This last weekend I flew to Orange County, California to watch my brother graduate from Chapman College. I can’t read a real book on an airplane because I can’t concentrate that long and it makes me “air sick” so I usually devour magazines on the flight.
I read about 6 magazines. Some bridal but some just “stuff” like fashion and gossip. In my Allure magazine I found an article with facts about wedding traditions throughout the years.
Some interesting things I learned were that the first time Roman law required a groom to provide a ring to the bride-to-be (4th century. Thanks Roman Church) and the first white wedding dress was worn by Queen Victoria. Apparently it took 200 people to weave the lace for her gown. Also, gift registries didn’t become popular in the United States until the 1930’s.
All of this got me curious about the origins of other wedding traditions. I decided to nose around online to see what I could find.
On one site I found this under wedding traditions and folklore.
“According to various sources, some of the early marriages were literally carried out by the Groom and his “Bridesmen” (or “Bridesknights”) who would kidnap a woman (the origin of “carrying a Bride over the threshold”) from another tribe! The Groom and his fellow conspirators would then fight off the female’s family of tribesmen with swords held in their right hand while the Groom would hold the captured Bride in his left hand, which is the origin of why a Bride stands on the left side of the Groom at a wedding. “
Yikes! As much as he loves me I can’t picture Shawn sword fighting my dad and grandpa to marry me. I think we will forgo the swords at our wedding.
That same site also said that “during the days of the Roman Empire, wedding cakes were traditionally broken over the head of the new Bride by the Groom as a symbol of her fertility. “
Yikes again! I guess I will be looking out for that one. Cakes can be heavy and I picture something like me getting slammed in the head with a cake and crumpling to the ground in a heap of ivory.
Other interesting facts I learned while doing this wedding research are:
- Prior to the 5th century, the ring finger was actually the index finger. Later, it was believed that the third finger contained the “vein of love” that led directly to the heart so that is why they started putting the ring there.
- After a successful capture (as referenced above), another politically correct practice was for the Groom to hide his new Bride for one month for mating purposes. It is said that the word “honeymoon” was created to describe this one month cycle of the moon when they would drink mead, which was a honey sweetened alcoholic brew that affects both sobriety and the acidity of the womb, thus increasing fertility. (So, um, Shawn is planning on getting me wasted, hiding me in a basement for a month and ………….for our honeymoon? Suspicious that we are getting married the year he finally gets his one-month sabbatical from REI.)
- In Germany, during the wedding ceremony, the Groom may kneel on the hem of the Bride’s dress to symbolize his control over her. Not to be outdone, the Bride may step on the Groom’s foot when she rises to symbolize her power over him! (I am beginning to feel like this wedding thing is getting a little aggressive – I picture the bride stomping on his foot with her stiletto heel. Maybe it’s me.)
So these facts are pretty weird and scary. It’s giving me the heeby-jeebies. Ha, ha. I don’t think I can handle any more facts right now…….