Wedding traditions in Rasenna are rather diverse. Marriages between Houses operate on a different level of ritual and formality than marriages between ordinary citizens. From there, they vary even further: rustic weddings take on the character of their principality, city or even village, while each House may have its own favored practices.
The most common elements are fairly predictable: a priest, justice of the peace, captain or other person authorized to marry; and two witnesses, one for the bride and one for the groom. More witnesses are common, of course — many House weddings favor large bridal and groom parties in addition to the guests. The two primary witnesses are considered “seconds,” just as with a duel — a young man asks another to be his second when he marries. If the wedding symbolizes an alliance between two Great Houses, it is most proper for each of the seconds to come from the respective House. The role of the “second” can even extend to taking the bride or groom’s place in case of tragedy or desertion. This isn’t enforceable law, but particularly in the case of House allegiances it may be a gesture that preserves the union rather than starting a feud.
By Social Class
House weddings are typically serious affairs, even if the bride and groom have married for love. The ceremony itself is the focus of gravity, particularly where the oaths of loyalty to one another are concerned. The reception is usually more light-hearted and boisterous, though this too depends on the House. A Sespech wedding reception is sometimes somber enough to be confused for a wake, while drunken brawls at a Rovino reception are generally taken as a good sign for the marriage — ample alcohol symbolizes of prosperity to come, while the actual brawls are a sign that the family has a good emotional interest in the couple’s success.
Weddings with no House at stake are merrier affairs at every stage, particularly in the countryside. A rustic Rasennan wedding may feature pranks, bawdy songs, lively music, and attempts to embarrass the bride and groom. Provincial customs also vary: a popular Calveran custom, for instance, is to have the bride and groom use a two-person saw to cut a log in half to prove that they’re capable of working together, pushing and pulling as needed.
Most Rasennans are content to let priests of the pantheon, or of the Higher Nine, conduct the ceremony. Priests of specific deities are in demand depending on the wedding’s focus; a priest of Lierce naturally encourages love and cooperation, while a Larran priest may be asked to provide blessings of fertility. This is often as much for show as anything, though, and multiple priests may preside for propriety’s sake. Some few couples are pious enough to seek out the priest of a specific deity for spiritual reasons, and these church weddings may often be quite idiosyncratic — followers of Goreador might marry in full armor attended by soldiers, for instance, whereas two worshippers of Qullon may swear their vows standing barefoot in the surf. Some shrines cater specifically to eloping couples, particularly those dedicated to Shessa (a more romantic choice) and those dedicated to Hothos (for weddings that are meant to be especially secret).