner envelope facing the back of the outer envelope.
Q. When should announcements be mailed?
A. Announcements should be mailed a day or two after the wedding.
Mailing Your Wedding invitations
Tidbit of Information
MARCH 29TH, 2012
Postal Rates on Invitations
I do not know why this is, but the post office is not consistent with what they charge for the postage on invitations, especially pocket fold invitations. The fees charged range from post office to post office and from teller to teller. If you have a postal teller tell you that your pocketfold invitations are over $1.75 each to mail then I would strongly advise you to try another post office before putting them in the mail. Every now and again, I will get a call from a client that tells me the post office told her that her invitations were $1.95 to mail. Every now and again, I will get a call from a client that tells me the post office told her that her invitations were $1.95to mail. They claim that they are not “bendable” and cannot be run through the postal machines. In some instances, this could be the case, but in most instances this is not entirely accurate. I recently had to mail some pocketfold invitations for a bridal shower I am hosting and one post office told me they were $1.95 each to mail. Being that I am in the business, I knew this was not accurate so I went to my local post office. I ended up mailing them for $0.65 each. That was over a $50savings for the number of invitations I needed to mail. I have even had clients that went to a post office one day, got one rate for the invitations,and then went to the same post office the next day (spoke to a different teller) and got another rate. I don’t know why this happens, and I know it is a hassle, but if you are mailing lots of invitations this could save you a lot of money.
Hand Canceling Invitation Envelopes
I always advise my clients to hand cancel their invitation envelopes prior to putting them in the mail. What does this mean you ask? Well, hand canceling simply means that a human stamps a mark over the postage stamp so that the stamp cannot be reused, instead of putting it through a postal machine to do the canceling. Some invitations can get destroyed going through the machines, especially if they are very bulky, have a wax seal, crystals or other embellishments. So if you can reduce the number of machines that the invitations run through you have a better potential that they come out clean. The machines can also cause the addresses to smudge or smear, especially with metallic or glossy envelopes. Not all post offices will offer this service so my suggestion would be to go to your local post office on a non-peak time (weekday early mornings are usually best) and be kind to the postal teller when asking . Kindness goes a LONG way, and some will even allow you to cancel the envelopes yourself. Hand canceling does not cost anything and it is 100% worth it.
The colors of love
The next step in planning your wedding is choosing a color scheme. Your wedding colors are very important; they will be reflected throughout your ceremony and reception and enforce the wedding tone established by your wedding style.
Primarily, wedding colors will beautify your celebration through your bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen attire. Choosing a color to enhance every member of your wedding party is difficult, but traditional colors such as blue, pink, peach, and ivory have the versatility to compliment most features and complexions.
Your wedding color will also be reflected in your bridal bouquet and floral arrangements, and may determine which flowers you are able to use in the ceremony. Unfortunately, Mother Nature does not always create the perfect shades in the perfect petals. If you are unable to find a natural flower in your preferred color, silk flowers may be an option. With the latest techniques, silk flowers may be dyed to perfectly match your color scheme while looking as fresh and natural as real blooms and blossoms.
Your wedding invitations should also reflect your wedding color scheme. Many options are available for promoting your personality through color on your wedding invitations. Colored papers and envelopes provide one attractive solution; however, if your prefer white or ivory paper, using colored inks and colored envelope linings also adds vivid beauty to your celebration. Several neutral invitations also include hints of pastel colors on embossed flowers and designs to reflect your wedding color with subtlety. Discuss all of these color options with an experiences bridal consultant to help determine the right one for you.
The meanings of color may also influence your color scheme decision. Through years of tradition colors have grown to imply feelings and emotions as well as reflect your personality. Choose a color to enhance the season, make a statement, reflect your tastes, or achieve your dreams.
Q. At the bride and groom’s table, where does the bride sit?
A. The bride is seated on the groom’s right.
Q. With divorced parents who attends the reception?
A. Both may attend if agreeable by all, or separate receptions may be given.
Q. Who reads congratulatory telegrams aloud?
A. The best man reads any congratulatory telegrams that are received.
Q. Who proposes the first toast?
A. The best man proposes the first toast to the bride and groom.
Q. Who cuts the first piece of cake?
A. The bride, with the groom’s right hand over hers, cut the first piece of cake. They break the slice and eat it together. A friend or waiter then takes over the slicing of the cake.
Q. What happens at the reception if other couples start dancing before the bride and groom?
A. When the newlyweds appear everyone should stop dancing. Then the bride and groom waltz once around the floor solo.
Q. Is the groom obligated to dance with someone besides the bride?
A. Yes, the groom is obligated to dance with his mother, mother-in-law and the maid of honor.
The Thank You Notes
Q. Is it necessary to send a thank you note to some one I have thanked in person?
A. It is considered socially correct to always send a written thank you note even if you have thanked someone in person.
Q. When should thank you notes be mailed?
A. A written thank you note should be sent as soon as possible after receiving the gift, normally within 2 to 3 weeks of receipt.
Q. Is there a tactful way of thanking someone for a monetary gift?
A. When writing a thank you note for money, it is not necessary or advisable to mention the amount. Instead, refer to it as “your generous gift,” or something similar; mention how you plan to use the money, whether to purchase an appliance or to use it in some other way.
6-8 Months before the wedding
Purchase wedding rings
With your fiancée, determine the number of guests to be invited to the wedding and begin compiling addresses of your guests.
Choose your best man and groomsmen
Arrange an appointment with the officiant to discuss and plan the ceremony
4 Months before the wedding
With your fiancée, select and order your wedding invitations, announcements, and other wedding stationary and reception needs.
Complete your guest list
With your parents, begin making plans for the rehearsal dinner
2 Months before the wedding
Select formal wear and schedule fittings for you and your groomsmen.
Call your county clerk’s office for the marriage license regulations for your state. The license is usually issued the day you apply; however, restrictions such as waiting periods and blood tests may also apply. Discovering these requirements now eliminates hassles in the busy weeks before the wedding.
6 Weeks before the wedding
Purchase gifts for your attendants. Favorites include leather goods, money clips, mugs and writing instruments. A unique idea is embroidered sweatshirts, polo shirts, t-shirts, or golf sets. Present these gifts to your groomsmen at the rehearsal dinner, or other occasions before the wedding.
Purchase a wedding gift for your bride. Select a timeless gift she will treasure forever. A diamond pendant or string of pearls is always perfect.
2 Weeks before the wedding
Discuss “get-away” plans with your best man.
Confirm rehearsal dinner arrangements.
Notify your attendants of rehearsal time.
Confirm honeymoon reservations
Total Average Wedding Cost
National Average Survey Results
Average is based on spending of other brides and grooms not wedding vendor prices. Spending and prices can vary widely. You should expect to pay, on average, 50% to 100%+ more when choosing well-experienced professionals, designer labels, popular event locations, unique or custom products and services. Investigate all options and choose products and services that best meet your needs.
- Attire & Accessories
- Bride Accessories
- Groom Accessories
- Suit (purchased)
- Suit (rented)
- Tuxedo (purchased)
- Tuxedo (rented)
- Wedding Dress
- Wedding Dress Preservation
- Beauty, Health & Spa
- Diet, Weight Loss, Gym
- Hair Removal
- Hair Service
- Makeup Service
- Manicure & Pedicure
- Teeth Whitening
- Dance Lessons
- Live Band
- Musician/s, Soloist, or Ensemble
- Flowers & Decorations
- Boutonnieres, Corsages
- Bridal Bouquet
- Bridesmaid Bouquets
- Ceremony Decorations
- Ceremony Flower Arrangements
- Flower Girl Flowers
- Flower Petals
- Reception Decorations
- Reception Flower Arrangements
- Reception Table Centerpieces
- Gifts & Favors
- Gift/s for Attendants
- Gift/s for Parents
- Gift/s for the Bride
- Gift/s for the Groom
- Wedding Favors
- Ceremony Programs
- Guest Book
- Invitations & Reply Cards
- Reception Menus
- Save the Date Cards
- Table or Place Cards
- Thank You Cards
- Engagement Ring (Not included in Total Average)
- Other Jewelry
- Wedding Band - Bride
- Wedding Band - Groom
- Photography & Video
- Wedding Photographer
- Wedding Videographer
- A La Carte Services
- Day of Coordinator
- For Getting Started
- Full Service
- Month of Direction
- Limo Rental
- Other Travel (Antique Car, Horse & Carriage, Etc.)
- Travel for Guests
- Venue & Catering
- Ceremony Accessories
- Ceremony Location
- Ceremony Officiator
- Hotel Room for After Reception
- Reception Accessories
- Reception Bar Service
- Reception Food Service
- Reception Location
- Reception Rentals (Tent, Table, Chairs, Etc.)
- Rehearsal Dinner
- Wedding Cake
Wedding Cost Search - National Average Survey Results
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NOTE:These numbers are based on National Average Stats.
Average is based on spending of other brides and grooms not wedding vendor prices.
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Wedding Cost Estimator - National Average Survey Results
Average is based on spending of other brides and grooms not wedding vendor prices.
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We will discuss, analysis and work with your Vision, your Budget, to Create, and Fulfil your Dream.
Our industry network - places us in a position to help you beat the odds. We will help you stay to budget. Let us (the professional) work with you to beat what statistics says your wedding will cost?
Education . Q&A through the Brides eye
Why hire a Wedding Planner? Why hire a Videographer?
||Team Work Video
<== Why a Wedding Planner, told by Wanda & Donald?
Why a Videographer, told by Linda & Lawrence? ==>
Different Wedding Cultures
Ethnic Chinese Weddings
Sundanese Wedding Ceremonies
Karo Batak Wedding Ceremonies
Hindu Wedding Ceremonies
African Wedding Ceremonies
Moroccan Wedding Ceremony Traditions
Indonesian Wedding Links
Count yourself fortunate if you've had the opportunity to attend an Indonesian wedding. The fascinating wedding ceremonies and festivities give expatriates a unique opportunity to gain insight into Indonesian culture and social mores.
Given the broad diversity of ethnic groups in Indonesia, it stands to reason that wedding customs will reflect this diversity. Each ethnic group has different wedding dress and different marriage ceremonies and customs. Within ethnic groups, those of different religious backgrounds will have different practices as well.
As a expatriate living in Indonesia you may on occasion receive a wedding invitation. You may not know how to act, what to bring or what your role as a guest in the wedding should be. We'd like to outline what happens at most weddings in Indonesia to help prepare you. If in doubt, consult colleagues or friends that you know have been invited or ask colleagues or your secretary to determine what appropriate dress and gift would be.
Attendance is Important
One of the most important concepts at Indonesian weddings seems to be 'the more the merrier'. Literally every relative, acquaintance, colleague or business partner could be invited to the wedding. Joining a group of others that are invited, even if you did not receive an invitation personally addressed to you, is also okay (as long as it's not a sit down dinner -in which case the limit is clearly stated on the invitation).
Indonesians are truly honored by your attendance at a wedding. Attending shows that you care, that you respect the people involved and your relationship with them, that you honor the family and want to show your support of the newlyweds. Don't question the intent of colleagues or subordinates who, upon short acquaintance, invite you to their daughter's or son's wedding. They really do want you to come!
On the other hand, not responding to the invitation, or not attending can cause a significant insult and slight to the giver, which can cause problems in your relationship in the future. Having said that .. you are not obligated to attend every wedding that you receive an invitation for.
Wedding invitations in Jakarta and other urban centers can be very extravagant. The date on the outside of the envelope is very practical if you receive many wedding invitations. In rural areas, the invitation is done via visits from the family to neighbors and friends.
The sincere welcome extended to guests is noted on the invitation with wording such as "Merupakan suatu kehormatan & kebahagiaan bagi kami apabila Bapak/Ibu/Saudara/i berkenan hadir untuk memberikan doa restu kepada kedua mempelai" or "Tiada yang dapat kami ungkapkan selain ucapan terima kasih dari hati yang tulus atas kehairan serta pemberian do. a restu Bapak/Ibu/Saudara/i kepada putra-putri kami". Both of these phrases mean that you do the family great honor by attending and extending blessings upon the bride and groom.
On the invitation will be noted the date, time and place for the Akad Nikah, which is the actual wedding ceremony,as well as the Resepsi Pernikahan, which is the wedding reception. Even though both ceremonies are noted on the invitation, the majority of people will only attend the reception.
If you would like to attend the wedding ceremony, as this is when most of the cultural ceremonies take place, be sure to ask the person who gave you the invitation if this would be okay. They will probably say yes, but it's best to clear it first as usually a much smaller crowd or just close family members are expected to witness the actual exchange of marriage vows.
For women, nice dresses, much as you would wear to a wedding at home. For men, a business suit or a long-sleeved batik shirt with slacks.
It would be appropriate to wear a long sleeved dress to a Muslim wedding reception. It is not necessary for an expatriate woman to cover her head, though many of the Indonesian attendees may do so.
In the past (as in the mid-90s before the economic crisis), the grand, glorious, conspicuously extravagant weddings in Jakarta were gifted with large floral displays which were placed outside the reception hall. Or, wedding guests brought a wide variety of household goods as gifts. In a large wedding, to which thousands of people may be invited, there would be many duplications of gifts. It would not be unusual at avery large wedding for the wedding couple to receive, for example, 15 blenders, 20 mixers, 10 toasters, 25 rice cookers, 5 refrigerators, 3 cars, etc.
Therefore, a relatively new practice arose in the mid-90s whereby the wedding couple asks the attendees not to bring gifts or floral displays by the inclusion of additional wording on the invitation "Dengan tidak mengurangi rasa hormat dan terima kasih, akan lebih bermanfaat seandainya ungkapan kasih sayang yang mungkin akan diberikan kepada kami tidak berupa cendera mata atau karangan bunga" or "Dengan tidak mengurangi rasa hormat kami, akan sangat berterima kasih apabila tanda kasih yang akan diberikan tidak berupa cenderamata atau karangan bunga". This translates as, Without belittling your generosity, we'd appreciate it if you didn't give us flowers or a gift.
This is a nice way of asking for money instead of gifts. At the reception desk there will be a beautifully decorated box with a slit in the top into which you can insert an envelope with money. If you choose to give money and are uncertain of an appropriate amount to give, ask your secretary or Indonesian colleagues for their suggestions. Sometimes the hostesses will number your envelope as well as next to your signature in the guest book, so that the bride and groom know how much money you gave.
Having said this, you are not obligated to bring a gift to the wedding.
Don't expect a thank you note after the wedding for your gift. In many weddings attendees are given a small token upon their arrival, a fan, key chain or other item. Attached to this item will be a thank you for your attendance.
The difference in the income level of the individuals will, needless to say, have a great bearing on the extent of the wedding celebrations. Weddings in Jakarta range from simple meals in the family home, to
small receptions in community centers to grand extravagant affairs in the Jakarta Convention Center or 5-star hotel ballrooms. At most wedding receptions, the guests arrive, sign the guest book, accept their thank you token, deposit their gift and enter the reception hall.
The path into the reception hall will be flanked left and right with members of the extended families, often dressed in similar traditional dress. A smile and nod to some of these people would be appropriate. Following the family members may be young men and women holding a chain of flowers. This is called the pagar ayu or 'fence of beauty'.
If you arrive on time you will be able to witness the procession of the wedding couple into the reception hall. Depending on the wealth, social standing or ethnic group, this procession can be quite impressive. The bride and groom may be proceeded by dancers who give a traditional dance performance before the wedding couple goes on stage. Or the performance may come after the bride and groom are
seated. The parents of the bride and groom and other senior family members will follow the couple in procession into the room.
Then come the speeches! A representative of each family will address the crowd to thank them for their attendance and to give long, complex expressions of regret if any arrangements for the reception are lacking or found wanting. Depending on whether or not you have one or two representatives speak (thank goodness at some weddings there is only one person representing both families), the speeches can take up to half an hour.
After the speeches, the guests are invited to come to the stage and shake the hands of the bride and groom and their parents. Depending on the number of guests this receiving line can go on for hours. Traditional music may beplayed throughout the reception.
After going through the receiving line, the guests are invited to eat. The feast can be quite extensive and is a good opportunity to try cuisine from different regions. It could be as simple as nasi goreng or bakmi goreng, ikan asem-manis to the more elaborate where there will be food stalls with sushi, tempura, kambing guling, dim sum, beef Wellington and other western dishes. Once the speeches are complete, it is also acceptable to eat first and then join the receiving line after your meal if the line is quite long.
When should you arrive and how long should you stay?
While some attendees will arrive early, the timing of your arrival should be determined by whether or not you want to see the procession and hear the speeches. If you do want to, you should come on time. If you. d rather miss the grand entrance and speeches, you can come 30-60 minutes after the time noted on the invitation. Then you can enter immediately into the reception hall, shake hands and proceed to the buffet tables.
The length of time you spend at the reception is entirely up to you. Many Indonesians may only stay 15-30 minutes to eat a small snack after shaking hands, especially if they have another invitation to attend that night. Some people can even have up to 5 or 6 wedding invitations for one evening! If you are enjoying the splendor and the food, know lots of the attendees and enjoy the chance to chat, stick around and enjoy yourself. If, on the other hand, you don't know anyone who is there, it is acceptable to shake hands, eat and leave promptly (SMP-sudah makan pulang-when you've finished eating you can go home :). In a small wedding you will shake hands again before leaving.
Don't expect that alcohol will be served at the wedding reception or that there would be dancing, this is highly unlikely. Likewise, coming to a wedding after drinking would be considered very rude. Even if the groom is your drinking buddy, weddings are not an appropriate venue in which to be drunk.
Indonesian Ethnic Weddings
The primary differences between wedding receptions of different ethnic groups would be in the style of wedding dress, stage decorations, food served and the dance performance. Besides that, most weddings follow somewhat predictable patterns as described above. More differences would be evident in the traditional wedding ceremonies than in the receptions.
Ethnic Chinese Weddings
On the surface, ethnic Chinese wedding receptions may seem more similar to western weddings, due to the adaptation of western wedding dress and the wedding cake. But that may be the extent of the similarities.
About a week before the wedding, the family of the groom will go (without the groom) to the house of the bride bringing various gifts that are arranged in red baskets or red boxes or other red containers. Red symbolizes happiness and prosperity for the Chinese. Each basket should be carried by a member of the immediate family of the groom. The contents of the basket determines who should carry each basket.
The baskets from the groom should all be carried by males. They contain various items, such as fruit in one basket, clothes in another, gold jewelry for the bride in another. Some are gifts from the groom and others are gifts from the family of the groom. Another basket contains 'uang susu' (milk money). Depending on the wealth of the family the gifts will be more or less generous.
The bride. s family then accepts the baskets and takes them off to another room. Then ... this is the good part ... they sort through the gifts. Normally half of the gifts are placed back in the baskets and returned to the family of the groom. The basket is then returned to the person that brought it and everybody goes home.
Three days before the wedding, the bride's family returns the favor and brings red baskets to the groom's house. These baskets are carried by females of the bride. s immediate family. The baskets normally contain clothes for the groom, shoes and fruit. Basically, things that he would use everyday.
Some of the baskets contain makeup and personal things for the bride, such as nightgowns. This symbolizes that the groom's family is accepting her into their house. On her wedding day when she moves in, all of her personal belongings will already be in the groom's house. Again the gifts are sorted through and about half are returned.
Different ethnic Chinese groups will have variations on these proceedings, some more strictly adhered to than others. For example, Hokian, Cantonese or Kai have slight variations on these customs. For some, the groom's family will be invited into the new couple's bedroom after the bride's gifts have been received into the house and they will be invited to have a 'closet inspection'. It is expected that the bride has placed her things neatly in the closets indicating that she will be a good housekeeper. On the morning of the wedding day, the groom is symbolically dressed by his parents (helping him put his jacket on and his flower on his lapel). Then the groom and his parents would go to the house of the bride. The wedding couple would serve tea to both sets of parents while kneeling down in front of them. This symbolizes paying their respects as well as asking permission of their parents.
The bride and groom would then go to the church, together in the same car, for the service. The church service is not really considered that important and only immediate family normally attend. The more important event to attend is the reception.
After the church service, the newlyweds proceed to a professional photo studio and have their picture taken in 20 different poses so they have something to show their children 20 years later. After the photo session, the newlyweds go on to the reception that is usually a standing only event.
The reception is run by an MC, usually someone who is hired to do the job and has perhaps met the couple once on a previous occasion to ask them some very informal questions so as he can pretend to know them. The reception begins with a speech of welcome from the MC.
The speech is followed by cake cutting ceremony. The wedding cake is usually a monstrous size. Normally it is lapis Surabaya (a layer cake) as the layers symbolize a ladder that you can climb up to success. It is also for this reason that some couples will cut the cake from the bottom layer and work their way upwards rather than starting at the top and working their way to the bottom!
The cutting of the cake is usually the only event at the reception. The bride and groom cut the cake together and then feed the cake to each other with entwined arms, trying not to destroy the bride's elaborate makeup in the process. Then a piece of the cake would also be cut for each of the parents and grandparents and they too would be fed by the bride and groom holding the cake together.
After the cake cutting, and sometimes a toast, the guests are invited to shake hands with the newlyweds and their parents on the stage. In all weddings there is some musical entertainment as the attendees line up to shake hands. This could be as simple as a man with a keyboard up to the Jakarta Symphony or Twilite Orchestra. You would also shake hands again when you are going to leave.
At more elaborate ethnic Chinese weddings, there could be a sit-down wedding reception. If this is the case, expect an elaborate 9 to 10 course meal. It could feature Chinese cuisine only, or be mixed with western dishes as well. There could be a female singer or two, usually from Taiwan. Occasionally, friends or family members will get up from the audience to sing for the wedding couple. The head tables will usually get a bottle of cognac or whiskey. At the weddings of the very wealthy, beer, wine or champagne maybe served to the guests.
Most of the ethnic Chinese customs that a decade ago would have been compulsory are being ignored by the younger generation today. Most of the customs that are carried out are done so to satisfy parents.
Sundanese Wedding Ceremony
Some common practices from a traditional Sundanese (West Java) wedding ceremony:
Welcoming the bridegroom ceremony
- The bridegroom is welcomed with the umbul-umbul, a decoration indicating that a wedding ceremony is going on, which is also auspicious for the bridegroom.
- The welcome is followed by a procession of ladies with candles. They pray to the Almighty seeking His blessing in order that there maybe no hindrances in the ceremony.
- The showering of flowers by the dancers is symbolic of a fragrant future for the couple.
- The umbrella held over the couple's heads, apart from serving as a protective symbol, indicates esteem and respect.
- The mother of the bride gives the bridegroom a garland of flowers indicating his acceptability to the family.
- The mother of the bride gives the bridegroom a keris, a hidden message to the son-in-law not to be disheartened while toiling for his family.
The bride and groom are seated next to each other with a selendang or veil covering their heads indicating two people but having one mind.
The bride and groom bend forward and kiss the knees of their parents, called sungkem, asking for forgiveness and blessing and reassuring them that they will continue to serve their parents.
This ceremony should take place in front of the sawer or gargoyle. The water flowing from the gargoyle indicates the continuous flow of priceless parental love for their children.
The bride and groom are seated under an umbrella in front of the entrance to the house. There are two singers, a man and a woman, who sing on behalf of the parents. The song, called kidung, advises the couple to treat each other well, living in harmony, and serves as a prayer to the Almighty to bless the couple.
Then the sawer is showered on the couple. It consists of:
Turmeric rice Rice is a sign of prosperity and yellow stands for everlasting love
Coins Reminding the couple to share their wealth with the less fortunate
Candy Indicates sweetness and fragrance throughout their marriage
A betel nut set near the couple is a reminder that their different customs should not spoil their harmonious marriage.
This is the egg breaking ceremony. The couple are required to stand facing each other in front of the entrance of the house. The bridegroom stands outside the entrance and the bride is inside the entrance.
This ceremony is conducted by the lady in charge of the bridal makeup and serves as advice to the couple for their happiness and long wedded life.
The following items are used:
a. Harupat, seven broomsticks, are burnt and thrown away symbolizing the discarding of bad habits which endanger one. s married life.
b. An egg is broken, indicating that the groom will be the master of the house
henceforth and the bride will serve him.
c. Ajug, seven candles, represents the direction the couple should follow to ensure a happy married life.
d. Elekon, hollow bamboo, which symbolizes emptiness.
e. Kendi, an earthen water jug filled with water, which stands for peace.
f. In the past, unmarried girls were not allowed to cross over logs. Here the bride is made to cross the log as a sign that she will always obey her husband.
The lady in charge of the ceremony gives the bride the harupat. The groom lights the harupat with the ajug. Then the flames are put out and the sticks are broken and thrown away. After the groom breaks the egg with his right foot, the bride cleans the groom's foot with the water from the kendi. Then the bride throws the kendi to break it.
Then the couple are escorted to the house. The bride crosses the log and enters the house while the groom remains outside to perform the buka pintu ceremony.
This is a dialogue between the bride and groom in front of the house. However, they are represented by a couple who also sings for them. First, the couple knocks three times on the door, then enters into a dialogue whereby permission is requested by the groom to enter the bride's house. The bride consents on the condition that the groom will say the syahadat (confirming his Moslem faith). The song also solemnizes the importance of the nuptial ceremony.
Symbolic of the last time the parents of the bride will feed their daughter. This is also the first dish prepared by the daughter in her new home. The dish consists of turmeric sticky rice with yellow spiced chicken on top of it.
The couple are given a barbecued spiced chicken. On hearing the word . go. from the lady conducting the ceremony, the couple has to pull the chicken apart. The one who gets the larger piece supposedly will bring in the larger share of the family fortune. This ceremony also serves to remind the couple to encourage each other to work hard together to gain good fortune.
Indonesian Wedding Links
For a small, intimate wedding in a tranquil garden setting, The Watergarden in East Bali is the perfect location. From the simplest Balinese Blessing Ceremony through to a full religious and legal ceremony, the hotel can arrange every detail.
View Dirk and Irien's Wedding and learn more about Javanese wedding customs
Bruce and Yanti's Balinese Hindu wedding
Steven and Desy's traditional Sundanese wedding
African People & Culture
An African American Wedding
When a bride in the United States desires an "African-style wedding," she may be referring to the tradition of Yoruba. This very spiritual service reflects the depth of the African family by the sharing of gifts and love.
The ceremony process may begin about a month before the wedding with a spiritual reading. Elements of the actual ceremony may include a Libation (a prayer with an offering, usually water or liquor offered by an elder). This ritual calls upon and asks God's blessing and the blessings of ancestral spirits. The groom verbally seeks permission from the bride's mother to marry her daughter.
Gifts are presented to the brides family symbolizing the ability of the groom to take care of this woman. They are accepted by the bride's father. Other elements of the ceremony may include a tasting and explanation of spices, prayers, exchange of rings. A great celebration follows.
The most widely known African American wedding tradition is "jumpin the broom". This tradition was started in southern colonies of the United States during the days of slavery. Marriage for field hands was uneconomical and prohibited, but for house and yard servants and for artisans it was sometimes permitted but without legal sanction.
African weddings are a family affair and involve the combining of two lives, two families, and sometimes even two communities! There are many different wedding traditions in the African continent and no two are exactly alike. However, in all the communities the bride plays a very special role and is treated with respect because she is a link between the unborn and the ancestors. A bride might eventually bear a very powerful child, so she is treated with respect. In some areas of East Africa the grooms family would even move to the brides village and set up a whole new house there.
There are many steps that take place before marriage starting at a very young age where training takes place in how to be a suitable partner. Girls will many times go to circumcision schools where women teach them what is involved in marriage, and in some ethnic groups even learn secret codes and languages so that they can communicate with other married women. In the Wolof tribe there is even a time where the elders of the village gather with the bride and give advice and gifts.
Weddings can be very elaborate, involving feasting and dancing for days within a community, they can be very simple, or they can even be performed in huge marriage ceremonies involving many different couples.
African Wedding Cultural Traditions
In Ethiopia the Karo people enhance a young brides beauty by tattooing her abdomen with different symbols.
Amhara people: most marriages are negotiated by the two families, with a civil ceremony sealing the contract. A priest may be present. Divorce is allowed and must also be negotiated. There is also a "temporary marriage," by oral contract before witnesses. The woman is paid housekeeper's wages, and is not eligible for inheritance, but children of the marriage are legally recognized and qualify for inheritance. Priests may marry but not eligible for divorce or remarriage.
The Massai people of Kenya grow up with children of their own age and normally form relationships with these people. However, in marriage women are given to a man they do not know who is much older then themselves. The bride packs all her belongings and is dressed in her finest jewelry. At the marriage ceremony the father of the bride spits on the brides head and breasts as a blessing and then she leaves with her husband walking to her new home she never looks back fearing that she will turn to stone. This can be a very sad experience for the bride, who is 13-16 years old and may walk a long way to get to her new house. In order to ward off bad luck sometimes the women of the grooms family will even insult the bride.
The Swahili of Kenya bathe brides in sandalwood oils and tatoo henna designs on her limbs. A women elder, or somo, gives instructions to the bride on how to please her husband. Sometimes the somo will even hide under the bed in case there are any problems!
In another area of Kenya the main feature of the wedding is the kupamba, which happens the night after the wedding, it is basically a display of the bride. It is very popular because it is a party just for the women, and when they enter the party they are able to take off their large veils and show off elaborate hairstyles and dresses. The party can almost become a competition because it is believed that if a women has a good husband he will get her beautiful jewelry and clothes.
For the Samburu tribe marriage is a unique series of elaborate ritual. Great importance is given to the preparation of gifts by the bridegroom (two goatskins, two copper earrings, a container for milk, a sheep) and of gifts for the ceremony. The marriage is concluded when a bull enters a hut guarded by the bride's mother, and is killed.
The Himba people of Namibia kidnap a bride before the ceremony and dress her in a leather marriage headdress. After the ceremony she is brought into the house where the family tells her what her responsibilities will be as the wife and then anoint her with butterfat from cows. This shows that she has been accepted into the family.
The Wodabee of Niger court their cousins for marriage. The male cousins wear powerful amulets which are supposed to heighten their attractiveness to the girl. If there are two cousins who desire the same girl the girl chooses the one she wishes and the other man is welcomed into the home of the couple, and if consent is given by the bride he may even share her bed!
The Neur people of southern Sudan the groom must pay 20-40 cattle, the marriage is completed only after the wife has born 2 children. If the wife only bears one child and the husband asks for a divorce he can also ask for either the return of the cattle or the first child. Divorce therefore is very difficult. Another interesting fact is that if a husband dies then the husbands family must provide a brother to the widow and any children born to the brother are considered the deceased's children.
Historic Moroccan Wedding Traditions
A traditional wedding of a bride from Morocco is expensive and impressive. The dowry is paid before a notary and is spent on the bride's trousseau and new furniture. The jewelry she receives must be made of gold (rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings). During the engagement period, (which usually lasts six months to two years) the prospective groom sends his bride-to-be gifts of cloth, gowns and perfume on feast days.
Five days before the wedding, a mattress, blankets, and other necessities are carried into the bridal chamber. The bride is given a bath in the hammam. Her female wedding attendants, called negassa, closely supervise. She is applied make up (including henna-stained designs) to her hands and feet. She is then dressed in her embroidered wedding finery of white robes. She is then placed behind a curtain, symbolizing her transition to a new life.
The next evening the bride, while sitting on a round table, is carried on the shoulders of her wedding attendants as they are singing and shouting walking to the bridal chamber. This ritual of carrying her to the bridal chamber while festivities go on happens for the next seven days. The wedding attendants stand behind a screen to verify the bride's virginity and witness her defloration. After a second ritual bath, the wedding attendants leave the house and the couple are left alone.
Ankole Wedding Traditions
Ankole was a most important lake kingdom in prestige and population. The king owned all the cattle and theoretically owned all its women. Hima fathers were anxious to call attention to their daughters because the king gave generous wedding gifts. Should she marry her husband would be a future king and that meant her family would share the glory. Slim girls were unfit for royalty so those girls whom the king found to be of interest to marry one of his sons were force fed with milk until very heavy, barely able to walk.
Pygmie Wedding Traditions
Pygmie engagements were not long and usually formalized by an exchange of visits between the families concerned. The groom to be would bring a gift of game or maybe a few arrows to his new in-laws, take his bride home to live in his band and with his new parents. His only obligation is to find among his relatives a girl willing to marry a brother or male cousin of his wife. If he feels he can feed more than one wife, he may have additional wives.
Nile Wedding Traditions
Along the Nile, if a man wishes to see his sons well married, he must have numerous sheep, goats and donkeys. When marriage negotiations are underway, the father of the bride will insist that each of her close relatives be given livestock. The grooms problem is to meet the demands while holding enough cattle to support his bride.
Similar to our custom of sending wedding invitations and expecting gifts in return, he makes the rounds of relatives getting contributions for his bridal herd. Each day for a series of wedding days there is a special event. On the first day, or the wedding day, the groom arrives at the bride's homestead wearing a handsome leopard skin draped over his cowhide cape. Usually that will be all.
Nilotes are devoted nudists. Clay, ash, feathers, sandals and a necklace are considered ample dress for any occasion. The bride wears the beaded apron and half skirt of the unmarried girl.
After the private cattle negotiations are publicly and elaborately re-enacted, the bride is taken to the groom's homestead and installed in the compound of her eldest co-wife until a separate place can be prepared for her.
Congo(Zaire) Wedding Traditions of the Woyo People
Marriage is a key moment that follows immediately after initiation among many peoples because both events serve to break the bonds of the individual with childhood and the unmarried state, and to reintegrate the individual into the adult community.
Among the Woyo people,a young woman is given a set of carved pot lids by her mother when she marries and moves to her husband's home. Each of the lids is carved with images that illustrate proverbs about relations between husband and wife.
If a husband abuses his wife in some way or if the wife is unhappy, she serves the husband's supper in a bowl that is covered with a lid decorated with the appropriate proverb. She can make her complaints public by using such a lid when her husband brings his friends home for dinner.
Zambian Wedding Traditions
To demonstrate the differences of African culture, here are some examples of several Zambian weddings. Although these weddings take place in the same country, difference provinces have different ways of approaching the marriage ceremony. The common thread is the closeness of the bridal family to achieve the goal of a wedding and lasting relationship. Marriage payments are to the family of the bride rather than to the brides parents.
In traditional Zambian society, a man marries a women, a woman never marries a man. It is taboo if a woman seeks out a man for marriage.
In Namwanga, a young man is allowed to find a girl. He proposes and gives her an engagement token called Insalamu. This is either beads or money to show his commitment. It also shows that the girl has agreed to be married. His parents then approve or disapprove his choice. Should they reject his choice, he starts to look again. If they agree, then the marriage procedure begins.
A man who has reached the age for marrying in the Ngoni society looks for a girl of marriageable age. Once he has selected someone, the two agree to marry and tell their respective relatives.
The Lamba or Lima mother started the process of finding a girl for her son to marry. She would search for an initiated girl known locally as ichisungu or moye. (An uninitiated girl was not for marriage until she reached puberty or initiation age.) The mother of the man visited neighboring villages looking for the right unmarried initiated girl. When she found one - one whom was from a good family according to her judgments, not the son's, she would go to the mother of the girl and tell her that she wanted her son to marry her daughter. The mother would then discuss this with her daughter, the man's mother would return home and come back a few days later for an answer.
Many Bemba men began their marriages by first engaging young girls below the age of puberty. The young girl is not consulted with at all. The girl would go to her future husband's house, sometimes alone, most often with friends after the marriage price was negotiated. On her first trip to his house she did not talk to him or enter his house without small presents being given to him. She would then speak to him and do a lot of housework for him. She would do what she thought was good for her future husband. This period of courtship was known as ukwisha. During this period, she was responsible for the man's daily food. The groom had to build his own house in the village where he was living, or in the village of his parents-in-law.
The go-between to initiate the marriage negotiations is the commonalty of all marriage arrangements in Zambia.
In Namwanga, the man's parents arrange for a Katawa Mpango. This is a highly respected person representing the groom's interests. The groom's family gets ready and decides on a day to visit the girl's family. The girl, after receiving the Insalamu, takes it to her grandmother. This is the official way her family is informed.
Her grandmother informs her parents and the family. They either accept or reject the proposal. Whatever the decision, they then wait for the man's family to approach them by way of the Katawa Mpango. When he visits, he traditionally will take a manufactured hoe, wrapped in cloth with a handle. The hoe is a symbol for the earth, for cultivation, for fertilization. He carries white beads and small amount of money. The beads and money are put in a small plate covered with another small plate of equal size.
The go-between must know the house of the girl's mother. Traditionally, he knocks on the door and is invited in. Dramatically he falls on his back and claps his hands. This is to indicate to the girls marriage panel that he is on a marriage mission. Then he places the hoe and plates on the floor halfway between the marriage panel and himself. He then explains his mission and is asked many questions by the girl's family. If no decision is made by the girl's family, the hoe is taken back, beads and money are taken by the girl's family. If a decision of rejection is reached that day, the hoe is taken back. If they accept, the plates are opened and the hoe is accepted once the girl acknowledges she knows the source.
The go-between reports to the man's family. If the answer is positive, the family starts to prepare marriage payments and a marriage council is instituted to look into affairs. The go-between returns on a specified day for details on the marriage payments. When he returns, exotic foods are prepared for his second journey by the man's family.
In pre-colonial period, the marriage payment included cattle (four or more), chickens and a cow (if the girl was a virgin). This payment went to the mother in appreciation for giving birth to the girl. Other payments are demanded nowadays -- a chitenge cloth, canvas shoes and a dress -- 2 blankets, a pair of shoes and a suit for the father.
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