Wedding Traditions and Their Origins
Wedding traditions come in all forms from the flowers and dresses to the type of dance wedo at the reception. Have you ever wondered where these traditions came from or what they mean? There are many different stories of some of the general wedding tradition themes andalthough we may not ever find the true origins of some, here is a little history behind a few ofour weddings traditions.
Bridal & Wedding
The word “bridal” was established by the brew that the groom and bride would drink, which was commonly referred as the bride’s ale; which over time turned into bridal. The word “wedding”meant the purchase of the bride for mating purposes. “Wedd” meant the groom would marry thewoman, but also included the money that the soon-to-be husband would pay the father of the bride.
To Tie the Knot
The phrase “to tie the knot” came from a time when brides always wore girdles, which had been tied into knots in the back, thus causing grooms into figuring out how to untie them on their wedding night. This must have been both exciting and frustrating, since back then almosteveryone did not have pre-marital sex.
Bride & Bridesmaid
The word bride was a name that meant for “cook” and was Old English in origin. In the beginning, the bride and the bridesmaids would all wear identical clothing, in order to try andfool the evil spirits that might cause problems for the new couple. The groom and groomsmen all dressed alike as well. Roman law required that there be 10 witnesses, so that the bridesmaids andushers would also be able to fool the bad spirits that they thought would cause a lot of mischief.
It was thought that the bride would wear a veil so that the groom would not be able to see his bride until after they were married. Since most marriages were arranged, they did not want thegroom to see her, change his mind and then run off after the family had already exchanged adowry. Another meaning dates back to when a man would see a woman he wanted, he wouldthrow a blanket over her head and carry her off.
The Ring Finger
Before the fifth century, the ring was worn on the index finger. Later it got changed to the third finger because the vein in that finger was thought to lead directly to the heart, therefore calledthe “vein of love.”
Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue
In Europe, the bride would incorporate something from each of these groups as a way of warding off evil spirits. Individually, something “old” was meant to keep a sense of continuity from a person who was unmarried to that of one that was married. Something “new” symbolized that bygetting married, the couple was entering in to their adulthood. Brides would “borrow” something from a couple who where happily married in hopes that it would rub off on their marriage.The something “blue” came from Israel, where the border of the brides dress was blue which symbolized faithfulness and purity.
The Wedding Rings
It is believed that the first wedding rings were originally circlets, which were plaited and tied around the woman’s ankles and wrists, and was meant to keep her spirit from running away. The rings in early Egypt where made of hemp, and after wearing out, would need to be redone. The Egyptians also described the importance of the wedding ring by saying “without end and withoutbeginning.”
The Romans used iron for their rings, but now gold is used a symbol of what is pure. Diamonds were then added as the Italians believed that the diamond was created by the flames of love. In the beginning there was only one ring that sealed the engagement until Pope Innocent III said that there had to be a waiting period before they got married. That same ring was used during theceremony in the 13th century.
The Tuxedo and The White Dress
Originally, the groom would have worn what he wore to church and the bride would wear herbest owned dress. This all changed when American President Teddy Roosevelt made the modern tuxedo popular, as many believed. In England, it was Queen Victoria that got married in white,instead of the royal silver, and that became the color and dress of choice. A white bridal dress notonly represents virginity, but it was also believed to ward off evil spirits.