Thursday, August 21, 2014

Never Be Surprised at a Wedding Ceremony Again

"Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette" by Anna Post and Lizzie Post  William Morrow   380 pages   $29.99

If you are a different faith or nationality than that of the happy couple, some of the things at their weddings may surprise you.  To avoid any possible neural shocks, the Posts et al have complied a very helpful précis of them.  With no further introduction ...

African-America:  very often the African colors are represented, predominantly red, green and gold Kente cloth which may be an altar cover.  The old ritual of "jumping the broom" may be included.  I think this dates back to the days when the only preacher available was a circuit rider and jumping the broom represented setting up a new, united household until the priest could arrive. 

British:  Banns (announcement of the intent) must be posted in the church of choice and read aloud for three consecutive Sundays, a custom which probably goes back to the days when travel was difficult; communication virtually non-existent and the only way to hear "official" news was at the church itself. 

Chinese:  Red is the color for happiness and luck and you may see a great deal of it at the wedding.  Fortune tellers and feng shui experts have examined the couples' birthdates, astrological signs and determined the best day (and time, occasionally) for the union. 

French:  the Catholic church still reigns and marriages in France start with the official marriage in the Mayor's office, closely followed by a church service and then a reception.  Included in the reception are the groom's family grumbling about, "Too long for drinks!  I thought we'd never eat!"  "What on earth was that dinner meat?"  (Huge sniff) "Three cakes are traditional; not two!  How stingy!"  I know; I was there.

Germany:  The excitement is the night before the wedding ceremony - it's a sort of pre-reception with the happy couple being teased and everyone sets to with a will smashing plates.

Greece:  Bridal veils are often bright red or yellow, symbolizing fire to ward off evil spirits.  The bride may have a sugar cube (for a sweet life) or a strand of ivy (for endless love)  secreted in a pocket. 

Hispanic:  Brides don't wear pearls - bad luck!  The traditional dress is white, but the bride will have sewn ribbons onto her lingerie - yellow for food; blue for money and red for passion.  But I wouldn't advise the gentlemen present to try to sneak a peek.  The male Latino (generally) has a fiery temper and a deep sense of ownership.

To be continued...

No comments: