Wedding belles new
TRADITIONAL CEREMONIES GIVING up ground to modern
life, but still popular with many new brides.
Friday, June 02, 2006
By DEBRA K HESSThe Express-Times
Wedding festivities and ceremonies, as described in the Old and New
Testaments, began in the home of the bride and were concluded at the home
of the bridegroom, where the marriage contract was read and blessings were
pronounced by parents and friends. The couple then went to their private
room, offered prayers, and sexually consummated their relationship.
Fast forward to wedding festivities and ceremonies in 2006, and
Robert Beaver of High Bridge, an award-winning photographer, has seen
many changes when it comes to wedding photography, including the
transformation from black and white film to digital color.
Capturing the moment
Beaver says brides today like to see what happens at their weddings.
"They want a more journalistic type of photo today versus candid
photographs. Those days are long gone."
In spite of these changes and this new philosophy, tradition is still
important for many brides, says Beaver. "Brides still want family shots,
close relatives. What they don't want are the pictures with the garter and
throwing of the bouquet."
In comparing weddings then and now, Danielle Badiali, owner and chief
executive officer of Full Circle Bridal and Events Counseling based in
Clinton (fullcirclebridal.com), says weddings are a huge financial and
"There are many considerations, especially when it comes to families.
Many brides work full time. There are second marriages, extended families,
fusion families and children to be considered. I see more fathers of the
brides and bridegrooms becoming involved as well."
Keeping it simple
Though not much has really changed in the way of tradition, there are
some new trends.
"Brides want simple, elegant, small and intimate," notes Badiali.
"Flowers, for example, have much more to do with etiquette. Low-level
bowls or black wrought-iron candleholders are used for centerpieces rather
than something extravagant."
Weddings do not always happen close to home these days. "Things are
broadening. Destinations are a hot spin right now," says Badiali. Her
business handles about 25 weddings annually throughout New York, New
Jersey and Pennsylvania. That amounts to a wedding about every other
Badiali also identifies weddings as becoming more thematic.
Having a theme for a wedding also permits room for personalization. For
example, brides and bridegrooms like the idea of having signature drinks,
says Badiali. "One drink is named after the bride and another after the
She remembers another wedding in which the theme was an English garden
-- lots of lemons and limes. Each table, for instance, was named after a
flower, such as sweet pea or Queen Anne's lace, instead of the traditional
place cards with the table number on it.
Building a theme
"Everyone wants something different," Badiali says.The Rev. Frances
Merkel, pastor of Christ United Church in Bath, has also seen more of an
increase in theme weddings. There was a country style wedding, for
example, where everyone rode on a hayride, followed by a western-style
buffet. The women wore black dresses with white lace collars; the men wore
black jeans, black vests and cord ties.
Merkel doesn't have a problem with trends or themes. It is appropriate
for weddings to have themes or for the couple to be married outdoors, but
the ceremony "needs to be in the faith," says Merkel.
The Rev. Glenn Waskow, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in
Phillipsburg, has seen more weddings taking place in locations other than
Waskow has united couples in marriage at a fire hall, in a garden, the
patio of a restaurant and at the beach with the waves crashing in the
It is not just the location of the wedding that breaks tradition. The
style of music has also changed, Merkel says, to include more modem songs.
"Many times, however, these selections are not in the faith tradition."
The lighting of the unity candle is another aspect Merkel considers
when preparing couples for their big day.
"For couples who have lived together, the unity candle does not have
the same meaning," Merkel explains.
She offers an alternative.
Instead of lighting the candle, the ring bearer will bring up an empty
brandy snifter and place it where the unity candle would be. The bride and
bridegroom have small flasks of colored sand -- each one with a different
color. At the right moment, the couple will pour the sand simultaneously
into the large snifter, blending the colors together, signifying their
Sharing the ceremony
To start their life together, Karen Barger and Jeff Rose exchanged
their wedding vows May 21 during the regular Sunday morning service at
Wesley United Methodist Church in Bethlehem.
"When trying to contemplate what to do," says Barger, "we decided that
90 percent of the people we wanted to share our day with us were in the
Barger and Rose are active church members and both sing in the choir.
"Since we were going to get married during the Sunday worship service,
it was advantageous because we could select the date by looking at the
lectionary. It was quite appropriate that the scripture reading was John
15," Barger says.
The 12th verse of that reading says, "This is my commandment, that you
love one another as I have loved you."