The Origin of Wedding Traditions
The word "Wedding" originates from the Anglo-Saxon word "wedd" which meant a man would marry a woman and pay her father. Many of today's wedding traditions can be traced back to ancient customs based on symbolism, superstition, folklore, religion, and the belief in evil spirits.
Some marriages were carried out by the Groom and his Brides men or Brides knights, who would kidnap a woman, the origin of "carrying a Bride over the threshold." The Groom and those with him would then fight off the female's family with swords held in their right hand while the Groom held the captured Bride in his left hand. Thus the reason a "Bride stands on the left side of the Groom" at a wedding. After he had successfully captured her, the Groom would hide his new Bride for one month to consummate their marriage. The word "honeymoon" was used to describe this one month cycle of the moon when they would drink mead, a honey sweetened alcoholic drink, which affects the acidity of the womb, thus increasing fertility.
Originally, wedding bouquets were made of strong herbs, such as thyme and garlic, to frighten away evil spirits, and to cover the stench of people who had not bathed.
It was believed in ancient times that a Bride was especially lucky on her wedding day. Guests would tear at her dress for a piece of good luck to take home. The tossing of the bouquet grew from the Bride's desire to offer a good luck souvenir, and prevent guests from bothering her during her reception.
Early Brides and Bridesmaids wore similar dresses to confuse evil spirits.
At a time when weddings were arranged by family members, a poor Dutchman fell in love with a girl whose father refused her a dowry. Their friends showered her with enough gifts to help them start a household. According to another tale, the first "Bridal Shower" occurred at the end of the 19th century. At a party, the Bride's friends placed small gifts inside a parasol and opened it over the Bride's head, "showering" her with presents!
During the time when marriages were arranged by family members, the newlyweds were rarely allowed to see one another. Family members exchanging a dowry were afraid that if the Groom didn't like the Bride's face, he might refuse to marry her. This is why the Father of the Bride "gave the Bride away" to the Groom at the wedding ceremony. Only after lifting her veil just before the ceremony did the Groom see the Bride's face for the first time.
Carrying The Bride Over The Threshold
When a Groom used to steal his Bride, he was forced to carry her kicking and screaming. This act of thievery has evolved into a gesture of welcoming the Bride into her new home.
Originally brides tossed a garter, rather than a bouquet, at the wedding reception. In the 14th century, this custom changed after Brides tired of fighting off drunken men who tried to remove the garter themselves. The garter toss in England may have evolved from an earlier tradition of "flinging the stocking". Guests would follow the Bride and Groom to their bedroom, wait until they undressed, steal their stockings, and then "fling" them at the couple. The first person to hit the Bride or Groom on the head would be the next to wed.
When arranged marriages were common, the Groom collected a dowry only after his marriage was consummated. The money dance insured that the couple would have some money before they left their wedding reception. In another tradition, the people of the village gave gifts of pottery, livestock, and garden plants to the newlyweds because the Bride and Groom had no money to acquire these things until they had children, then a dowry was exchanged.
Penny In Shoe
This is a European tradition to bring the Bride good luck, fortune, and protection against want. The lucky penny can later be turned into a piece of jewelry.
Before the 5th century, the ring finger was the index finger. Later, it was believed that the third finger contained the "vein of love" that led directly to the heart.
Shoes On Vehicle
Ancient Romans transferred to the Groom his authority over his Bride when her Father gave the Groom her shoes. In later years, guests threw their own shoes at the newlyweds to signify this transfer of authority. This tradition is kept alive today by tying old shoes to the back of the newlywed's vehicle before they leave their wedding reception.
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
This tradition originated in Europe to ward off evil spirits. Something Old: Symbolized the sense of continuity while making the transition from a single person to that of a married couple. Something New: Symbolized that marriage represented a transition to adulthood. Something Borrowed: Symbolized the belief that by borrowing something from a happily married couple, good fortune would follow the newlyweds. Something Blue: In ancient Israel, blue was the border color of the Bride's dress symbolizing purity, constancy and fidelity.
Roman Empire soldiers would feast with the Groom the night before his wedding to say goodbye to his bachelorhood and to renew their friendships.
Thinking newlyweds brought good luck guests showered them with nuts and grains to insure a bountiful harvest and many children. During years of a poor harvest, rice was tossed instead.
Until President Teddy Roosevelt popularized the tuxedo, the Groom simply wore his best on his wedding day.
Tying The Knot
In the days of the Roman empire, the Bride wore a girdle that was tied in knots. The Groom untied the knots prior to the consummation of their marriage.
During the Roman Empire, wedding cakes were baked of wheat or barley. At the reception, they were broken over the head of the new Bride by the Groom as a symbol of her fertility. Guests would then scramble for pieces of the cake to take home for good luck. Later it became a tradition to place many small cakes on top of each other as high as possible. The newlyweds would then try to kiss over the top of the cakes without knocking them down. During the reign of King Charles II of England, a baker added icing, and today's style of wedding cake was created.
The first recorded wedding rings date back to when early man tied plaited circlets around the Bride's wrists and ankles to keep her spirit from running away. Egyptians coined the phrase "without beginning, without end" to describe the meaning of the wedding ring. The Romans used iron, but gold is now used as a symbol of all that is pure. Italians first used diamonds. They believed that it was created from the flames of love
In France, bread would be placed at the bottom of two drinking glasses. The Bride and Groom would then drink as fast as they could to be the first to get to the toast. The winner would rule their household.
White Wedding Dress
It was made popular to wear a white wedding dress in the 1840's by Queen Victoria. Before this, Brides simply wore their best dress.
After her clan's castle falls under siege, the fair-haired Lady Jillian MacRae finds a way to escape with her four-year-old brother, seeking help from the handsome Kade MacLachlan, laird and master of Ravenskull Castle. Four years past their love had been strong—until her father betrothed her to another man who was later killed. Now, it is Kade she turns to for help in regaining control of her own castle from the wicked man who has taken over and intends to marry her. Once she is again face-to-face with Kade, she realizes the love she thought she'd put aside is alive and thriving.
Kade is speechless when the beautiful Jillian offers herself to him in exchange for protecting her young brother and banishing the intruders from her castle—an offer he is more than willing to accept. He has no intention of allowing her to slip through his fingers again. And when her life hangs in the balance, he will not let anything—or anyone—stop him from saving her, even as his own life dangles by a thread.