After photographing weddings for over 18 years, I’ve seen and captured a lot of different wedding traditions. It’s always interesting to see what traditions couples turn to and make their own. Christian wedding traditions are so widely used in other religions too. Some of these do pop up in different religions as well and even make appearances in non-Christian weddings. Today I wanted to share 12 essential Christian Wedding Traditions that have stood the test of time.
Wedding ceremony: Christian weddings typically occur in a church or other religious setting, with a minister or priest officiating.
Processional: The bride is traditionally escorted down the aisle by her father or another family member, and the groom and his groomsmen enter from the side of the altar.
Exchange of vows: The couple publicly declares their commitment to one another, usually with traditional or personalized vows.
Exchange of rings: The bride and groom exchange rings to symbolize their love and commitment.
Unity candle or sand ceremony: In some Christian weddings, the couple will light a unity candle or pour two different colors of sand into a single container, symbolizing the merging of their lives.
Communion: Some Christian weddings incorporate the sacrament of communion, where the bride and groom take bread and wine to symbolize the body and blood of Christ.
Scripture reading: A passage from the Bible is often read during the ceremony, usually relating to marriage or love.
Blessing of the marriage: The minister or priest will bless the couple and ask for God’s guidance and protection.
Recessional: The newlywed couple exits the church together, followed by the wedding party and guests.
Reception: After the ceremony, guests attend a reception, including dinner, dancing, and other festivities.
Wedding cake: Cutting the wedding cake together is a common tradition, symbolizing the couple’s shared life.
First dance: The bride and groom share a special dance as their first dance as a married couple.
Many beautiful Christian churches in NYC are popular wedding venues. Here are a few examples:
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Roman Catholic Church located in Midtown Manhattan, with a stunning interior and a long history of hosting weddings.
- The Riverside Church – an Interdenominational Christian church in Morningside Heights, is known for its Gothic architecture and beautiful views of the Hudson River.
- Marble Collegiate Church – Reformed Church in America located in Midtown Manhattan, with a beautiful sanctuary and stained glass windows.
- Trinity Church Wall Street – Episcopal Church located in the Financial District, with a stunning chapel and a rich history dating back to the 1600s.
- The Cathedral of St. John the Divine – Episcopal Cathedral in Morningside Heights has a breathtaking interior and beautiful gardens.
- St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue – Episcopal Church located on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, with a stunning interior and world-renowned choir.
- The Church of St. Ignatius Loyola – Roman Catholic Church located on the Upper East Side, with a beautiful sanctuary and stunning artwork.
- The Chapel at St. Bart’s – Episcopal Church is in Midtown Manhattan, with a beautiful chapel and stunning stained glass windows.
- The Church of the Transfiguration – Episcopal Church located in the East Village, with a beautiful interior and a rich history dating back to the 1840s.
- Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church – Presbyterian Church is located in Midtown Manhattan, with a stunning sanctuary and a long history of hosting weddings.
Contact me for more information if you’d like to learn more about the different traditions.