Where do our wedding traditions come from?
Have you ever wondered where our wedding traditions originate from. Why does the bride carry flowers? Why do we have bridesmaids or a best man?
As with most things we don’t even give these things a second thought. Well for a bit of fun I thought I would share a few fun facts. Enjoy.
The most important flowers of the day is the bridal bouquet. But have you ever wondered why she carries flowers?
In Ancient Rome, brides carried or wore flower garlands, believing that flowers signify new beginnings, fidelity and hope of fertility.
In the Middle Ages brides carried clusters of strong-smelling herbs and spices to ward off evil spirits, bad luck, ill health and importantly help mask the smell of body odour.
While it’s not totally clear, i did read that the honeymoon was born out of necessity, back when kidnapping the bride was a thing. Apparently it was possible that the bride's family would attempt to retrieve her from her groom or that another suitor would try to take her. The husband would hide out for about a month to avoid the kidnapping.
I love it when the bride enters the ceremony room and her partner takes the ‘first look’
Apparantly in the days of arranged marriages, it was believed that if the bride and groom had the opportunity to see each other before the wedding, they would have enough time to cancel the nuptials if they didn’t like what they saw.
Why do we exchange wedding rings?
Roman’s believed that the vein in fourth finger ran directly to the heart. They called that vein the "vena amoris" or vein of love. .
The bride’s ring was also meant to symbolize ownership. Rings were often given to the fathers of brides as payment or collateral in ancient Roman, Greek, and Jewish cultures.
Why do we have bridesmaids?
Ancient Roman law required 10 witnesses to be present at a wedding, which is considered a precursor to the bridal party tradition. Bridesmaids and groomsmen dressed like the bride and groom to confuse evil spirits or real-life jealous suitors/exes who might try to harm the newlyweds.
What about the gorgeous flower girls?
The bride was often accompanied by a child like today’s flower girls. These symbolized a fruitful wedding. Flower petals tossed in the bride’s pathway were representative of the way to a beautiful future.
What about something borrowed, something blue?
It derives from the Old English rhyme, "Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe". This names the four good-luck objects with added sixpence to bring prosperity.
Why the best man?
This is possibly my favourite . Men would sometimes steal or kidnap a bride for themselves, particularly if her family did not approve of them. The best man was originally chosen for his strength and fighting prowess to help the groom fight anyone who opposed the bride being kidnapped. And then the best man would stand next to the groom during the marriage so the bride wouldn’t run away during the ceremony.
I hope you have enjoyed learning something new today. How many of these did you know?
Images by Tim White Images
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi! I'm Anne-Marie, Petal Power is me. I run my event floristry business out of Creigiau, Cardiff.
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