American Wedding – A Wonderful Family Affair

The American wedding has become truly a family affair right from the start. Once “the decision” between the bride and the groom is made, they rush off to tell all their friends and families the great news! It’s only natural that they’re excited about the prospects and want to share their great joy with those members that are closest to them. The wedding tradition would suggest a party to announce the engagement to all family and friends. Traditionally speaking, the engagement party is the responsibility of the parents of the bride, which also means that they will be paying for the expenses and planning as well. The engagement party is a fun atmosphere and provides an opportunity for both sides of the families to meet for the very first time in many cases.

When it comes to the planning aspects of the wedding that is usually handled by the bride and her mother with a little bit of input from the groom and his family. It only makes sense that the parents of the bride make most of the major decisions because they are paying for most of the expenses. The American wedding will usually take place in a very special setting, such as a religious center were the view is very beautiful. Most of these places offer not only beauty but also built in facilities right from the start. Chances are, the church will have an organ or piano for the basic music requirements. These institutions are perfect for people who want that special ceremony.

An American Wedding Is Both a Ceremony and a Party

The American wedding will usually start with a ceremony love and commitment. This is a very romantic part of the wedding with all of the friends and families there to witness this happy union. Over the course of the ceremony, the bride and groom will say their vows to each other to show their love and commitment to each other. This setting is usually spectacular and all the people are dressed in beautiful clothes. At the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom become legally bound by this commitment. Yes the American wedding is very romantic, but there is also a legal procedure that now binds that couple together until death or divorce do they part.

Now comes the party! After the ceremony, the bride and groom will meet with their friends and family at the reception. This part of the reception has been planned for months, perhaps even the year or more in advance. The reception is a time to eat, drink and socialize with old friends as well as an opportunity to make new friends. The party will mainly focused on the wedding couple and guests will have the opportunity to offer their good wishes, prayers and wedding gifts. The American wedding is truly a special occasion with lots of joy and happiness for all those involved. The memories created will truly last for all lifetime for both sides of the family.

Beautiful Designer Wedding Dresses for Cutting Edge Brides to Be

The growth of the wedding industry in America has been nothing short of astonishing. In the past two decades alone, costs have doubled, bringing the total price tag for the average ceremony to just over 24,000 dollars. And that doesn’t include the honeymoon! Why are wedding costs on the rise?

There are many reasons. One simple explanation is that couples are waiting much longer to get married. The average couple is about six combined years older than they were just thirty years ago. As a result, they generally have more money in the bank and are more secure in their jobs. In other words, they can afford to spend more on vacations and special events. And what is more special than a wedding?

Another reason why connubial costs are on the rise is the modern bridal gown. A few decades ago, brides were perfectly content to wear their mother’s old gowns or to purchase one second-hand. That is not the case these days. The average wedding dress now costs well over one thousand dollars, according to a recent survey. This is what we like to call the designer effect. What do we mean?

Fashion designers have had a love-hate relationship with bridal gowns for many years. Most of the world’s top designers avoided wedding dresses like the plague for decades. Since almost all bridal gowns were white and most of them were highly formal, there really wasn’t much a talented couturier could do with them. She was circumscribed by convention. But when tradition took a backseat to comfort and style, most of the top designers started making bridal gowns again.

The bride on a limited budget can purchase a dress off the rack for only a few hundred dollars. These gowns are typically knockoffs of original designer bridal gowns. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with purchasing a replica, but they certainly cannot compare with the real thing.

The reason designer dresses are so expensive is that they are made by the best in the business using only the top materials and techniques. When a designer puts her label on a gown, it is like an artist signing her name on an original painting. It means that she is proud of it, that it is the best she can do. That is why most designers take the time to personally inspect each and every bridal gown that leaves their workshop. They want to make certain that every stitch is perfectly in place and that the dress will please the client.

Spending up to ten thousand dollars on a wedding dress is not as uncommon as you might think. A top designer who is given carte blanche to create an original dress with all of the best fabrics, trims, and accessories can easily charge that much. Kate Middleton’s designer royal dress cost 40,000 dollars!

Bridal Gown Trends


Designers have changed the way American women think about wedding dresses. Twenty years ago, few brides would have the chutzpah to walk down the aisle in anything other than a white gown. Today, non-white gowns are the fastest growing segment of the bridal gown industry. Off-white colors like champagne, silk and diamond have gained a loyal following in recent years. Some brides are even going with colors like yellow, red and blue, especially at outdoor ceremonies.


Designers love them because they look and feel fabulous on the right women. The truth is, you really have to have a slender figure to wear them, because they hug every curve and leave little to the imagination. It is no wonder they are such a hit on the runway!

Ball Gown Styles

While it is true that more and more brides-to-be are planning more casual weddings, when they do plan a formal one, they are choosing ball gowns in greater numbers. The ball gown is great because it is not nearly as cumbersome as the average formal gown. They typically have open shoulders and plunging, décolleté necklines, which most brides love, because it allows them to show a little skin in a formal setting. They are, however, almost impossible to remove without help. Of course, that could be a plus on the wedding night!

Tea-Length Dresses

With the economy in the lurch, most brides are looking to save a few bucks, even on formal designer gowns. One simple way to accomplish this is to use a bit less material. The less fabric a designer needs, the smaller the bill. That may be why many modern brides are choosing gowns with tea-length hemlines instead of the more traditional full-length hemline. A tea-length number has a hemline that falls between the bottom of the calf and the ankle. They are incredibly popular at outdoor affairs and are even catching on with more formal brides.

Designer wedding dresses can be found in a wide range of styles and prices on the web. Take a moment to browse around and find your favorite styles and designs.

African American Wedding Hairstyles – Tips and Tricks

African- American women have great styling options for their wedding day, however keep in mind of comfort because you have a long day ahead of you. Go with a style that celebrates who you are!!! I will give you some tips, and some do’s and don’ts to create the best Black Wedding Hairstyle for you.

Popular African-American Wedding Hairstyles

Two Strand Twist
Straight weave
Swing Braids
Flat Twist w/ Two Strand Twist
To see samples of hairstyles go to and click on “Articles

Have a conversation with yourself:

What type of style have you always envisioned for that special day? Ask yourself the following questions:
Do you want your hair up or down?

Do you want it close to your head?

Do you want to glue in hair pieces or get it sewn in?

Do you want braids?

How much money are you willing to spend?

Once you are able to answer these questions you will be fully armed with a look you’d like to achieve.

Avoid Common Mistakes

Your photos are cemented forever, you don’t want to look at them and cringe regretting you’d wish you had chosen something else. Here are some things to avoid when creating your hairstyle.
Be careful when choosing a style because it’s in fashion or because a celebrity rocked it. Don’t choose a style you normally wouldn’t wear. What may look good on a celebrity may not work well for you. Remember these celebrities have a battery of stylists to get them to achieve those looks.

Don’t succumb to peer pressure. Don’t choose a style because your friend thinks it will look good on you. It’s your day and you need to be as comfortable as possible. Also you need to have people around you that are HONEST and aren’t afraid to let you know if something doesn’t look good on you!

Less is More Pt. 1

If you are adding hairpieces be careful not to overdo it. Don’t forget that you are wearing a veil. All eyes will be on you, so don’t give them more to talk about. Don’t feel the need to add extra pieces of hair when it’s not necessary. Why style your hair to make it look like a sky scraper or a bird’s nest??

Less is More Pt. 2

If you are wearing a simple dress, there is no better way to glam it up by wearing beautiful accessories to adorn your hair. You can get Custom Designed Hair Pieces & Accessories by Beauloni. Go to for more information.

Don’t Do it yourself!!

This is the worst time to try to cut costs. Don’t attempt any highlighting, braids, weaves or coloring yourself. Leave it to the professionals just for once! Even if you have styled your hair before, don’t add the extra stress to yourself!! Enjoy being a bride and let someone else take care of you. Don’t set yourself up for something to go wrong. If you don’t have a regular stylist ask a friend to recommend someone.

Go for a Trial Do to avoid a don’t!!

Make an appointment with your stylist at least one month before your wedding. Have a representative from your wedding party present there also. Take along your veil and any accessories so that your stylist can make any necessary adjustments. One more important thing you must do is to ask your stylist what is the best way to maintain your hair throughout your wedding day.

African-American Wedding Music

What makes your wedding uniquely African-American?

It’s easy to adopt Western traditions. Even in Africa, brides are choosing to go with Western-style weddings.

You can preserve your heritage in your wedding with African-American wedding music. What does this mean exactly?

Most couples have their own taste in music and that usually means the popular music of the day. But let’s explore the roots of African-American music for your African-American wedding music…






Perhaps these styles don’t seem like they will fit into YOUR wedding, but look deeper.

If you are having a Christian ceremony, the spiritual fits well into the wedding. The spiritual is one of the most significant genres of American music. Yes, many of them are mournful, speaking of hope beyond present day circumstances, but many are stirring and uplifting, professing their faith. Try A little more faith in Jesus…

All I want, All I want, All I want is a little more faith in Jesus

Whenever we meet you here we say, A little more faith in Jesus

What’s the order of the day? A little more faith in Jesus.

I tell you now as I told you before,

A little more faith in Jesus,

To the promise land I’m bound to go,

A little more faith in Jesus.

What an exciting way to start a joyous occasion!

The blues are another uniquely African-American musical form. Now you might think the blues are just way too depressing for a happy wedding day. Blues music reflected the newly-acquired freedom of slaves in America. There are many songs that have a sad origin, but in the context of a happy wedding, work well. Consider, for example, Can’t help lovin’ that man of mine from the movie “Show Boat.” Yes, she lost her man in the movie, but he’s all yours on your wedding day and the words convey a beautiful sentiment…

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly,

I gotta love one man ’til I die,

So I can’t help lovin’ that man of mine.

Rags or rag-time – another great African-American tradition. Ever heard of Scott Joplin? This pianist extraordinaire practically invented the idiom. If you saw the movie “The Sting,” you heard a lot of rags. This style predated jazz and reached its popularity in the first two decades of the 20th century. Most rags are upbeat and could work as prelude music, and would be fantastic during the cocktail hour or during dinner. You could hire a pianist to play a selection of rags.

Jazz is the epitome of African-American art and is fabulous African-American wedding music. All you need to do is hire a great jazz band and your reception will be awesome. And don’t forget that swing!

Jazz can work well in the ceremony as well. Embraceable You and The Nearness of You are great jazz vocal solos as the mothers are seated or when the bridal party is entering.

Drums – If you want something really exciting and truly African, why not process down the aisle to a traditional African drum beat with musicians dressed in traditional garb? Contact your local university music department, music union, or music store, and ask if they know of any African drum ensembles. Or do an on-line search for an African drum ensemble.

Tips for Finding Lovely Contemporary Wedding Dresses

Whether your desired look is traditional or fashion forward, super-sleek or buried in an ocean of tulle, immaculate whites or antiqued beiges, long or short, fit or flare, you’re sure to have your work cut out for you finding the perfect gown to wear on your special day. With a virtually endless array of wedding attire available on the market, and new entries popping up from every corner of the fashion world, there have never been more options available to brides-to-be for whom fashion represents a vital and highly personal statement.

You can narrow down that pool by focusing on newer designs that pay homage to traditional cuts and colors. Make sure to focus stubbornly on exactly what you desire in a fantasy wedding gown – because, the truth is, with such a generous variety available for browsing, you can enjoy the luxury of going for perfection. So keep your standards high, your mind open and your maid-of-honor on hand for trusted advice and encouragement. The possibilities are practically limitless. Here are just a few special gowns to get your search off the ground.

Taffeta Ball Gown with Organza Underlay

The Taffeta Ball Gown with Organza Underlay is a highly dramatic gown straight out of a fairy tale. It is just right for the bride-to-be whose wedding fantasies have been exactly that – fantastic. The gown’s flattering bodice features exquisite beaded embroidery along its classic strapless neckline. A peek-a-book organza underlay adds dimension and movement to the full skirt while offering a striking contrast with pick-up detailing at the waist.

Observe the careful placement of a glittering bow just above the skirt of this gown – a subtle, feminine touch that sets this dress apart from the pack. Its chapel train makes you appear to practically be floating down the aisle. This dress is available in petite sizes, so smaller-framed bride-to-be can rejoice – no tailoring required. Your dress, your size, the perfect look for one of the most important days of your and your beloved’s new life together. Strike a romantic figure at your wedding in a pure-yet-modern celebration of American matrimonial styling.

Satin Fit and Flare Gown with Bow Detail

The Satin Fit and Flare Gown with Bow Detail is a radiant choice for the brides who seek sophistication with a modern twist. This fit and flare gown follows your figure to mid-thigh and then bells gently into a remarkably flattering silhouette that your assembled witnesses and beloved guests are not likely to forget. Classically feminine from neckline to hem, this gown starts with an alluring sweetheart bodice and finishes in a modern bubble hem – a subtle grace note that you’ll relish like a secret as you make your way down the aisle. While fit to flare at bottom, this dress features a high empire waist that flatters any bride’s natural contour while celebrating vintage inspired fashion. It’s a stunning choice for the modern bride. Choose between classic White and creamy Ivory.

Short Sleeve Lace and Organza Knee Length Dress

Ultra-feminine, dynamic in dimension and one hundred percent gorgeous, this short 60’s-inspired wedding dress is perfect for an outdoor summer wedding among beloved friends and family. The Short Sleeve Lace and Organza Knee Length Dress’s cheerful lace bodice provides extra coverage for the modest bride. A stylish panel of lace has been incorporated to draw the eye upward. At waist level, the ruched satin band establishes an elegant silhouette that is both slimming and shape-defining. Organza pleating below the gently flared skirt provides just the right amount of volume, hitting just below the knee to achieve a playful, vintage appeal. Order yours in Soft White and pair it with pearls to enhance the vintage look of this gorgeous and unusual wedding dress.

Satin Off-the-Shoulder Side Draped A-Line Gown

The Satin Off-the-Shoulder Side Draped A-Line Gown features clean lines, immaculate white layering and a neckline so timeless, you can be sure that this very special gown will span generations of brides-to-be. Its off the shoulder bodice is a sweet declaration of feminine style that universally flatters the shoulders and upper arms. This bodice is enhanced even further by an exquisite beaded pattern across the bust. Choose a classic A-line cut for your wedding gown and enjoy the benefits of its figure flattering lines and simple movement – priceless qualities that have been turning heads for the better part of a century. Meanwhile, the real twist comes when you turn your back to launch that bouquet – it’s a dramatic deep-V that you’ll just love. Available in White or Ivory with a chapel length train that will create a floating effect as you walk down the aisle toward your beloved.

Vera Wang Wedding Dresses – Why Are They So Loved?

Vera Wang was born in 1949 to affluent Chinese immigrants. She lived a luxurious life in Manhattan’s Upper East Side where she attended private schools and studied at the School of American Ballet. Wang was a very talented figure skater and competed professionally throughout her teens and even placed fifth in the U.S. National Championships. When Wang graduated from college, she went to work at Vogue and was already a Senior Fashion Editor by the age of 23. After 15 years at Vogue, she went to work for Ralph Lauren.

When she was 40 years old, Wang finally decided to marry her long-time love. As all brides do, she went in search of the perfect wedding gown. She was so frustrated by the lack of bridal gowns that she sketched out her own gown and commissioned a tailor to sew it for her. The cost for this elegant gown was $10,000.

With seed money from Wang’s Father, she opened her first bridal boutique in the upscale Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue in New York. Her gowns are now sold in very upscale retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and are worn by celebrities such as Anjelica Huston, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Lopez, and Goldie Hawn. Vera Wang is now the most prominent bridal gown designer in America and has been honored with a large number of awards for her achievements such as the 2005 Womanswear Designer of the Year.

While Vera Wang wedding dresses are the envy of all brides to be, most cannot afford the huge price tag of her premium designer dresses. But what if there was a way to walk down the aisle with a Vera Wang dress on and only pay a fraction of the cost? This newly discovered discount wedding gown opportunity is now becoming popular. This is how it works: Major retail bridal stores allow brides to try on wedding gowns called “sample gowns”. Once the choice of the gown is made, the bride places her order for a new gown in the correct size and the one she tried on goes back on the floor. This process continues until the gown is discontinued, the store needs room for new inventory, or they have stopped carrying that collection all together. What happens to the gowns that are no longer needed? Bride Couture purchases these gowns and then sells them to brides at 50% to 80% off their original price. Imagine walking in and trying on a ten thousand dollar gown for a fraction of the cost? Better yet, why not have Bride Couture send you three or four gowns to try on. Keep the one you love and return the others. You can try on the gowns in the comfort of your own home and have whomever you want there to give you reviews.

Vera Wang uses the tradition of Paris Couture when she designs a dress. Her style is more focused on using gorgeous fabrics and unique construction rather than heavy beading or embroidery. Her gowns are very romantic, whimsical and high fashion while still remaining timeless. This is your day to be the center of attention. Why not feel and look like one in a Vera Wang wedding dress?

Vegas Wedding Dress – How to Find the Perfect Gown

Every bride dreams of finding the perfect, show stopping dress with which to delight her groom, and Vegas brides are no exception. Some women have been mentally designing their gown for years, others feel overwhelmed by the shopping process and do not know where to begin. With some research, tips, and an investment of time, every bride can succeed in finding a dress that suits their style, their budget and their body type and is a perfect fit for their Las Vegas wedding.

An important consideration when choosing a dress is that of the aesthetic of the wedding and reception. While a traditional gown is always in good taste, it may make sense to incorporate the wedding’s overall theme in the type of attire chosen. More casual weddings may call for more informal dresses, including cocktail length options. Couples embarking on a fun filled Vegas wedding may get even more creative with their apparel. Elvis and Priscilla costumes have been known to appear on brides and grooms at some Vegas chapels. American Theme Weddings on West Sahara Avenue is a one-stop shop for unconventional bridal attire for the happy couple as well as their attendants.

Wedding dresses can be purchased in several types of silhouettes which flatter different body types. Understanding body type is critical in selecting a great dress. Ball gowns are characterized by fuller skirts and flatter just about any body type, though they may be best on brides of average height or taller. A-line gowns are also popular choices, as they feature a close fitting bodice and a flared skirt. Sheath dresses are sleek and elegant and best on slender brides. Within these broad categories are dresses of every description from the very simple to the highly embellished. Couture Bride on South Durango Drive is an intimate bridal salon offering personal attention and consulation to brides seeking to determine the most flattering style for their figure. Carrying high end lines such as Vera Wang, this is a much loved Las Vegas wedding dress destination.

Brides are well advised to determine a dress budget and try to stick to it. Wedding dresses come in a full spectrum of price points, and it is important to decide whether a dress for one day warrants a large cash outlay, or if something more modest in cost would be appropriate for the couple’s financial circumstances. Shoes, veil and other accessories must be factored into the budget as well. Fortunately, there are bridal vendors, custom dressmakers and even resale websites ensuring that every bride can find something to suit their needs. Brides wishing to conserve funds or those whose wedding is a relatively spontaneous event will be pleasantly surprised at the ease with which a wedding gown can be rented in Las Vegas. I & A Bridal, located just minutes from the Las Vegas Strip offers last minute gown and attire rental in sizes ranging from 2 to 46, with basic alterations included.

Choosing a dress can seem like a daunting task at first, but many brides find it to be one of the more enjoyable tasks associated with planning a wedding. By keeping body shape, wedding type and budget in mind, and by taking advantage of the wealth of bridal resources available, every bride can find a dress that for them is truly ideal.

Find out how you can plan a great Las Vegas wedding AND save money!

Wedding Dresses Used to Be Snow White – But They Drifted

Many brides in the United States think of white wedding dresses as “traditional,” but the white wedding dress is actually a fairly recent custom. When Queen Victoria was married in 1840, she chose a white wedding dress and immediately started a fashion. While most working-class brides continued to get married in a best dress, regardless of color, well-to-do brides in Britain and America followed the Queen and got married in white.

As other brides followed suit, people began to think of the white color as a symbol of purity, and within one short century the white wedding dress became a must.

But as times have continued to change, more and more brides are beginning to buck Victoria’s example and let their true colors show.

Some brides brighten up the traditional white dress with deftly placed colored accents. These can serve to draw the eye to the bride’s best features, match color accents in the groom’s outfit, or just add a fun splash of color.

Modern brides looking for something a little bolder are making wedding dresses in champagne and gold increasingly popular. Either color is elegant enough for a formal wedding, and the brides look every bit as striking as their sisters in white.

Adding a little color to your wedding dress doesn’t just add flexibility to your choices – it can also be a beautiful way to honor your heritage.

Traditional African bridal wear comes in all kinds of colors. Some colors and patterns are used to honor the area the bride and groom come from, or some have personal or family significance to the bride and groom. A modern couple that chooses traditional brightly colored cloth to enhance standard Western wedding outfits can make for a stunning pair.

Indian saris are known around the world for their gorgeous colors. Depending on the region, a wedding sari might be done in red and white or in green, white, and yellow. Either will have beautiful accents in gold thread. Saris are wonderfully easy to adapt – you’ll look gorgeous whether you choose to wear a full traditional sari or to blend Indian and Western traditions.

Korean brides wear green overlays over their wedding dresses. The overlays may be embroidered with flowers – a nice way to set off the colors in your bouquet. Irish brides, in contrast, rarely wear green at weddings, as the usually lucky color is considered bad luck at weddings. A blue dress, however, is considered very good form at a traditional Irish wedding. Blue dresses used to be far more popular in all of the British Isles – the color was popularly supposed to guarantee a long marriage and a faithful husband. Israeli brides often wear blue or blue highlights for a different reason: the color symbolizes the bride’s spiritual powers.

If you like red, you’re in luck. It’s considered good fortune for brides to wear the cheery color in China, traditional areas of Russia, and many other nations. Japanese wedding gowns are often lined in red, and as mentioned above, many Indian brides wear the color as well. There’s even a case to be made for calling a red gown an American tradition as well – some brides wore it during the Revolutionary war to show their desire for independence.

…And of course Goth brides have been decking themselves out in red for more than a decade. If you and your groom have a taste for lush, brooding elegance, a Goth wedding can satisfy your desire to dress in a traditional Western silhouette while opening up the possibility of a deep purple, gray, or black wedding dress.

Or maybe you don’t need to follow any tradition at all. As increasing numbers of modern couples plan and pay for their own weddings, guests have become accustomed to seeing very personal weddings that break new ground. Simply choosing the dress that makes your heart sing, regardless of color, is a great way to put your personal stamp on your wedding and know that you look your best.

Wedding Dresses And Their Importance

A wedding is a solemn occasion. It is also a special event by which two willing hearts and minds unite by an eternal bond of everlasting love. Hence, the apparel of the bride and the groom should be thoughtfully chosen to reflect the significance of the grand occasion. The wedding dress of the bride comes in bright, auspicious colors styled uniquely in conformance with the ceremonial importance as determined by the culture and religion, which sanctifies the marriage.

Features of a wedding dress

Wedding dresses come in various colors, forms and styles corresponding to the many cultures and fashions from which they hail. Wedding dresses are characterized by their exquisite grace and charm. Though the term wedding dress usually refers to the bridal gown worn by Western/European brides, all the various kinds of dresses worn by brides worldwide come within the ambit of wedding dress.

Wedding dresses vary with regions, customs, cultures and religions. The Oriental, the Indian, the Middle East, the African, the Mediterranean, and the American – all have their respective typical wedding dress codes. Whatever may be the type of wedding dress of the bride – a bridal gown, a sari, a kimono, a Salwar Kamiz with wedding veil, it is created to spell elegance and hold the audience and especially the bridegroom spellbound. Wedding dresses are secured from the highly skilled artisans who use the best fabrics and the most intricate embellishments – elaborate patterns and designs to create the choicest dresses of the respective culture. The exquisite wedding dresses thus made serve as a reflection of the culture concerned too.

Considerations in selecting the appropriate wedding dress

In marriages the appearance of the bride and the groom is of prime importance. The wedding dress or the bridal attire requires special mention in this regard since the bride is the cynosure of all eyes at the wedding and therefore her attire commands utmost attention. The wedding dress should be selected with due care with respect to the following considerations:

1. Checking bridal magazines to get a better idea of what fashions are in vogue.

2. Seeking opinions from select friends on the dress selection and trying to view choices made from their perspective.

3. Thinking over the kind of party to be hosted and the prevailing mood- formal or casual.

4. Budgetary constraints set up regarding purchase of dress.

African American Weddings

Many African American women today are incorporating elements of their heritage into wedding ceremonies. What they end up with is not only a celebration rich in tradition and culture, but one that is unique and true to their ethnic roots, as well.

One way they carry on this tradition is with the wedding attire. Woven cloth from Africa is reflective a woman’s personal, societal, religious, and political ethnology. Representing liberation are the colors of red (for blood), gold (representing prosperity), and green (for the vegetation of Africa). The design includes a stepped border which symbolizes obstacles faced over the course of a lifetime in an “X” pattern that ends in a “V” representing the unity of ideas. Even if getting married in the traditional white wedding dress, may African American brides today attend their receptions dressed in traditional attire which includes a headpiece, a loose fitting dress or wrapped skirt, a shawl, and a loose blouse all made from the same fabric. The groom is also attired similarly in a hat and long pullover jacket which is worn over slacks and a shirt. For a little added flare you might opt for fabric which is purple trimmed in gold, the colors of royalty. In this case the bridal party would also accent their dress with purple and gold although their basic colors would be complimentary to the color purple.

Many African American customs are unique to the United States based on the experiences of slaves during early colonial times. One of the most popular is “jumping the broom” which became a wedding tradition when slaves were forbidden to wed and, therefore, were not considered joined legally in the eyes of the law. When this is part of the wedding, the bride and groom together sweep the floor in a circular motion during a recitation of the orientation of the customs as if sweeping away the past. The broom is then placed on the floor and the couple joins hands and jumps over the broom together in this way jumping into their new life as husband and wife. Whoever was able to jump the highest supposedly became the decision-maker for the household. Making of the broom varies from creating it yourself out of wheat stocks bound together to purchasing one from a craft store. The brooms were often made of adorned with wildflowers, beads, and ribbons and one traditional suggests that each guest be given a colored ribbon upon which they write well wishes to the couple. After the ceremony, but before the couple leaves the nuptial sight, a designated person brings the broom to the couple after which they perform the rite. Following the ceremony the broom is often hung in the house as a simulated marriage certificate; much like would have been done by couples of other ethnicities who received the paper certificate received after they wed.

One unique feature of the African American wedding today is the inclusion all of sharing gifts and love during the wedding ceremony itself. This is referred to as Yoruba and begins with a spiritual reading about a month before the ceremony itself at which time the couple is given gifts. At the beginning of the ceremony itself, a prayer asking God’s blessing along with those of ancestral spirits is often followed by the presentation of a gift by an elder, usually in the form of liquor or water. It is at this point that the groom must publicly ask the bride’s mother for the bride’s hand in marriage.

At an African American wedding not only do the bride and groom receive gifts, but so do the bride’s family members. This is a symbolic gesture on the part of the groom demonstrating he is well-prepared to take care of his new bride during their life together. The bride’s father is responsible for accepting the gifts for the family with the expectation that the better the gifts the more secure the father should feel that his daughter will be well taken care of.

For those couples wishing to have a baby right away, the custom of wearing cowrie shells or sewing them to the gown may be for you as they are believed to promote fertility. They were once used as money, but today they are a symbol of beauty and power and are used in purification ceremonies in order to make the couple more fertile.

The ceremony also includes tasting spices and explaining their symbolic meaning. As a way of representing the promise to “love for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health,” the couple shares samples representing sour (such as a lemon), bitter (such as bitter chocolate), hotness (such as chili pepper), sweetness (such as sugar), and rich flavors (such as that found in Worcestershire or soy sauce). Although this is a lesser known practice it is rich in tradition and meaning as it represents all the pleasure, tribulations, joys, and sorrows that many times accompany couples as they navigate their way through marriage.