Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Marriage vs Wedding

I got the idea for today's post while reading a news article about Shashi Tharoor's wedding which said: About 100 close relatives, including 20 from Pushkar's side, attended the marriage...(

Many people in India use the word marriage when referring to the ceremony where a marriage takes place, instead of the more appropriate wedding.  However, the use of marriage in this context is not wrong, as is apparent from the second definition of the word shown in this screenshot from the Macmillan dictionary.

Nevertheless, wedding should be the preferred word since it refers specifically to the ceremony.

You can easily remember this distinction if you keep in mind the following film-titles, all of which use wedding rather than marriage. 
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  • My Best Friend's Wedding
  • Monsoon Wedding


  1. Maybe the 'mistake' in the news article was intentional; a pointer to the fact the he has probably has had more wedding than marriage in his life. It was the fourth time he bit the nuptial bullet.

  2. I often came across this during my 3 years teaching in Pakistan. Your analysis is spot on - It's not technically wrong to say 'I attended my cousin's marriage,' but it sounds funny to American English speakers (and I'm guessing British English speakers as well) since we usually say wedding. Marriage most often refers to something much more than a one-time event.