Marriage vs. wedding

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Hello everyone,

I am currently translating the website a of company specialized in the organization of events / receptions (including weddings so). I have a little doubt about the difference between "wedding" and "marriage".

I believe that marriage is about the institution or used for related legal terms, and "wedding" is just the ceremony itself?

Am I correct or completly mistaken?

Thanks for your help!
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Have a look at marriage/wedding

    Just to be sure, the wedding involves the ceremony and associated public events and activities. The wedding I am going to in a couple of weeks time involves the ceremony, the reception, and a lunch for family guests the following day.

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Although a wedding seems to hve no legal meaning -- just a ceremony -- in some situations a wedding ceremony does have a legal meaning. Rarely now, but historically, marriages could be arrarnged through proof of a common law arrangement. Those arrangements have become extinct except in a few states. It is almost certain that a ceremonial marrige creation [wedding] will take legal precedence over a common law marriage creation.


    New Member
    Hello. If I'm not mistaken there's a slight difference in meaning between words 'wedding' and 'marriage', but I just dont't get it. I wonder if someone could explain this? Thank you, Marcgal.

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    Senior Member
    English - England
    One way of describing the difference is to say a wedding is a ceremony at which one gets married or witnesses a marriage. The marriage is the official exchanging of vows and so on that confers upon the happy couple the legal status of being married. It's also the legal state in which the couple live until death do them part.
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    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    You are invited to a wedding (the ceremony) but not to the marriage.

    People might be in an unfaithful marriage, but not an unfaithful wedding (unless they're REALLY unlucky :D). It's the same in Polish - two different words, but I'm not allowed to say them here, as it's English-only.

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    A 'wedding' is the whole occasion, including any social events, of which the legal marriage ceremony is an essential part. There might be rather few people invited to the actual marriage ceremony, but many more invited to the social events associated with it.



    New Member
    Thanks for your answers. This is the way I understood these two words before. But, quoting the dictionary, a marriage is also 'a wedding ceremony'. I must say I am a bit confused with it. That just does not make any sense to me. And that's why I asked this question.

    Jin akashini

    Senior Member
    Hi, every one
    Can you tell me the difference between "Marriage vs Wedding".
    Is correct to say that "I would be pleased to invite you to join us the forthcoming marriage of our son Graham and his fiancée Debbie"
    Thank you very much!


    Senior Member
    English - English
    Marriage usually refers to the whole (supposedly) life-long relationship, while wedding always refers to the ceremony.

    Marriage is often used for the ceremony as well, but it might be better to stick to wedding.


    Senior Member
    Normally, wedding refers to the ceremony and marriage refers to the long-term relationship that follows the wedding. But marriage is sometimes used to mean wedding. Wedding is never used to mean marriage, though.

    So in your example, I'd use wedding. Marriage wouldn't be out of the question, though.

    Edit: Crossposted with Scrotgrot.


    Senior Member
    English - American
    Couldn't we just say that "marriage" can mean either the state of being married or the marrying of (two people)? The couple will be married by someone at their wedding, so the second meaning applies.
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