A bride is a woman who is about to get married or has recently been married. The word comes from the Old English word bryd, which means “to be hitched” or “to marry.” It is related to Dutch bruid, German Braut, and Swedish bröda. In modern European culture, the bride typically wears a wedding dress and veil. She may also carry a bouquet of flowers or a garter in some cultures.

During the ceremony, the groom and bride exchange rings. This is a symbol of their commitment to each other for life, through good times and bad. The exchange is usually very emotional, and the couple may write their own vows or choose to use traditional phrasing. After the rings are exchanged, the rabbi or minister says some final words and gives a blessing to the newlyweds.

Some cultures have a tradition of giving the bride a dowry, a payment from the groom to his future wife’s family. This can be money, goods, or other valuables. It is meant to ensure that the couple will be well-taken care of after they are married and help them to start their new lives together. In many Western weddings, the bride wears a white wedding dress, which was a tradition started by Queen Victoria. She can be accompanied by her parents or stand alone under a canopy structure called a chuppah. Jewish tradition calls for the bride to circle the groom seven times as a sign of protection and respect. Some couples do this in a more casual manner, such as three or four circles each.

After the ring exchange, designated guests or family members will read some biblical passages during the Liturgy of the Word. Depending on the religion, this can include one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, along with a responsorial psalm. Miller suggests that if you can’t fit all your loved ones into the bridal party, consider having them read readings or bring gifts to be presented at the altar as part of the offering.

Once the ceremony is complete, everyone in the wedding party will process back up the aisle in reverse order of how they entered. This includes the bride’s and groom’s parents, maid or matron of honor, and best man. The flower girls and ring bearers may lead them, followed by the newlyweds, then the rest of the bridal party. The bride and groom then kiss, and the newlyweds are congratulated by their family and friends. Once the hugs and cheers have died down, it’s time for the recessional song, which is often a faster version of the processional song. From there, the bride and groom can enjoy their first dance as a married couple. They can now begin their journey through the rest of their lives together, starting with a happy honeymoon, raising children, working side by side, enjoying retirement and spending their golden years together. Whether you have a big wedding or a small one, your marriage is an amazing adventure that will last forever.

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