Traditional wedding blessings are used during two separate parts of a wedding: within the ceremony and at the reception. Typically the blessings are religious in nature or appeal to a higher power.
What Is a Traditional Blessing?
A blessing, according to YourDictionary.com, is a "gift of divine favor; invocation or benediction." It can also be a prayer said before a meal. Sometimes, blessings are simply well-wishes of other who approve of something, such as a marriage.
Wedding traditions are typically passed down through families or through faith practices. Therefore, a traditional blessing at a wedding is usually one that has been used time and time again.
For most people, a traditional blessing refers to a religious one given during the ceremony or before the dinner at the reception.
During the Ceremony
During the wedding ceremony, blessings are given throughout the service. The call for a higher power into the marriage, and for the power to approve it, is often done at the beginning and end of a service. In the beginning of the service, the blessing may be on everyone there, while at the end, it is usually a way to seal the marriage with approval of that power. In faiths where wedding rings are exchanged, the rings are often blessed as a sacred symbol of the wedding.
The blessing is usually performed by a religious leader, though some faiths may allow laypersons to provide blessings. The traditional blessing used differs from faith to faith. An Indian wedding ceremony, Jewish wedding ceremony and Lutheran wedding ceremony will all have different blessings invoked into the ceremony. To find out exactly what the blessings are in your denomination, speak with your religious leader about the blessing wordings. Some faiths may allow leaders to write their own blessings - however, these will not be traditional. Make sure you impart the importance of the traditional blessing to your officiate if you prefer it.
At the Reception
At the wedding reception, a blessing over the meal is usually given before everyone eats. The blessing may be given by the wedding officiate or by a friend or family member of the same faith. The blessing is usually in the form of a dinner prayer at a wedding reception, so finding a traditional one should be fairly easy. Prayer books and examples of wedding prayers online offer plenty of options to choose amongst. Speak with your officiate about your desire for a traditional blessing and he can help you find an appropriate one for the person delivering the prayer, if it is not him.
More Wedding Blessings
Couples who want to celebrate their heritage in a wedding service may want to include traditional blessings from their culture(s). For example, a traditional Italian wedding blessing will differ from an American religious traditional wedding blessing. By incorporating your culture into your wedding, you truly personalize even a traditional blessing.
Not all blessings are religious. Guests often write wedding blessings wishes into cards they give the couple. If you want to create a unique memento from your reception, consider having special ways for guests to convey their blessings to you and your spouse. For example, set up a wedding blessings wishing well or encourage the videographer to record the blessings of guests as part of your video.
Tradition in Weddings
Tradition plays a significant part in many couples' weddings, from the dress to the music. Incorporate some blessings that are traditional in your faith or family to create a meaningful ceremony service or reception dinner prayer.