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What is the Difference Between Wedding Arches, Chuppahs, Mandaps, Canopies, Gazebos, and Altars?
The spot where you publicly declare your love and commitment to your partner on your big day is kind of a big deal. In your grandparents day, most wedding ceremonies were conducted in churches, so there were few vow area choices to make apart from placing a few flowers at the altar.
Nowadays, many wedding ceremonies are conducted outdoors under some type of arch, chuppah, canopy, arbor, or structure, usually decorated to complement the wedding style, decor, and colors.
Though different types of wedding arches have both cultural and religious significance (representing protection, divine presence, and the home, for example), couples embrace the curve for aesthetic and décor purposes, too. A beautiful arbor can anchor and define an outdoor ceremony, serve as a photo backdrop, or bring new meaning to your wedding celebration. With the addition of fabrics, flowers, and various builds, arches can become part of your own theme, not to mention a gorgeous way to bring a bold new look to the end of your aisle.
What’s the difference between these structures?
The arch itself is a symbol of the future home the bride and groom will start their family in. Arch meaning in many cultures also suggests initiation and ceremonies of renewal. Walking through an archway represents the sloughing off of the old and moving into a new phase of life. Arches are often constructed simply with three posts and the top post either straight or curved. They are commonly built of wrought iron or wood lattice, with decoration including flowers, lights or fabric.
Literally, chuppah means “blanket,” or “protection” for the couple, much like a sturdy structure. It consists of a cloth, sometimes a prayer shawl or other significant piece of fabric stretched out over four poles. A traditional chuppah is held by four people who have special meaning to the couple getting married. Some larger weddings use a chuppah that has self-supporting poles. This allows more people to join the couple under the chuppah. Some families have heirloom chuppahs that they pass from generation to generation.