No matter if it’s a local Wisconsin wedding or a wedding in middle-of-nowhere America, nuptials are full of traditions that have been around forever. From the bridal gown to the groomsmen, the basic pieces of modern weddings have a place deeply rooted in history. While many wedding traditions speak of love and commitment, some traditions have some very interesting origins.
1. The Bouquet
Those beautiful flowers carried by the bride and bridesmaids had a more metaphysical purpose in the early days. In Ancient Greece a bride would carry a bouquet of herbs and spices to ward off evil spirits that might want to curse her on her big day. Thankfully today the herbs and spices are used in the food and replaced by bunches of roses and lilies.
2. The White Dress
While a fancy white dress has become the standard for brides everywhere, in history brides usually wore distinct colors like red and blue to attract good fortune. The lacy white dress was introduced by Queen Victoria at her wedding. In the 1800’s, white was seen as a color representing wealth and privilege and Victoria chose a white dress. Soon the popularity of a white dress for the bride took over creating the tradition celebrated today.
3. The Bridesmaids and Best Man
More than just supportive friends, the purpose of these wedding helpers was a little more brutal. The bridesmaids, in ancient culture, dressed like the bride to confuse any evil spirits and individuals wishing the bride any harm. They also acted as a physical protection for the bride as she traveled to her groom’s village.
The best man’s original purpose was to literally capture the bride. In ancient cultures, to ensure that the marriage actually happened, the groom would choose his “best man” (as in most capable) to go and kidnap the bride from her family and bring her to him in order to circumvent any opposition. Thankfully, wedding traditions such as hand to hand combat and abduction has been replaced by loving friends ready to help celebrate the big day.
4. The Wedding Ring
In ancient Jewish, Roman and Greek cultures the wedding ring was only worn by the bride. The ring was used as collateral to pay the father of the bride and mark the bride as taken property. Thankfully, the modern-day wearing of rings by both bride and groom show that they belong to each other as equals.
Whatever wedding traditions you choose for your big day, make it uniquely your own.