The ceremony of marriage is normally governed by the religious formularies of the church to which the bride may belong, which chooses the clergyman for its performance. The bride has usually two bridesmaids, and the groom the same number of groomsmen. This number is not set in stone, and it may be increased. The proper Victorian marriage is customarily performed at 12 o'clock in the day, at the church, which is first entered by the bride resting on the arm of her father, uncle, or the person is to "give her away." Next comes the groom, with the mother or closest female relative. The groomsmen and bridesmaids, arm in arm follow them.
The immediate relatives complete the procession to the altar, where the bride and groom take their places in advance, with the parents closely behind, and the rest gathered in a group about them. The groom is responsible for providing the wedding ring, and have it in readiness at the proper moment when called upon to place it on the brides ring finger. The ring is placed on the third finger from, but not counting the thumb of the left hand. After the wedding ceremony is complete, the question sometimes arises whether the bride is to be kissed by the groom. Traditionally, the kiss is considered improper behavior, but it is, of course, common practice today.
Finally, all their friends and family in the church congratulate the bride and groom. Elderly relatives may kiss the bride in congratulation. Queen Victoria herself was kissed by the Duke of Sussex, but not by Prince Albert. The married couple then return to the bride's house together, taking precedence of all, and, on arrival, assume a standing position at one end of the reception-room and await the coming of the invited guests, who, as they enter, are conducted by the groomsmen to offer their congratulations. The usual breakfast or lunch closes the ceremony.
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