Weddings necessarily take place under the constraints of legal and ecclesiastical regulations, but these change over time.The bride, too, has up-to-date ideas.They cannot join together in some time-honoured ceremonial when the newly-wedded pair enter their new home; instead, they wave hats and handkerchiefs in the wake of a train or a motor which is carrying the couple to a distant dwelling-place.The way couples celebrate their wedding has always depended largely on their class, relative affluence or poverty, religion, and the region where they lived, but also on the dictates of fashion, which may vie strongly with those of tradition.
In addition, many couples now choose to go abroad to marry, and members of alternative religions (Wiccans, Druids, etc.Medieval rules forbidding marriage during penitential seasons, on high festival days, and after midday, are long gone; civil marriages came in in 1836, the 1994 Marriage Act allowed premises other than churches and registry offices to host marriage ceremonies.She wants to make a sensation, like Lady Dunfunkus Macgregor’s daughter, a description of whose marriage she has just read in the Daily Mail … Her dress and her doings, and all the wedding festivities, must as far as possible be modelled on a fashionable pattern, till finally modern conventionalities and not ancient customs rule the day.Wright correctly identifies mobility (both social and geographical) and fashion as the factors involved: The bridegroom’s friends and relations are often complete strangers to the bride’s kith and kin, their ways and beliefs are unknown to each other.It is too soon to say how these major changes will affect the traditional aspects of weddings, and what compromises between old and new will evolve.Of all the life-cycle points, getting married is the most public.By May 1998 there were over 2,000 newly approved venues, mostly hotels and stately homes, but also museums, sports facilities, and halls, and a new industry of what might be called ‘genre weddings’ sprang up almost overnight.
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