Just this past December and early new year, four of our couple-friends have just taken their rite of passage to married life. And it is due to this reason that I was inspired to make this post.
Like me, maybe a lot of you have witnessed weddings throughout your life. Wedding of family members, friends and relatives have got your eyes teary and made your heart flutter with joy.
But as we witness every tradition taking place in our loved ones’ significant event, do we ever wonder what those paraphernalia and rituals are for? What are they symbolizing? And what are their meanings?
The Wedding Rings
Perhaps this is one of the most popular wedding symbols in the whole marriage ceremony. Wedding rings symbolizes love and fidelity for the marrying couple. The ring’s roundness is said to represent the eternal love they have for each other.
The wedding band is being worn at the left ring finger as it was believed that it contained a special vein that was connected directly to the heart, and therefore this became the official finger for the wedding band.
The Wedding Veil
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
The veil signifies union and oneness. The two individuals before the altar will be made as one, sharing one home, one name and one family. There will be no distance, nor barrier that will separate their hearts and minds. They will together build a future for themselves (and their children to come) through love and perseverance.
The woman’s veil is pinned above her head. This means she must submit herself to the leadership of her husband as was written in Ephesians 6. On the other side, the veil is pinned on the man’s shoulders symbolizing that he must carry the family’s welfare through his leadership. In the Catholic faith, Christ is recognized as the head of the church and the church is his bride.
The Wedding Cord
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:12
This cord signifies strength. The man and woman are called to be pillars of strength and righteousness for their children. It is from them that the children will draw strength. They are to be their role model of what is right and wrong.
The Wedding Candles
The candles symbolize the Light of Christ, the same light they received at Baptism and now receive again to lead them in their new life as a couple. The candles represent the light that they will need to guide them throughout the rest of their married life. The candles also express the silent promise that the couple will continue to be light and warmth to each other for life.
The groom gives the bride the coins to symbolize his pledge of dedication to her welfare.
These coins also signify prosperity and wealth. The couple must aspire to improve their lives and those they love. It symbolizes fulfillment of their dreams and aspirations.
Throwing of confetti is not a part of the matrimonial mass but it is always observed as the newly weds emerge from the church. Confetti symbolizes the future fertility and prosperity of the couple. During the early period they used rice, wheats or birdseeds on this tradition.
Truly, our traditional wedding mass is rich with meaningful symbolisms and rituals, that if taken by heart by the couples, it will guide them as they tread the long and winding road called marriage.
Catholic Nuptial Missallette