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Weddings in the United States vary as much as the people do. There are church weddings with a great deal of fanfare; there are weddings on mountain-tops with guests barefooted; and there have been weddings on the ocean floor with oxygen tanks for the guests. But many weddings, no matter where or how they are performed, include certain traditional customs.

Before a couple is married, they become engaged. And then invitations are sent to those who live nearby, their close friends and their relatives who live far away. When everything is ready, then comes the most exciting moment.

The wedding itself usually lasts between 20 and 40 minutes. The wedding party enters the church while the wedding march[1] is played. The bride carrying a bouquet enters last with her father who will "give her away[2]". The groom enters the church from a side door. When the wedding party is gathered by the altar, the bride and groom exchange vows. It is traditional to use the words "To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part[3]". Following the vows, the couple exchange rings. Wearing the wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand is an old custom.

After the ceremony there is often a party, called a "reception" which gives the wedding guests an opportunity to congratulate the newlyweds.

The car in which the couple leaves the church is decorated with balloons, streamers and shaving cream. The words "Just Married" are painted on the trunk or back window. The bride and groom run to the car under a shower of rice[4] thrown by the wedding guests. When the couple drives away from the church, friends often chase them in cars, honking and drawing attention to them. And then the couple go on their honeymoon. (来源:www.EnglishCN.com)

                 美国人的婚礼

  美国的国土上居住着各种各样的人,他们的婚礼也千差万别。有热闹庄重的教堂婚礼;有在山顶上举行的婚礼,客人们光着脚陪伴登高;也有在海底举行的婚礼,客人们戴着氧气罐跟着入水。但婚礼无论在哪儿举行或怎样举行,总有某些传统的风俗。

  在举行婚礼前先要先订婚,然后发放请贴给住在附近的人和好朋友以及远方的亲戚。当一切准备就绪,就该到最激动人心的时刻了。

  婚礼本身通常进行20至40分钟。婚礼一行人伴着结婚进行曲进入教堂。新娘手持一束鲜花和她的父亲最后进来,父亲要把她交给新郎。而新郎则要从侧门进入教堂。当婚礼一行人聚集到教堂的祭坛前时,新娘和新郎互相表达誓言。常用的结婚誓言是:“而今而后,不论境遇好坏,家境贫富,生病与否,誓言相亲相爱,至死不分离。”宣誓过后,二人交换戒指。通常把戒指戴在左手无名指上,这是一个古老的风俗。

  礼仪过后,通常会有宴会,叫“喜宴”。宴会给参加婚礼的人一个向新婚夫妇祝贺的机会。

  新郎新娘乘坐汽车离开教堂,汽车上装饰有气球,彩色纸带、刮须膏之类的东西。“新婚燕尔”几个字常写在汽车后的行李箱上或后玻璃窗上。新娘新郎从婚礼客人撒下的雨点般的生大米中跑向汽车。小两口儿开车离开教堂时,朋友们常常开车追赶他们,不停地按喇叭,引他们注意。然后小两口儿就接着去度蜜月了。
 
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