General Information about Wedding
Once the big question has been asked, everything is about the most beautiful day in life. The word marry and wedding is just put in your mouth every day. There you ask yourself the question – where does this word come from and what is its original meaning? In the footsteps of the word wedding, however, we realized that there is actually no explanation for it.
Already in the Bible one speaks of the word “marriage covenant” and describes the eternal connection between man and woman, which is closed by God.
In the Middle Ages people already speak of the word wedding. This word can be translated with the word festive, high time. This meant all high Christian festivals, but mainly the four annual festivals of Easter, Pentecost, All Saints’ Day and Christmas. Over time, the word found a meaning in “marriage”.
The word “marriage” was used by Martin Luther in the 16th century to mean the union of two households.
If the word has changed significantly over time, the focus is on the love of two people for one another.
What does a wedding actually mean?
The wedding is the basis for the marital relationship and marks the beginning of a wide range of economic and social duties and rights between the families that are connected by a wedding. It is not uncommon for goods or money to be exchanged between the two families at the wedding.
In most religions and cultures, a marriage is only fully valid when the newly married spouse completes it, that is, it also unites on a sexual level. In the Catholic Church, for example, a marriage is valid if it has not been completed, but can be divorced from the church by an act of grace.
The purpose of the wedding itself is to confirm the legality of the relationship and to legitimize the offspring born in the marriage. There are cultures in which the birthright is dependent on it.
The wedding from a legal perspective
A marriage is that the fiancé declare personally and at the same time that they want to marry each other. The registrar, in the presence of the groomsmen, asks the bride and groom one by one whether they want to marry each other. If this is affirmed by both sides, he declares the fiancee to be lawfully married.
1) Denominations are not legally valid for the authority.
2) Children up to the age of 14 automatically receive citizenship and the agreed family name of the parents.
Marriage among Christians was concluded through the sacrament of marriage, consisting of a marriage contract or marriage promise and the completion of the marriage. Since the completion of the marriage was necessary for it to be legally valid, it was often concluded under supervision or documented by “evidence”. In principle, however, the execution was considered to be completed as soon as the bride and groom withdrew together. A divorce was impossible at the time, and a marriage could only be ended if it could be shown that the requirements for the wedding had not been met – that is, if the marriage was not valid from the start. Otherwise, a separation was possible, but no wedding with another partner.
Until the Middle Ages, the formal aspects of a wedding were not necessary for a marriage to be legally valid. This means that even engagements that were made within a family framework were legally valid from the point of view of the Catholic Church. As a result of the Reformation, the Protestant, and with the Council of Trento, the Catholic Church, declared the public marriage by the pastor to be mandatory for a valid marriage. As a result, the Church became the sole authority on marriage, legal and moral issues. This phase ended with the introduction of civil marriage.
For a long time it was common for brides and grooms to be considered virgins or youths until the wedding. As long as the pastor was not convinced otherwise, the term virgin was used in marriage records in church records for the bride – otherwise the term “deflorata” or, for pregnant women, “impraegnata” applied. In this case, the wedding took place by order, the name of the bride’s father is often not found in the marriage entry.
From the 13th century there was evidence of the supplement and the marriage ceremony by proxy, the wedding taking place in the absence of one of the fiancee, usually the groom, who was represented by a proxy. This form of marriage was particularly widespread among nobles. There is also evidence of such marriages from World War II when the groom was at the front and therefore could not be present. Sometimes even a casualty was married because the death notice did not always arrive on time.
According to family law, the marriage ceremony is the legal transaction by which a marriage is founded. The marriage is a contract, the declarations of intent must be made in the presence of a registrar.
The civil wedding is legally binding. This is purely formal, there is no big wedding ceremony. However, as more and more couples do without a church wedding, most congregations offer the appropriate space for the whole wedding party. Customs, such as throwing rice, then take place in front of the registry office. Usually the civil marriage can only take place in public buildings. Registration is usually made at a registry office in the municipality where the main place of residence is registered. Among other things, this requires:
– a valid identity card
– an extract from the birth register
– a residence certificate from your main residence
– if applicable: copies of family books.
Mostly, the civil wedding can also be held in other suitable institutions in the same country. In many registry offices it is also possible to hold the wedding on Saturday.
Because of the separation of church and state, the church wedding has only church law meaning for us. In countries with state churches such as Greece or Denmark, the church wedding is also relevant under civil law.
In most churches the church wedding is only open to couples of different sexes. In countries where the civil wedding is necessary, this must be done before the church wedding. According to the Catholic understanding, the marriage is only valid with the public wedding and thus the donation of the marriage sacrament before canon law.
In the Protestant church, the church wedding is understood as a service on the occasion of the marriage that has already taken place. The wedding ceremony takes place almost exclusively in the church. There are only a few exceptions, usually an outdoor location is chosen. If you are not married in your own congregation, you need the consent of the responsible pastor.
The church wedding basically presupposes that the fiancee belong to the same church and denomination. If the denominations differ, the responsible parish or the local church leadership can decide on the spot whether marriage is allowed. In the Catholic Church, the consent of a bishop is also required for marriage to Orthodox partners.
If someone with a Catholic denomination marries a non-Catholic partner in the rite of another denomination, a “dispensation from the formal obligation” must be obtained from the bishop. The same applies if a Catholic wants to marry a non-Christian in a civil registry office.
If one of the fiancee has either a Catholic or Protestant denomination and both want an “ecumenical wedding”, you have to register for it at both parish offices. Depending on in which of the two churches the wedding takes place, a pastor of the other denomination is called in. In other words, an ecumenical wedding in the Protestant church is a wedding with the participation of a Catholic pastor and vice versa.
Church blessing and marriage of gay couples
In some churches, instead of the church wedding for same-sex couples, a blessing service is allowed. These services include liturgical handouts and are usually performed by the local pastor when he is ready.
In Switzerland, for example, homosexual couples who go to the registry office are blessed by around 13 Protestant regional churches and some cantonal churches of the Swiss Protestant Confederation as part of a service. This is also possible in the Old Catholic Church, for example in Belgium and the Netherlands
Church weddings of same-sex couples were allowed in the Lutheran Scandinavian churches of Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Free Wedding Ceremony
A Free Wedding Ceremony is a private ceremony that is held independently of church and civil wedding. It has no legal relevance, but it gives couples of different denominations or religions, same-sex couples, and also everyone else the opportunity to organize a wedding celebration as desired. They are usually carried out by:
– free theologian
– secular-humanistic celebration speakers
– wedding speakers
– but you can also do it completely independently.
It is common to re-celebrate certain marriage periods. The best known are:
– the Silver Wedding (25 years)
– the Golden Wedding (50 years)
– the Diamond Wedding (60 years)
Here you will find other useful tips for planning your wedding.