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Buddhist Weddings

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Author: Mavis Elliot

What is a Buddhist wedding?
  • A Buddhist marriage ceremony is secular in nature and takes place in a register office or one of the few Buddhist temples licensed as a legal marriage venue. The London Buddhist Vihara is one of them. Call 020 8995 9493, email or take a look at their website for more details or other venues.
  • As there is no set format, the wedding is usually influenced by the customs of the country in which it is taking place.
  • Some couples choose to have a Buddhist blessing in a temple after their civil ceremony.

  • Organising your Buddhist wedding

    Setting the date

  • Buddhists can get married at any time, depending on the hours of the chosen register office or temple.
  • There are no days on which it is forbidden for Buddhists to marry. However, all Buddhists should know the Buddha's teachings on the mutual obligations and duties of a husband and a wife.
  • There are no forms to fill in either - these will be dealt with at the register office.

  • Organising your Buddhist blessing

  • The blessing ceremony in the temple can take place at any time, at the convenience of the individual venue. No notice is required for your blessing, other than to ask the temple if the proposed time is convenient.
  • You do not need to attend any meetings with the monks prior to your blessing.
  • There is no blessing rehearsal.

  • Guests

  • People of all religions are welcome to attend a Buddhist blessing service, as long as each guest respects the traditions of the Buddhist faith.

  • Wedding outfits

  • The bride, groom and guests are free to wear whatever they like, as long as it is not too revealing. The bride usually wears a dress and the groom a suit.
  • Guests should be aware that they must behave respectfully towards the Buddhist monks in the temple and should remove their shoes before entering the shrine room.

  • The Blessing

  • The blessing ceremony takes place in the shrine room of the Buddhist temple.
  • The ceremony lasts about half an hour, during which time ordained monks chant from Buddhist sacred texts in the Pali language.
  • The style of chanting has been handed down since the time of the Buddha. The guests and wedding couple listen and observe, but do not participate. For this reason there are no service sheets.
  • Confetti would not be thrown as it has no place in Buddhist culture.
  • There is no organist or choir, other than the monks themselves.
  • Photographs and videotapes of the ceremony are allowed.

  • Afterwards

    After the blessing, the couple and guests would usually go to a reception. As there are no hard-and-fast marriage traditions in the Buddhist faith, what happens next is entirely up to the couple!

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