In Western society, a number of marriage customs have emerged around the wedding ceremony, many of which have since lost their original symbolic meaning; for example, the custom of the bride wearing a white dress once symbolised virginity and would not have been allowed in the second or third wedding of a widow. Some elements of the Western wedding ceremony symbolize the bride's departure from her father's control and entry into a new family with her husband. In modern Western weddings, this symbolism is largely vestigial, since husband and wife are of equal power and status.
Weddings in modern China combine both traditional elements and elements influenced by the West. The actual civil ceremony consists of registering the marriage with the local registrar and is brief and done without much ceremony. The wedding reception however is elaborate and complex, and the one prominent element of modern Chinese weddings is the Chinese wedding album.
A wedding is often followed or accompanied by a wedding reception, at which an elaborate wedding cake is served. Western traditions include toasting the bride and groom, the newlyweds having the first dance, and cutting the cake. The bride throws her bouquet to the woman who is supposedly next to wed, and her garter to the man who is next.
Music often played at western weddings includes: