Wedding Traditions of America

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Wedding Traditions of America Like many nations and cultures, wedding traditions in America has evolved. How these traditions came about or where they came from is always interesting when you realize some traditions started hundreds, or even thousands, of years ago, and now you find yourself doing the same thing as your ancestors may have done.

Wedding traditions may have come to America via other countries and cultures, but like everything else, Americans have reshaped and combined these traditions and made them their own. The things that we do or see in our wedding ceremonies and receptions are quite often based on some sort of symbolism. In many cases, thwarting evil spirits, religion and superstition play a role in how these rituals began.

Pre-Wedding Parties Pre-wedding parties often include a bridal shower, a bachelorette party and a bachelor party, which was once known as a “Stag” Party. – It is not known the actual beginnings of the bridal shower as two theories have been debated. One such idea was at one party, the friends of the bride put small gifts inside of a parasol and when it was opened, over the bride’s head, she was showered with the gifts. Another thought of origin was once a father of the bride refused his daughter a dowry. The bride’s friends then showered her with gifts, enough to help start the couple’s new home. – The Stag Party began back in the days of the Roman Empire. Soldiers would join the groom for a feast the evening before to say good-bye to the days of bachelorhood and renew their friendships. – Today, the bridal party still exists, but often the bachelor and bachelorette parties can be anything from something fun and innocent to sometimes wild and out of control. Ceremony Traditions – Today Wedding Flowers are generally used for enhancing the beauty of the ceremony and reception. However, in the past, the flowers represented different meanings world wide. At one time, herbs were carried beneath veils to represent fidelity. In Greece, ivy was carried as it symbolized never ending love. Going back even further, brides often wore stinking garlands made of spice and herbs. This was done to ward off evil spirits. – Giving away the Bride. Remember, it wasn’t long ago when women did not have the rights they have today. Therefore, often the father of the bride would give his daughter to a man for a financial exchange. In today’s society, the handing of the bride to the groom by the daughter’s father is seen as support and blessings from her family.

Reception Traditions – The Bouquet of Flowers came in to play in ancient times. A bride on her wedding day was considered lucky. Therefore, some guests would tear her dress so that they can have a piece to take home and bring them good luck. The tossing of the bouquet takes the place of losing bits of her dress as a good luck offering for one lucky woman to take home. Often tossed to single women, the receiver of the bouquet supposedly increases her chances of becoming a bride herself.

In the past, Throwing of Rice at the newlyweds meant the throwers would reap a bountiful harvest and plenty of children that could work the land. Newlyweds were thought to be a symbol of good luck on their wedding day. Today, you can find couples being showered with rice, seeds, confetti or even bubbles. – Besides the wedding cake, there often is a Groom’s Cake. The tradition of the groom’s cake was that young, unmarried women would take a slice home. They would then put the slice under their pillows. The thought was that they would marry the man that dreamed about. After the Ceremonies The wedding and reception is complete.

There are two events still awaiting the new couple; the honeymoon and after they return home. – Going back to the old days, quite often the bride was captured. The man would take her to an unknown place where she could not be found. Generally, the couple would stay in hiding for 30 days, as the moon went through a complete cycle. During that time, they would drink a honey induced brew, which often led bearing of the first child. That is believed where the word “honeymoon’ came from. – Upon returning home, most grooms would carry their new bride over the threshold. Once again this goes back to the day when the bride was captured. After the honeymoon, she fought not to go into his home, causing him to carry her over the threshold and into his place. Another thought behind the threshold was when the groom captured the girl; he would carry her over the threshold from her camp to freedom. He generally carried her in his left arm so that he could carry his sword in his right. To this day, while standing at alter, the bride stands on the left side of the groom.