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Most weddings contain wedding vows and a proclamation of marriage, usually by the officiant. Most weddings also involve wearing traditional clothes (i.e., kilts, white gown, red sari, etc.). A wedding is often followed or accompanied by a wedding reception.

Other elements may include music, poetry, prayer or scripture. Some elements of the traditional Western wedding ceremony symbolize the bride's departure from her father's control and entry into a new family with her husband. In modern Western weddings, this symbolism is largely vestigial.

A wedding carriage in Bristol, England
A wedding carriage in Bristol, England

The common element in a wedding is the assumption of husband and wife roles as well as the roles of the future parents. The wedding is a special moment that marks the beginning of a new generation, a new family and a life together. This moment is recognized with traditions, ceremonies and rituals including engagement and wedding ceremonies.

When it comes to planning a wedding people often honor traditions, even if they do not fully understand their origin or meaning. Every culture cherishes its own wedding traditions and superstitions. Some of those are closely followed even by those who are normally not superstitious.

The figure of a bride in white is an important element of the ritual of marriage. However, new designs of gown are available so brides today may find themselves attracted to designs that do not look traditional. The symbolism behind the wedding dress, however, has not changed.

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