On average, 7,000 weddings are held each day. Each wedding comes with its own unique traditions held in place by the Bride and Groom and vary depending on region. However, sometimes these traditions are so ingrained into wedding culture that it is featured someway or another in every wedding. So, here are some fun facts behind the most popular of wedding traditions….
First recorded in Egypt in 2,800 B.C.E, wedding bands have long been a symbol of love and unity. With neither a start nor end, it symbolizes eternal love. In 1477 C.E. Maximilian I of Austria was presumably the 1st to give a diamond engagement ring when he gifted it to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy. Today, nearly 70% of all Brides sport their sparkling ring on the fourth finger of their left hand which is thought to have a vein that leads directly to the heart (this has since been debunked in modern times).
Often thought as a sign of “purity,” the tradition actually started in 1840 with Queen Victoria. She launched the white wedding dress into the item it is today with her marriage to Prince Albert. Decorated with handcrafted English lace and worn with orange blossoms, it marked a pivotal point in the the wedding industry with young brides seeking to emulate the young Queen. Before then, women simply wore their best dress. However, Queen Victoria made sure to have this tradition reign by making her daughters, daughter-in-laws, and granddaughters continue to cement the tradition.
Originally used in Ancient Greece and Rome, veils were worn to protect brides from evil spirits and the “evil eye.” As time moved on, it also helped a lot in arranged marriages to hide who she was and to *obscure* her appearance if she was lacking.
The phrase “tying the knot” quite literally comes from the ceremony in which Celtic, Hindu, and many other cultures tie the hands of the bride and groom together to demonstrate the couple’s commitment to each other and their new bond.
The Wedding Kiss
In centuries past, it was customary for the priest to give a holy “kiss of peace” to the groom who would then pass it onto the bride. This was done to bless the marriage in the church, thankfully nowadays the officiant no longer carries this duty.
Another tradition with ties to superstitions, the bride’s attendants dressed similar to her in order to confuse and distract evil spirits trying to spoil the bride’s day.
The best man was chosen because he was the strongest and best fighter. Back in the day, he was needed to the Groom in order to fight off any potential enemies or rival attackers during the ceremony. He was also around to catch the bride in case she tried to pull a runner…
This tradition has its origins in medieval times where, instead, women carried bunches of garlic, herbs (such as Rosemary), and spices to ward off any evil spirits as well as to prevent the plague and other diseases.
In Scandinavian culture, for a month after they were married, newlyweds would depart somewhere private and sip on honey wine brought to them by family members.
There are a lot of traditions that surround the wedding cake. Originating from an ancient tradition, the Groom would break a loaf of bread over the bride’s head. Thankfully, nowadays, we can just eat the cake, but not before it is cut! The cutting of the cake is meant to symbolize as the first task performed by the bride and groom as a married couple. When that is all said and done, most couples choose to save the top tier of the cake. This actually started out as a frugal tradition. Back in older times, brides were expected to pregnant with their first child by the 1st anniversary. Saving the top of the cake, meant it could be re-used for the child’s christening.
Originating from early England and France, at the end of the day, guest would try to tear a piece of the bride’s dress off for good luck. This often left the bride tense and her dress torn to shreds. To ease the crowd, the bride started throwing her flowers with the groom tossing a piece of her wedding attire.
Another tradition rooted in Ancient Roman times, the newly married couple would be showered with wheat to symbolize fertility.
The custom of carrying a bride over the threshold of their new home finds its roots in Medieval Europe with the belief that a bride was vulnerable to evil spirits through her feet. The groom would carry her into the new home to prevent any evil spirits lingering at the threshold from entering.
And for a bit of extra fun, here are some of the most expensive wedding gifts ever recorded.
1659: Queen Luisa of Portugal gives King Charles II of England the cities of Tangiers and Bombay.
1908: The Star of the East, a 95-carat diamond necklace set with a 64-carat emerald and 8.5-carat pearl, is given to Evelyn Walsh McLean, the daughter of a mining tycoon. In today’s money, the gift cost just over 3.5 million dollars.
1981: A stadium worth 100 million is erected by the Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai for his son’s marriage.