Culture Clash Wedding: Western Customs

Last post we explored the weird world of Cajun wedding customs. Now it’s time to tackle the nuptual rituals we should all be familiar with:

Western Customs:

The Bride & Groom Not Seeing Each Other: Before the wedding. This is a terribly annoying and inconvenient tradition. Our wedding is at night, and I hate sitting for pictures when it’s dinner time & I need a cocktail and some damn food. So, we’re going to take most of the pictures ahead of time during the day, so the photog won’t have to lug around lighting equipment. But, my mom will probably insist that Mr. Panda and I spend the night apart. Boo. Hiss. Totally pointless and stupid.

It’s like when you blindfold kids before they hit the pinata at a birthday party- Completely pointless becasue you totally don’t make it to where they can’t cheat. Hell, those kids could hurt somebody if they really can’t see to swing. Not to mention that they’re already standing right in front of the pinata, and they already know what the pinata looks like and how high you’ve hung it. The whole blindfolding thing is a transparent ruse.

So yeah, at this point, my fiance’ and I have lived together for 3 years. We know each other pretty well. And I can’t sleep without him, so I’m going to be puffy-eyed and tired the day of the wedding. Thanks, antiquated tradition!

Something Old, Something New…: I think I’m gonna do this one, just because it sounds like a scavenger hunt, and scavenger hunts rule.

Bridal Veil: Oh, hell naw. Them things are ugly. And expensive. Two things I cannot abide together. If I wanted something ugly and expensive, I’d buy a hairless dog or a Very Bradley (diaper) bag. Besides, I’ve been doing my research on what purpose veils serve, and I’m not really getting any clear answers. What I AM getting, however, are some seriously questionable tall tales of misogyny:

* Related to the days when a groom would throw a blanket over the head of the woman of choice when he captured & carted her off.

The caveman connotations are really sweet.

* Related to arranged marriages where the bride’s face would be covered until the groom was committed to the bride at the ceremony, so it would be too late for him to run off if he didn’t like the looks of his bride.

So, the veil is ugly people marriage insurance? Nice.

* A woman’s face covered by a veil meant she was spoken for.

Why not just have the man pee on the woman every morning to mark his territory?

* Unmarried women wore veils thorughout life as a sign of modesty, and by married women as a signof submissiveness to their husbands.

So which is it, married or unmarried women? If they all wear veils, how can you tell who’s single and modest and who’s married and pinioned under her husband’s thumb? “Submission” is icky.

* The veil represents the days when a bride would wear her hair flowing down her back on her wedding day as a symbol of her virginity.

Well, guess what….

* In ancient Judaism, the lifting of the veil took place just prior to the consummation of the marriage in sexual union. The uncovering or unveiling that takes place in the ceremony is a symbol of what will take place in the marriage bed. Just as the two become one through their words spoken in wedding vows, so these words are a sign of the physical oneness that they will consummate later on. The lifting of the veil is a symbol and an anticipation of this.

a.) It’s not like we’ve never done it. and b.) Gross. I really don’t want to wear a symbol of sexual stuff in front of my family.

So yeah, veils are ugly and symbolize some really fucked up shit. It’s a big NO.

Birdesmaids: I only get this one day. This one day to weild unlimited power and make my friends wear a hideous dress of my choosing. The draw of this evil omnipotence is too great to refuse. (Just kidding, I’m going to dress my favoite ladies in really cute dresses and buy them cute accessories to go with it. Because I loves them.)

Wedding Cake/Cutting/Smashing: Jury’s still out on the mountain of cake tip. But we may do the cake feeding thing with some petits fours or something. Which helps bring the possibility of cake smashing that much lower.

Saving the Top Layer: Yeah. People do this. They save the top layer of their wedding cake in the freezer to be eaten on the 1st anniversary. I think this is pretty gross, my freezer space is precious real estate and Mr. Panda doesn’t eat sweets. So it’s not looking good. I think instead we’ll just eat some of the same dishes on our anniversary that we had at our wedding.

Bouquet Toss: As much as I hate the implication that singledom is a bad thing, and that marriage is what every little girl dreams about, it really can’t hurt to throw a bundle of flowers if somebody feels like catching them. So it’s a maybe. Besides, I’m not gonna want to carry those flowers around all night. Having some mooney-eyed fool catch my bouquet and then carry it around all night will feel kind of like having my own umbrella-holder like all the celebs.

Garter Toss: What the fuck do you think?

Giving the Bride Away: No. Misogynistic bullshit. I’m not about to have my dad walk me down the aisle and then hand me off to my husband like some kind of cotraband-filled suitcase. Plus my dad wants to call off my wedding, so I’ll be damned if he’s walking my ass down that aisle. Mr. Panda and I can walk together. We’re a team, that’s just how we roll.

Rice Throwing: For bounty and fertility in the marriage. I hear it’s bad for the birds, and I don’t like being pelted with shit. So, as a further nod to our Chinese-ish wedding and my affinity for pyrotechnics, the guests will probably send us off holding sparklers.

If you can think of any western wedding traditions I may have left out, please share in the comments! And, don’t forget to stay tuned for CCW: III, Korean Wedding Customs!


9 responses to “Culture Clash Wedding: Western Customs

  1. I had never heard any of the veil traditions before. Thanks for enlightening me. And I applaud the plan of walking down the aisle with Mr. Panda instead of being given away. If I ever get married, there’s no WAY I’m having my dad walk with me. My mom, maybe.

  2. Aren’t veils just icky to you now? I’m not sure I even want to look at one ever agian.

    And the “giving away” is bollocks. Not. Gonna. Happen.

  3. Yeah, I never had any real opinion on veils, but now? No. I do reserve the right to rock a tiara if I so choose, though.

    However, I don’t think my wedding will ever be able to out-princess this moment in my life. Though if I hadn’t developed hips in college, I’d probably want to use that as my wedding dress.

  4. Actually the bride not seeing the groom before the wedding is custom of English speaking countries. I believe there are several European cultures where it’s perfectly fine for the bride and groom to arrive at the church together. As for veils, I think they’re used in many cultures, not just western ones. Chinese brides covered their faces with a red veil.

  5. I am right there with you on the veil. Gross. And I wouldn’t save the cake either. I don’t even like to eat cookies the day after I bake them, much less a cake that’s been shoved behind a box of Ellio’s pizza for 12 months.

    Also: I can’t sleep without my bf there, either! But I am superstitious like whoa, so like you, I’ll probably fold to tradition on that one.

    I LOVE that you are walking down the aisle together. Awesome.

    So here is a tradition question: What are you going to do about a receiving line? Because I find those awkward and forced, but that may just be me.

  6. I don’t think we’ll do a recieving line. I don’t usually see Southerners doing that one. But my in-laws are yankees, so they may try to force us to do it. But, then there are pictures to be taken, and I’m hypoglycemic, so I’ll receive people with crawfish pies and Korean dumplings in my mouth. HA!

  7. LadySkittlehattington

    Have you seen the Martha Stewart mag parody book where “Martha” sharpens the rice so that it stabs the bride in the face when tossed? Or when she has the bridesmaids make their own dresses out of chicken wire and flowers? If not, you MUST SEE. It’s brilliant.

  8. a.clever.otter

    I love the sparkler sendoff!

    And in addition to being misogynistic, veils are just one more thing for me to trip on.

  9. Skinny Bone Jones

    1. I heart sparklers.
    2. WTF is a receiving line?
    3. I will cockpunch M if she tries to smash me with cake. She is down with never doing this ever. Word.
    4. You are a generous bride.
    5. Triple-word on the daddy-walks-baby-down-the-aisle bullshit. I love your we-walk-together thing, that’s just so sweet and perfect.

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