There are many religions in America and they each have their own traditions concerning the wedding ceremony. There is also the civil wedding ceremony to consider.
In the civil service a couple needs a license and an authorized person to sign the document. The authorized person only has to verify that the two people before them are the ones on the license and ask them if they want to be married. When they answer in the affirmative the license is signed and they are married. All cut and dry and legal. This is the type of marriage that does not involve religion and is a civil right according to law.
A Christian Wedding and weddings of most religions is quite different and in the United States it involves having the same license of the civil wedding but also much more. In my church a groom and a bride come to make vows to each other and God. They come seeking a blessing on their marriage and home. It is the making of vows that makes all the difference.
When a marriage vow is made the couple actually make two vows at once. They make vows of commitment and fidelity to one another and they make those same vows to God! It is this act that makes the wedding ceremony sacred in every religion. Each religion sets its own standards for weddings and are not bound by equality under the law as civil weddings are.
In a Christian wedding the vows are binding until death do us part. Jesus made only one excuse for divorce and that was adultery. When a person breaks the marriage vow a double sin is committed. The first sin is against the spouse and the second is against God. I count it a very serious event to make a vow to God. Breaking a vow to God is not something one does lightly and I always stress that to couples about to get married in the church. There is an eternal aspect to a vow made to God and it stays with you that long.