WHY A WHITE WEDDING DRESS?
Did you know that Queen Victoria of England was the first woman to wear a white gown on her wedding day in 1840? And after that, a tradition was made: every bride had to wear a white dress. But if you go a bit technical, they are not really white. They are “Candlelight,” “Warm Ivory,” “Ecru” or “Frost.” However, there was a time when bride’s wedding dress was simply the best thing she owned in her closet. And that meant that her wedding dress could be any color: even black.
WHY A WEDDING VEIL?
You probably have heard stories how a long-long time ago people would have arranged marriages. When daughters were considered a commodity to their family, a marriage was a way of sealing arrangement between families and increasing assets. That meant that the bride and the groom would meet for the first time on their wedding day. The veil was supposed to be closed until the end of the marriage ceremony. This was done in order to keep the groom from backing out from the deal: you know, maybe he did not like what he saw.
And there is also another theory about the wedding veil. Some historians say that Ancient Romans were the first ones to include the veil into the wedding ceremony. They believed the bride might attract evil spirits and those spirits could be jealous of her happiness. Therefore, the veil was used to cover the bride’s face in order to protect her.
Moving on, the Victorians turned the veil into a status symbol. When archaic customs were formally incorporated into proper weddings, the weight, length, and quality of the veil were a sign of the bride’s status. Taking that into consideration, royal brides had the longest veils and the longest trains.
Moreover, in the modern day, the veil signifies the bride’s virtue. Or just a fabulous accessory: depends on how you look at it.
WHY THE BOUQUET?
As it seems, protecting themselves from the evil spirits was taken very seriously in the ancient history. Turns out, those pretty arrangements with flowers that we call bouquets were originally clutched bundles of garlic, dill, and other herbs. And as the time went by, the more fragrant addition of flowers was made. Each developed a different meaning. For example, lily is for purity, peony is for happiness and prosperity.
WHY SO MANY BRIDESMAIDS?
Funnily enough, the tradition of bridesmaids is a similar past rooted in superstition. Bride’s attendant dressed similarly to the bride to confuse and distract evil spirits who were trying to ruin the bride’s happiness. So, the earliest tradition in bridesmaid fashion was dressing them exactly the same as the bride.
WHY A BEST MAN?
The role of the best man was originated by the Germanic Goths. Bachelors at times had to kidnap eligible women from neighboring communities, and refresh the isolated bloodlines. The best man would act as the groom’s armed backup when stealing the bride-to-be. The armed best man would stay with the couple through the ceremony and stand to watch outside their chamber during the consummation of their vows to protect against the threat of the bride’s disapproving family.
On the other hand, the “best” in best man was referred to the quality of a man’s workmanship. You should know, that a long time ago, weddings were used as a business transaction and not a union of love. So the groom needed a good swordsman to help him.
Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue?
In ancient times, the something old represented the ties to the bride’s family and her past. So she needed it to keep a part of that life with her. The something new represented a life to come with her husband. The something borrowed was borrowed from someone who was in a happy marriage. That would pass on the “good luck.” And finally, the something blue stands for faithfulness, loyalty, and purity.
WHY DO YOU NEED A WEDDING CAKE?
In medieval times wedding cakes were made of wheat. It was a symbol of fertility and prosperity. Interestingly, the wedding cake would be thrown at the bride. As the cake in modern life is not made of wheat and is not shoved on the bride’s face, it is simply a multi-tiered extravaganza, which the guests will enjoy. And while some superstitious thoughts are gone, some are left. The wedding cakes today are still usually white: symbolizing purity.
And what about the part when the bride and the groom cut the cake together? It was meant to symbolize their first joint task in married life. And when they feed each other the cake it symbolized the commitment the bride and the groom are making.
WHY YOU THROWING RICE?
Do you know what does rain symbolize? It is a sign of prosperity, fertility and good fortune. So tossing rice at the end of the ceremony symbolizes rain. You should know that oats, grains, and dried corn were also used before rice rose to the top. And there was a time when a rumor came about birds eating the rice. When they would eat the rice it would expand their stomach and kill them. At that time, rice became very unpopular. However, it was untrue. So now rice is back on the table.
WHY TOSS THE GARTER?
The tradition came from England and France. The guests would try to get a piece of the bride’s dress for good luck. But that would keep the bride nervous and tense throughout the entire ceremony: you know how nerve-wracking anticipation can be. To calm the crowd and ease the bride’s mind the groom would toss out a piece of the bride’s wedding attire to distract the guests. And then the newlyweds would quickly escape from the reception.
Traditions are beautiful and need to be kept. Some have crazy reasons behind them. So are simply superstitious. But they make the modern wedding fun and beautiful.