Weddings are the most blissful of human traditions. They are so truly steep in traditions that after thousands of years one still wonders why we hang on to them. The truth is that wedding traditions still remain for aesthetic reasons with culture and religion playing a major role. Even couples who are involved with these ceremonies hardly bother to know the meaning of the traditions behind their wedding. Check out some of these traditions and how they started.
1. The white wedding dress
Let’s start with the white wedding dress. Did you know that at one time, brides wore red as a matter of belief? The red wedding outfit was more of an oriental origin. Let’s thank Queen Victoria for the beautiful makeover white wedding dress that brides now adorn. The white wedding dress became popular when Queen Victoria got married in 1840.
Queen Victoria started the trend after commissioning a white lace gown for her wedding to Prince Albert and boom! Everyone started copying the Queen. Prior to all that incident, brides had the alternative of wearing their very best dresses.
The black wedding dress, in contrast, originated from the Spanish: traditional brides with Roman Catholic faith were obliged to wear black wedding dresses as a symbol of devoting their marriage until death.
2. Groom must not see the bride the night before the wedding
This started in the days of arranged marriages, Fathers trick the grooms into thinking that the bride was more attractive than she was. They would forbid the groom from seeing the bride until her veil was removed. The result of this action is that the groom would become stuck with the arrangement. It’s funny that people still abide by this tradition.
3. The bride stands to the left of the groom
Traditionally, this is to enable the groom to wield his sword in order to protect the bride. The groom thereby anticipates attacks from rivals who may want to abduct the bride. With his left arm beside his bride, he uses his sword to fight anyone who would dare try to steal his wife. And guess what? Brides still stay on the left side of their groom. But, strangely, grooms gave decided not to add a sword as part of their outfit.
4. Wearing a veil
This wedding tradition dates back to the origin of arranged marriages. Traditionally, the groom’s family would not allow him to see his bride until the wedding. All this is just to make sure the groom ends up with the bride especially if she is ugly. After the marriage rites are over, the man is forever stuck to the woman.
The bridesmaids would each wear the same dress as the bride in order to confuse the evil spirits and prevent them from finding her. The belief is that the couple will avoid being cursed on their wedding day especially as the evil spirits will find it difficult figuring out who the real bride is. Unfortunately, nowadays, not many people still believe evil spirits will steal brides during weddings.
6. Best man
In the olden days, the best man’s role was to make sure the bride didn’t escape during the ceremony. If she does, it’s the best man’s job to gather back. The belief back then was that some brides end up having a change of heart and at the last minute run away. Nowadays, the best man’s job is to do nothing!
7. Cutting of the cake
Cutting of cake dates back to ancient Rome, whereby the broken cake represented the breaking of the bride’s virginity. No comment on that one, because no one gives a hoot about the bride being a virgin.
Ancient Romans would bake wheat cakes and break them over the bride’s head. It was customary then to stack these wheat cakes on top of each other. The bride and groom we’re then asked to kiss over the wheat cake tower without knocking it over. If they were successful, it is believed that they’d enjoy a lifetime of good fortune as a couple.
8. A bride’s bouquet
The bride’s bouquet was traditionally meant to be the bride’s deodorant. Brides also toss the bouquet in order to distract everyone so the new couple can make a quick getaway. You may ask whether this still works nowadays? That’s an emphatic no! Instead, nowadays, they say whoever gets the bouquet is next to getting married.
9. The Origin of the Honeymoon
The honeymoon served as a way for the husband to hide the bride for about a month, so her tribe wouldn’t know where to find her. During the 5th century when cultures represented the calendar time in moon cycles, a newlywed couple would drink mead, an alcoholic beverage made of honey, a tradition that would take place during their first moon of marriage. This is how the name ‘honeymoon started. Of course, nowadays, the honeymoon is more of a holiday for the couple.
10. The Origin of the Wedding Rings
In ancient times, women would wear rings made of papyrus around their wrists and ankles. The Romans substituted the material with iron but gold later became the first choice. Do not try giving your bride a ring made of paper!
Historically, the bride’s ring represents ownership. In early Roman, Greek, and Jewish cultures, rings were collateral for payment of the bride. The ring is placed on the fourth finger because the fourth finger was believed to contain a specific vein that leads to the heart. Of course, there is no such thing. Though the myth has since been debunked by physiologists, this still remains a wedding tradition.