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Gerald Fierst

Gerald Fierst is a civil celebrant who writes and performs weddings and life ritual ceremonies . He also performs as a storyteller and teaches writing and the creative process throughout the US, Europe, Asia and Australia. Fierst’s audio tapes have received Parent Choice Awards, and he is the rec...

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02/23/2011 10:54am
Did You Know? Ten Facts About Weddings

Did You Know? Ten Facts About Weddings

1. The diamond wedding band was popularized in 1947 when Francis Geretty, created the advertising slogan “Diamonds are Forever” for DeBeers Mining.

2. The white wedding dress became fashionable in 1840 when Queen Victoria married Albert of Saxe-Coburg. Before that time, royal brides wore red and brocade, but Victoria, following the fashion of the day, dressed in plain English cloth trimmed with orange blossoms with a headpiece of lace, reflecting delicate femininity.

3. In ancient times, the family would break a loaf of bread or a round cake of wheat (the staff of life) over the bride’s head to ensure fertility. Thus drives the custom of sharing a wedding cake.

4. In 1929, Town and Country Magazine inspired the custom of the wedding album by commissioning the photographer David Berns to create a spread of candid celebrity wedding shots..

5. Practicality, not etiquette, dictates the format of the classic wedding invitation. A century ago, society weddings would invite many more guests to the ceremony than to the reception. The select few would receive a second card to invite them to the more intimate second gathering. A tissue paper was placed between the cards so that the ink wouldn’t smudge.

6. Queen Victoria rode from Buckingham Palace to St James Chapel in a coach followed by her ladies in waiting. Thus was born the custom of the bride arriving with her bridesmaids to be greeted by the groom and his groomsmen.

7. The custom of putting a ring on the bride’s finger dates back to ancient Egypt.

8. The "Wedding March" is excerpted from Felix Mendelshohn’s suite of incidental music (Op. 61) to Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. The music became popular at weddings when Queen Victoria’s daughter, Victoria the Princess Royal, used the music for her wedding to Prince Frederick William of Prussia on January 25, 1858.

9. The custom of the honeymmon is as old as the The Old Testament (Deuteronomy 24:5) which commands, “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.”

10. Civil Celebrants perform the majority of weddings in Australia and New Zealand. In 1973, Lionel Murphy, Attorney General of Australia, created the concept of a secular officiant who could incorporate traditions from all over the world to create a unique ceremony which truly reflects a couple’s desires and stories. There are now over 500 civil celebrants in North America.

Gerald Fierst is a civil celebrant who writes and officiates at weddings and life rituals. His book The Heart of the Wedding will be released in early 2011. Read more about the book at www.theheartofthewedding.com and more about Fierst at www.geraldfierst.com.

The Heart of the Wedding illuminates the ritual of marriage through cross cultural history, folktale, true life stories, and ritual, all infused with practical advice and wisdom. In a world where couples – and the ceremonies they choose- come in many varieties, this book celebrates the new America, respecting tradition while finding a contemporary voice to say “I do.”


wedding, marriage, ceremony, royal wedding
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