marriage

Considering DIY Invitations? Follow These Tips for Success
Taking on a task like DIY invitations requires a bit of forethought. Look over these suggestions and find the best possible way to do your invites yourself!

Taking on a task like DIY invitations requires a bit of forethought. Look over these suggestions and find the best possible way to do your invites yourself!

Weddings can cost an arm and a leg. For this reason, plenty of couples search for helpful ways to cut corners and save money throughout the process. Over the last decade or so, the idea of the “DIY wedding” has become somewhat popular. While you might not be able to do everything yourself, there are certain key elements that you can easily take on. Your wedding invitations, for example, might be an ideal DIY project, as creating them yourself can both help save some money and give you total control over what your invitations will look like.

Taking on a task like DIY invitations requires a bit of forethought. Look over these suggestions and find the best possible way to do your invites yourself!

Know All the Details

Invitations are important for a number of reasons. For the happy couple, they help to keep tabs on how many people have been invited to the event and how many people plan on attending. For the guests, however, they are responsible for providing a great deal of vital information related to the event. This includes the date, location, directions, and anything else the couple would like to share. Before you can make your invitations, you need to be sure you have all of these details set in stone and ready to share.

Figuring out the specifics takes a little time, but you should have them solidified somewhat early in the planning process. Beyond the information presented, you also want to have a few aesthetic ideas locked and loaded. Most couples opt to have their invitations reflect the “design theme” of their wedding. For example, if you plan on having the color blue featured in the decor at your venue, try to work this particular shade of blue into the invites to help create a more cohesive visual theme.

Space and Design of the Invitations

While being able to design your own invitations can be a huge help when it comes to your finances, there is also a good amount of work involved. After you’ve decided on a theme and have all your information ready to go, you need to think about how you would like to word the invitation. This can be tricky, especially because you only have so much space to work with. In order to avoid overcrowding the card with text, print out a sample on your home computer and see how the text reads.

You are also going to need to take RSVPs into consideration. Many couples include self-addressed envelopes for guests to mail back with their RSVP information. If this isn’t in your budget, don’t feel like you absolutely must include this envelope. To save money and time, you may want to offer guests the chance to RSVP by phone, through email, or online. The RSVP information exists so you have an easier time knowing how many guests to anticipate at your event, so find a method that makes the most sense for you and your partner.

Get an Early Start

Finally, you want to get as early a start as possible on creating your invitations. The moment you have information like the date and venue ready to go, you can begin making a template of what you’d like the invites to look like. The sooner you begin, the sooner you can get the completed product in the mail and hear back from guests about how many heads to expect. Starting early also gives you plenty of room for trial and error, which can be a huge help when you have little or no experience with design.

Creating your own invitations for your wedding can be a great way to limit your spending and save a small chunk of change. Explore your options, and see what you can accomplish with your own creative mind.

What To Expect From Changing Your Name

If you or your partner plan on changing your name after walking down the aisle, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the process early on.

Marriage tends to change the lives of the two people involved. While some changes can be exciting, like moving in together for the first time, there are other adjustments that can take a bit of time to get used to. This is especially true when it comes to changing your name. Though the traditions surrounding post-marital name changes have shifted over the years, there is still a great deal to remember when the time comes to take on the surname of your spouse.

If you or your partner plan on changing your name after walking down the aisle, now is a great time to familiarize yourself with the process. Here is what you can expect once you’ve decided to make the change.

Starting Out with the Name Change

Changing your name is something of a process. Of course, this process cannot begin without the right paperwork. The most important piece of paper you will receive in relation to changing your name is your marriage license. Most couples get their license before the wedding and have it signed by the officiant and witnesses after the ceremony has ended. While this document does not change your name outright, it is a vital piece of the puzzle and will prove invaluable with the next steps involved in the process.

Once you have your license, you need to start the ball rolling. First, you want to reach out to the government offices in your province. In many cases, you can either decide to fill out the appropriate paperwork in the office while you are there, or download and print the correct forms in the comfort of your own home. If you decide to mail in the application, remember you will need to submit original copies of your marriage certificate and proof of identity. Filling the application out in-office can expedite the process a bit.

Next Steps

Once you have submitted the appropriate paperwork, your journey has begun. Unfortunately, it is far from over. Next, begin the processes of changing your name on your driver’s license and your passport, if applicable. You won’t be able to complete these steps until you have submitted for your official surname change, but it can be helpful to start planning out your next moves as soon as possible. After it has been changed officially, you want to head back to your province’s government offices to start changing it on your license.

In order to change your name, you need to bring along your marriage license, proof of your current residence, your current driver’s license, and a certified copy of your birth certificate. A basic copy of your birth certificate is not valid, so be sure to get an embossed copy if need be in order to have all the necessary paperwork handy. When this step is completed, you can submit your paperwork for your passport name change. Of all the processes, passports tend to take a bit longer, usually a few weeks.

Everything Else

Changing your name can become a messy process if you don’t change it everywhere. Be prepared to fill out paperwork for everyone from the companies that provide your home utilities to the HR representative at work. Changing your name on official documents, credit cards, and bank accounts can become somewhat complex. As long as you have your newly issued social security card as proof, you shouldn’t run into many complications along the way.

Changing your name can be a wonderful way to make your marriage feel a bit more real in a public sense. In order to get through this process without many headaches, be sure to take your time and look over every document you’ll require to make your new name official.

A Guide To Hosting a Bridal Shower
Preparing to throw a bridal shower? Take a look at some of these common questions people have when first putting together a bridal shower.

Preparing to throw a bridal shower? Take a look at some of these common questions people have when first putting together a bridal shower.

When a close friend or relative decides to task you with the responsibility of putting together a bridal shower, it can be a big honor. You want to make sure you throw an event that will satisfy the happy couple without straying too far from their sensibilities. Of course, there are also a lot of tasks associated with this kind of event. If you’ve never had to throw a party like this before, you might not be sure how to get things going. Thankfully, a bridal shower is far from an impossible task to accomplish.

Take a look at some of these common questions people have when first putting together a bridal shower. Learning these answers early can help you throw a fantastic event to celebrate the happy couple.

Inviting the Right People

One of the most difficult things you’ll have to figure out is who to invite to the shower. The couple most likely will be spending a ridiculous amount of time ironing out the details of the wedding guest list, which means you can’t just invite anyone to this party. The biggest rule to remember for invitations is that you should not be inviting anyone to the shower who will not be receiving an invitation to the wedding itself. The best way to avoid this mistake is by coordinating with the couple and figuring out exactly who they would like invited.

Depending on how close you are to the nearlyweds, you might be able to simply use your best judgment with the invitations. When you already know their friends and family members, you most likely will have a good idea of who should be receiving an invitation. When you aren’t sure, reach out and try to get some more information. Don’t guess when you aren’t positive, as you might wind up making an awkward error. It also is a good idea to try and keep the event small, as you are probably paying for it.

All in the Timing

You also may need a bit of information on when you should be planning this event. More often than not, the couple will ask you to throw the shower by a certain time. In specific cases, you might be told by the bride or groom exactly when he or she wishes the party held. When you aren’t given any set details to follow, you’ll need to select the date yourself. Generally, you want to have the shower no earlier than five months before the date of the wedding.

On the reverse side, you want the shower to be at least three weeks before the wedding. This large gap of time makes it easy to pick a date and have enough room to plan out all the details. Unless the event is very small, you are most likely going to need a little bit of help organizing everything. Try to not involve the couple too much. Instead, reach out to other close friends and see who might be able to offer some assistance. Involving a few other people can also keep the costs down, which is a huge help.

No Surprises

Finally, if you are a maid of honor or member of the wedding party, you need to respect the wishes of the nearlyweds. When you are told that they don’t want a shower, you should not take it upon yourself to throw one. It might seem like a fun idea, but you do not want to go against a specific request. Do what is asked of you, and you’ll be the biggest asset that the couple requires.

Putting together a wedding shower takes a bit of time. As long as you don’t rush into the responsibility, you should have no trouble throwing a lovely event.

 

Is Your Engagement Ring Worth More Debt?
Engagements rings are a long-held matrimonial tradition. However, it’s worth considering a few key factors before you drop any cash on an engagement ring.

Engagements rings are a long-held matrimonial tradition. However, it’s worth considering a few key factors before you drop any cash on an engagement ring.

How much do Canadian couples spend on engagement rings? According to a March 2016 Global News article, the average cost for each one is around $4,700. After including the typical event and honeymoon costs, the total price tag for a wedding can reach almost $40,000. Cutting expenses can be challenging for couples who want to tie the knot. That’s why it’s worth considering a few key factors before you drop any cash on an engagement ring.

Behind the Engagement Ring “Rules”

You may have heard of the supposed “rules” for buying engagement rings. Depending on who you ask, the ring should cost either two or three times one’s monthly salary. Statistics Canada’s 2017 figures revealed that the average weekly salary is around $986. That means the typical Canadian earns almost $4,000 per month before deductions. With these figures, following the oft-repeated rule on rings results in a price tag between $8,000 and $12,000.

How did these modern engagement ring purchasing practices develop? Money Under 30’s David Weliver divulges that they originated with a shrewd marketing campaign launched by the London-based diamond company De Beers. He also contends that they aren’t practical for younger couples because of typical debt burdens and lower salaries. To lower costs, he suggests a few alternatives:

  • Pay for the ring with cash.
  • Select a family heirloom piece.
  • Choose gemstones that are less expensive than diamonds.

Pros and Cons of Financing Your Ring

If there’s no room in your budget to purchase an engagement ring in full, you may be tempted to finance it. Your credit history will determine the types of offers you receive along with spending limits and interest rates. Individuals with favorable credit can choose from many options:

  • Personal loans
  • Vendor’s credit cards or revolving credit lines
  • Major credit cards issued by financial institutions

At the same time, you’ll need to think about how this new debt will impact your upcoming marriage. NerdWallet’s Erin El Issa points out that each spouse is liable for individually incurred debts. This is true regardless of whether they originated before or after the wedding. Yet those debts still affect the couple’s overall financial health. A significant debt load can make it difficult to purchase a home together, contribute to a savings account, or plan for retirement.

In another Money Under 30 article, David Weliver offers suggestions for people desiring to purchase engagement rings on credit. While he still warns readers not to buy rings that they cannot afford, he discusses some favorable financing options. Some jewelry retailers may offer 0 percent financing or no interest and payments for a predetermined time period. Weliver strongly suggests reviewing each offer’s terms. With some, you’ll pay a much higher interest rate after the promotional period expires.

Depending on your credit score, you may qualify for cards that come with 0 percent interest on new purchases for up to one year. Be sure you know what your new APR will be. Also, you should assess whether you can pay off the ring before the promotion ends. Purchase your ring from a reliable online jeweler. Buying online could save you a significant amount of money, letting you spend as little as 50 percent of the brick-and-mortar retailer price. Make sure you request a shipment method with tracking and a signature requirement as well as insurance to cover the ring itself.

Choose Your Credit Options Carefully

In the past, society judged a man’s ability to provide for his future wife by the type of engagement ring he gave her. It’s true that some still take notice at an elaborate ring with a decent-sized diamond. Ultimately, you must consider the effects of purchasing one either with cash or credit. After all, part of your goal should be making smart decisions for your joint financial future.

 

Responsibilities of a Wedding Guest
A great wedding guest can make or break your wedding experience.

To be a great wedding guest, make sure that you are polite and courteous.

April showers bring May flowers, but for brides, April showers bring June flowers. Summer is a popular time for weddings, so you might start getting invitations from your friends who are getting married. To survive wedding season, be the best wedding guest you can. Here are a few tips to help you:

  • RSVP by the date requested. Do not put the invitation aside for a few days, because you’ll forget. Don’t make the couple track you down for an answer.
  • Look at the invitation to see who was invited. Do not invite anyone yourself. If your children aren’t mentioned on the envelope, they are not invited to the wedding. It is customary to invite partners, but if you aren’t married or in a long-term relationship, you may have to go single.
  • Show up if you RSVP “yes.” Barring an emergency, don’t change plans at the last minute. The caterer will charge the couple for your plate, whether you show up or not.
  • Do not talk about the wedding with friends who may not have been invited. This means on social media too. You don’t want to come off as boasting or make others feel bad because they were not invited.
  • Be on time for the ceremony. Better yet, be there 10 to 15 minutes early to get the lay of the land. When you arrive late, you disrupt the flow of the ceremony. If you do arrive late, wait for a break in the action to sneak in.
  • Dress appropriately. If the invitation says “semi-formal,” don’t wear jeans. For a beach wedding, dress more casually. Don’t wear white.
  • Put your phone on silent during the ceremony. Let your babysitter know your phone will be off for a half-hour to forty-five minutes and promise to check immediately after.
  • Don’t take pictures during the ceremony. Respect the wedding photographer.
  • Ask the couple if you can share pictures on social media before you do.
  • Send the gift, if you do, to the home of the bride or groom. Don’t make them deal with more stuff at the reception.
  • During the reception, sit where the bride and groom have placed you. Make conversation with those around you. It’s only for a couple of hours. Your phone will wait.

What About the Rights of a Wedding Guest?

Wedding guests also have rights that come with their invitation:

  • You can expect to receive an invitation if you received a save-the-date card.
  • You have the right to decline the invitation if you cannot attend. No explanation needed, just say, “Thank you, I’d love to be there, but I can’t.”
  • You can ask the couple if you need clarification about your invitation. Maybe you want to make sure you understand the dress code or are confused about the plus one.
  • You have a right to not send a gift at all. You also have up to a year to send a wedding gift.
  • If you do send a gift, you have a right to expect a timely thank-you note. You might want to give the couple a few weeks after the wedding to wrap up all their duties, but if you don’t receive a thank-you note within three months, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask if they received your gift.
  • You should take advantage of the open bar, but don’t overdo it.

Have a Good Time

A wedding is a celebration, and you should have a good time. Thank the host and hostess, typically the bride’s parents, before you leave. Don’t be offended if you don’t get a few minutes with the bride and groom. One of the best things you can do as a wedding guest is to be flexible and gracious, no matter what happens at the ceremony or reception.

Child Brides Find Help From Hindu Priests
One of many child brides posing in a wedding dress.

Child brides face many more health issues than if they wait to get married.

Child brides may not be a huge problem in Canada, but the problem itself is huge. The International Center for Research on Women estimates that one-third of girls are married before the age of 18. The countries with the highest rates of child marriage are in Africa and South Asia. In Niger, 75 percent of girls are married before the age of 18. The ICRW lists the top 20 countries in the world with the highest rates of child brides.

The Problems Associated With Child Brides

  • Young girls who marry before the age of 18 do not get educated as well as girls who wait to marry.
  • These young girls may not have access to healthcare and other services they require to grow and mature.
  • Girls who marry under the age of 18 are more likely to live in poverty.
  • Child brides have a higher risk of HIV and other STDs.
  • Child brides die at a higher rate from pregnancy than women who are older when they marry.
  • Younger brides are more likely to experience domestic violence than the women who marry later in life. In India, the risk of domestic violence for girls under 18 is twice that of women who wait.

Changing Child Marriage

Although many people outside of the regions associate child marriage with Islam, it’s simply a myth that only one religion is affiliated with child brides. Many religions actively participate in the tradition. It is more common in rural areas than urban, and many times girls do not have a say in the matter. One day, they’re playing with friends and helping mom cook dinner. The next day, they’re shipped off to their husband. The bride and groom may not even meet before the wedding.

In Nepal, it’s estimated that about 41 percent of girls are married before turning 18. Some activist groups place the number even higher, at 50 percent. Families even lie about a girl’s age to get around the law. Nepal has banned child marriage for 54 years. Girls are supposed to be at least 20 before getting married. However, it is difficult to enforce the law. Nepal is trying to end the practice by 2030. The country is working with the U.N. and other agencies to implement plans to stop the practice.

Fortunately, Nepali Hindi priests are beginning to advocate against child marriage. When a girl is born, she receives a special scroll that can be used to tell her fortune. Even if a family lies about her age to the priest who is marrying her, the scroll gives her real age. Priests are using their place in the community to educate families about child marriages. Although the number of people convinced to wait is small, these priests continue to work. It may take another generation to turn the tide of child brides in Nepal, but they are doing something today.

What Can You Do?

You may not have the influence to stop child marriages in places such as Nepal, Madagascar or Zambia, but you can certainly support the efforts of those who are working to change the tradition. ICRW is just one activist organization trying to change the tide. UNICEF is another excellent organization that promotes gender equality and education around the world. At Girlsnotbrides.org, you can find even more ways to act and raise your voice in the fight against child marriages.

There isn’t an easy solution to change when it’s embedded in the culture. It’s going to take everyone working together to empower girls and enact new laws designed to support the rights of all children in these countries. Girlsnotbrides.org works with more than 600 groups around the world to help change behaviors and attitudes associated with child marriage. Learn more about what you can do.

Marriage Equality in Scotland
Gay / lesbian wedding icons set

The fight for marriage equality is one that is being fought on a global scale.

Next month, the Anglican Church of Canada votes on marriage equality in the church. As the ULC has reported in the past, this topic is hotly debated within the Anglican Church. The Episcopal Church in the United States changed their canon last year. They were given a “time out” by the international church, but have held to their beliefs that marriage equality is for all of their members. Now, the Scottish Episcopal Church has taken small steps toward changing the canon on marriage within their doors.

The Status of the Canon in Scotland

The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church passed a first reading of the change. Currently, in Canon 31, it states that marriage is understood to be between a man and a woman. The proposal is to remove that statement from the canon. This is just one step along the process, because it should be noted that the proposed change is not the final decision. Now that the General Synod has made this proposal, it goes to the seven dioceses within Scotland for more discussion and opinions.

Next year at the General Synod meeting in June, the proposal will get a second reading. To pass, it must get a two-thirds majority of votes. Bishops, clergy and laity are included in this vote. Individual churches send representatives to the General Synod. The first reading received a vote of 5 for, 2 against from the bishops; 43 for, 19 against from the clergy; and 49 for, 12 against, 3 abstentions from the laity. The proposed change does seem to have a great deal of support from the church leadership.

The General Synod is the church’s legislative body, kind of like you might think of Parliament. The Synod members oversee the work of the church and vote on policy. They also might work on national and international issues. A diocese is made up of a group of churches in a particular region. This lets church members and leaders have input into the final canon of the church.

The proposed change would allow clergy to solemnize weddings between people of the same sex. However, there would be a conscience clause for clergy who are opposed to the change. They would not be forced into blessing a same-sex union.

The International Debate in the Anglican Church

Just recently, Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth, daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, married her girlfriend. Although South Africa recognizes same-sex marriages, the South African Anglican law does not. The church has made it clear in the past that gay clerics must remain celibate. Shortly after Tutu van Furth’s marriage was celebrated, the diocese withdrew her license to practice as a priest in the church. The South African Anglican Church is also looking at new guidelines for church members who are entering same-sex unions.

It’s been suggested that there might be consequences from the Primates and Archbishop of Canterbury, the international governing body of the Anglican Church, if countries move forward with changing church canon concerning same-sex marriage. Some countries with an Anglican church still have laws on the books that make homosexuality a crime punishable by death. Other countries, such as Russia and Lithuania, simply have repressive laws that prohibit a propaganda of homosexuality. The leadership from some of these countries does not approve of the changes in other countries.

Pushing for same-sex marriage equality in the church is becoming an international issue. We’ll continue to watch how things in the church become more inclusive for all the members, not just heterosexual individuals. The Scottish Church is taking positive steps, but there is still a long way to go. It will be interesting to watch the vote at the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada this summer to see what happens.

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World Day Against Child Labour
stop child labor vector poster

Child Brides, Child Trafficking and Child Slavery are at an alarming rate.

Child brides and marriages have been in the news lately. In Canada, the age of consent is 18 or 19 in most jurisdictions, but with parental or court permission, an individual as young as 16 can get married. The situation is much similar in the U.S., although a few states do have laws to allow individuals as young as 13 to get married. In those cases, court and parental consent are required. Internationally, child brides are considered a bigger problem, largely due to the fact that these young girls have no say in their fate. Girls around the world do not have the same protections that girls in North America do. The United Nations hopes to change that.

No to Child Labour; Yes to Education

One of the most basic rights for each individual is education. It’s just as important as health, food, safety and shelter. Some countries do not educate their girls or only provide education to a certain age. The International Labour Organization estimates that about 168 million children around the world work instead of going to school or playing. About 120 million of these children are aged 5–14. Many of these children work full-time in deplorable and hazardous conditions. Some have been forced into the workforce because of human trafficking or slavery.

In 1919, the ILO was born, mostly out of the need to end child labour around the world. The ILO has actually been making progress. The goal was to end child labour by 2016, but there’s still work to be done. The ILO actually recognizes the importance of social dialogue in the fight to end child labour in production and manufacturing.

Awareness in the Present

The 2016 World Day to End Child Labour is on June 12. The focus this year is to end child labour in supply chains. A supply chain is the sequence of activities that leads to distribution or the production of goods. Stereotypically, most people think of children sewing clothes, but child labourers work in many other industries, from fishing to mining.

The ILO recommends effective governance as one of the keystones against child labour. Individually, there’s even more that can be done. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Get educated. The Institute for Humane Education is one place to get started. The ILO has a number of resources as well.
  2. Buy fair trade products. There are a number of labels, Fair Trade Certified, Goodweave and Fairtrade Mark.
  3. Talk to retailers about where they are buying their products. Ask them to make sure they are using responsible suppliers and distributors. You have the right to ask about the origin of the product you’re buying. You may need to dig deep and go to the manufacturer to get information.
  4. If you are a stakeholder in a business, make sure your organization is supporting businesses that don’t use child labour.
  5. Talk about the social injustices with others who can make a difference in their own circles.

Making a Difference

Don’t think that your small business won’t make a difference by buying responsibly. In India, the tent dealers association stopped 80 child marriages in Rajasthan, India by simply asking to see the birth certificates of the brides and grooms before renting a tent for their wedding. By coming together and making a stand, these businesses are changing their country.

Join the campaign to stop child labour. On June 12, the UN and ILO have arranged a number of activities in countries around the world. Ask your government officials to start thinking about next year and what you can do in your community to make a difference for children everywhere. The little girl next door to you may not have to worry about going to work, but in many countries, there are little girls and boys who are.

Advocates for Marriage Equality in the Anglican Church
Advocates for Marriage Equality in the Anglican Church

Advocates for Marriage Equality in the Anglican Church

In 1976, the Episcopal Church (the branch of the Anglican church in the United States) took steps toward marriage equality when it recognized that “homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church.” In 2015, the General Convention made changes to church canon and liturgy for marriage equality. Months later, at the Anglican Communion’s Primates’ Meeting, the primates, who are the head bishops of the church, voted to suspend the right of the Episcopal Church to be represented at international meetings. This summer, the Canadian Anglican Church is expected to vote on same-sex marriage equality for its membership. The debate has been going on for months, and it’s not looking positive, but there are people who are pushing forward.

Same-Sex Marriages and the Anglican Church

The General Synod, which is the body responsible for church canon, has been trying to find agreement over same-sex marriages in the church since 2004 when they deferred the vote over blessing the union or not. This would have given each church the authority to bless unions. One of the bishops had already given permission for some of the priests in his district to bless same-sex unions as early as 2003. Currently, there are many parishes that are authorized to bless all marriages, but the church itself has not approved the change to the marriage canon.

This July, the General Synod is voting on a change to the canon at its triennial meeting. According to the final report presented to the Commission on the Marriage Canon,

“In 2013 the General Synod passed a resolution (C003, which is included as an appendix to this report) directing the drafting of a motion ‘to change Canon XXI on marriage to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite-sex couples, and that this motion should include a conscience clause so that no member of the clergy, bishop, congregation or diocese should be constrained to participate in or authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.’ Such a motion will be considered by the General Synod in 2016.”

After a special meeting early in February, the House of Bishops announced that the resolution would probably not pass because it would not get the support it needed to pass. It takes a two-thirds majority to pass, and according to an article in the Anglican Journal, one-third of the bishops are in favor of the change. Another third of the bishops are opposed. The remaining third are those bishops who are still wrestling with the issue. There is another meeting in April to provide more thought and alternatives to the resolution before the final vote in July.

Social Media Comes to the Rescue

Just a few days following the statement from the Bishops, advocates of the resolution came together and formed a Facebook group, Advocates for Changing the Marriage Canon. It started out with 25 members in March, and it has grown to almost 1400. Both clergy and laypeople are in the group. Administrators must approve the request to join, or you must be invited by another member. The rules are clear that the group is not there to debate the issue. It is strictly for those who are in support of the resolution. Members have reached out to the leaders in the church, expressing their views about why this resolution is so important to the church and to their faith. The group is actively reaching out to the House of Bishops, but it also is serving a purpose of unity among Anglicans who feel marginalized because their marriages are not recognized by church canon. We’ll be watching this issue to see how it turns out when the Bishops vote in July.

Celebrating a Marriage in an Indian Tradition
Beautiful Indian bride hands

Beautiful Indian bride hands

Understanding the traditions from other cultures is important to building relationships with those outside of your own community. When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed four Sikhs to his cabinet this November, he brought their culture to the forefront. Sikhs have been misunderstood for generations, not just here but around the world, including in their own country. Indian wedding traditions show an importance of family. Learn more about the heritage, in case you ever get invited to a wedding.

How Long Does the Ceremony Last?

An Indian wedding ceremony traditionally lasts three days. This does not mean that guests are expected to attend each part of the ceremony. Day one is typically for the bridal party and close relatives. The priest performs a ceremony known as the ganesh pooja. Day two is the mehndi ceremony, where the bride and female friends and relatives have henna patterns placed on their hands and feet. The bride is not expected to do any housework until the henna fades away. In the evening on day two, the wedding guests are invited to a sangeet, which is the introduction of families, a meal, and dancing or other performances.

On day three, the main ceremony takes place. In India, the groom might arrive on a decorated elephant or horse, but in today’s world, the groom would probably choose a luxury vehicle. Floral garlands are exchanged as part of the ceremony. In some parts of India, family members carry the bride and groom while they attempt to place these garlands on each other.

This main ceremony can take three hours. The bride’s parents give her to the groom, and the bride’s father requests that the groom accepts his daughter as an equal partner. The priest is there to lead the ceremony and ask for prayers, but traditionally he only facilitates the wedding. The groom ties a sacred thread around the bride’s neck, which is a symbol of his promise to take care of her. He places vermillion on her forehead, a symbol which welcomes her as his partner.

The bride and groom take seven steps with each other to confirm their eternal friendship. It is symbolic of the friendship they need for a relationship and that they will take part equally in the good and bad times of their marriage. The wedding may take place around a fire, which is representative of the fire god, Agni, one of the witnesses to the wedding. Circling the fire seven times is symbolic of the goals of the marriage, including prosperity, sensual gratification, and moral duties.

What to Wear and Bring

Indian wedding ceremonies are bright and colorful. The family often dresses very colorfully, in traditional saris and lenghas. Don’t be afraid to wear jewel-tones and your fancy jewelry. For women who wish to emulate their hosts, a shawl can mimic the look of a sari while complementing most dresses. Most invitations will specify no gifts at the wedding. Send gifts to the home of the bride or groom. There’s too much happening at the reception and ceremony for the family to be concerned about managing gifts.

The Reception

Following the third-day ceremony is a wild party with lots of food and dancing. Today, most receptions will include both traditional and contemporary music and dances. The bhangra is a folk dance from Punjab, and most people pick up the moves quickly.

Food at the reception varies based on the families’ preferences. Curries and naan, a flatbread, are common, as are samosas, which are a pastry filled with meats or vegetables. There may be a large dessert display including cake, ice cream, and other decorated sweets.

Indian weddings are all about the family and the joining of a couple for life. It’s a grand festival to bring not just two people together, but their families.