Religious Traditions: Protestant -- Jehovah's Witness

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Religious Traditions: Protestant -- Jehovah's Witness

Protestant -- Jehovah's Witness

While acknowledging the joyfulness of weddings, Jehovah's Witnesses stress the seriousness of marriage, and take special steps to prepare couples for this sacred rite of passage. Pre-marital counseling is common, and a portion of the wedding ceremony itself is dedicated to outlining the responsibilities the bride and groom will have to each other. One of the male elders, a minister of the church, performs the ceremony, usually at Kingdom Hall. Traditionally, a modest and reasonable wedding is encouraged, while lavish weddings are frowned upon as status symbols. Other traditions are similar to those found in other Protestant faiths, such as bridesmaids, groomsmen, the exchange of vows and a ring ceremony. The reception is held either at a private home or hall, and features traditional wedding cake, music and dancing, according to the couple's wishes.

Protestant -- Mennonite

Mennonite weddings are considered a time of joy, but also solemnity, and the community plays a big part, giving tremendous support to the newlyweds. Depending upon the practices, which vary among Mennonites, the bride might make her own wedding gown, and wear a traditional white netting, or covering, in lieu of a veil. The modern Mennonite bride today often purchases her white wedding gown from a store, and wears the veil or headpiece of her choice. A pastor presides over the ceremony, which includes the Protestant traditions of giving the bride away by her father, a sermon, and the exchange of vows. In the past, and in some areas today, jewelry of any kind has been frowned upon, however, in most ceremonies today, rings are exchanged. The wedding reception has remained modest, whether it consists of simple refreshments or a full dinner, including staples such as ham and mashed potatoes, rather than extravagant items. Typically, there is no dancing or alcohol of any kind at a Mennonite reception.

Protestant -- Pentecostal

Pentecostal wedding traditions are similar to those found in other Protestant faiths, including the white bridal gown and veil; the bridal bouquet; the exchange of vows; a brief sermon by the officiating Pastor; and the partaking of the sacrament, or communion. The reception is held at the church hall, a private home or hotel, and commonly includes punch and wedding cake, among other refreshments. There is usually no dancing or alcohol -- not even champagne toasts -- at a true Pentecostal wedding reception. Guests throw rice or birdseed at the departing newlyweds for good luck.


Quaker weddings are simple and unadorned and take place within regularly scheduled Quaker meetings. A couple first receives permission from an ecclesiastic council. The day of the meeting, a designated person announces the purpose of the gathering. No priest is present. After a moment of silence, the couple joins hands and makes promises of faithfulness and love to one another in the presence of God. On a small table that has been set out, perhaps with some flowers, the couple signs the marriage certificate. Two witnesses, usually parents, also sign the document and read it aloud. After a period of silence, anyone "moved by the spirit" may stand and speak or pray aloud. More recently, couples have begun to exchange rings. The end of the meeting is marked when two elders shake hands. Quakers believe it is the community's duty to support the couple, and all present, even children, sign the certificate at an alcohol-free reception that follows.

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