Note: This was the very first lesson on my website!
In English-speaking countries, a typical wedding begins with a wedding ceremony. This is when the bride and groom are officially wed. In the past, the ceremony was in a church, but it is becoming more common now for people to get married in another location. When the ceremony is in a church, it is performed by a pastor. When the ceremony is in another location and it is not a religious ceremony, it is performed by a wedding celebrant or officiant.
Learn more: English Vocabulary: Marriage
The ceremony is then followed by dinner and dancing. This is called the wedding reception. Together, these two events are called a wedding,
NOT a wedding party!
I went to a wedding last weekend.
I went to a wedding party last weekend.
The wedding party is the group of people directly involved in the wedding and the people who participate in the wedding ceremony: the bride, the groom, and their attendants. The wedding party is sometimes called the bridal party.
A groom will have a best man and groomsmen. A bride will have a maid of honour and bridesmaids. Young children may also participate as flower girls, page boys, or ring bearers (who carry the wedding rings exchanged by the bride and groom). This is the wedding party. The bride and groom usually choose friends and family members to be their groomsmen and bridesmaids.
During a wedding ceremony, the couple says their vows. These are the words when the couple makes promises to each other. You may have seen this part of a wedding in American TV shows and movies. As part of the vows in English, the bride and groom say “I do.” This is the answer to a question asked by the pastor or celebrant. Here is the traditional question that the bride and groom are asked during a wedding:
Do you, [name], take thee, [name], to be your wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do you part?
After the wedding, the bride and groom are called newlyweds. They then go on a short vacation called a honeymoon.