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Amandeep: The sound of bells in an English churchyard. The bells signal a very special event for one couple because today is their wedding day. Stevie and Bobby are engaged and are allowing Word on the Street to follow them on their special day when they become man and wife. The day starts very early in the morning for the bride, Stevie, and bridesmaids help her with the preparations. I spoke to Stevie as she was getting ready.
How are you feeling?
Stevie: Feeling … a little bit nervous but very excited.
Amandeep: And what have you got left to do?
Stevie: Just having my hair done now, then put on my dress after.
Across town at Bobby’s house, there is lots of food to prepare and Bobby’s also getting ready.
Bobby: Nice to meet you.
Amandeep: So it’s your big day today?
Bobby: It is.
Amandeep: Fantastic. Is this the main suit?
Bobby: It is. This is it.
Amandeep: Brilliant. Just check it fits all OK, it’s ironed well …
Amandeep: It looks good.
Bobby and Stevie are having a traditional Christian wedding in a church. But today in Britain there are many different marriage ceremonies, depending on the religion or beliefs of the couple.
A civil ceremony is a non-religious legal marriage that takes place somewhere other than a place of worship. Same-sex couples can also get married in Britain.
To understand more about today’s ceremony, I met the vicar who’s going to be leading it.
Amandeep: What are the origins of this marriage ceremony?
Rev. Chris Shipley: This marriage ceremony goes back first to the Reformation in the 16th century and then further back in time and it is a standard Christian wedding with Christian vows made in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amandeep: And what’s your advice for a long and successful marriage?
Chris: A good deal of tolerance, a willingness to ask for help and a sense of humour.
Amandeep: The groom arrives first, and waits for his bride. The atmosphere at a wedding is a mixture of pride, joy and celebration. There may be a few tears, too – of happiness.
The bride arrives in a horse-drawn carriage, accompanied by her father. And now the ceremony can begin.
Chris: Bobby and Stevie have declared their marriage by the joining of hands and by the giving and receiving of rings. I therefore proclaim that they are husband and wife.
Amandeep: With those important words and the signing of the official register, Bobby and Stevie are now legally husband and wife. After some photographs to record the big day, everybody will go to a local hall for dinner and a big party called the reception. So a big congratulations to the newly married couple from Word on the Street!
Have you ever been to a marriage ceremony? How do people celebrate weddings in your country?