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  • Wedding Traditions

    Wedding Traditions & Decorations™

    Did you ever wonder how some of the traditional rituals associated with weddings and marriage had their beginnings? Some are based on romantic myth, some are based on religion, some on a time when marriage by capture was the mode of the day, and some of course, on rather odd superstitions. Delve back far enough and deep enough, and you find some interesting, although somewhat strange, historical twistings and turnings on the path to matrimony.

    Throwing the Bridal Bouquet and the Bride's Garter

    On the bridal night in olden days guests would invade the bridal chamber, seize stockings and throw them backwards over their heads toward the bride and groom. The first female guest to hit the groom would be the next one to marry within a year, and the same applied for the first male to score with the bride's stocking. In retrospect, tossing the bouquet and the garter certainly seems a much more civilized idea!

    Sharing the Wedding Cake

    When the bride cuts the first slice of cake and offers it to her groom, she is carrying out an early Roman ritual. In Ancient Rome, couples plighted their troth by sharing food. Indeed, sharing food as a symbol of sharing one's life is practiced in many cultures.

    Why Bridesmaids Are Dressed Alike

    In more superstitious times, the bride and groom were surrounded by friends of similar ages dressed in similar attire, as a way of confusing evil demons. This way the demons could not find the real bride and groom and bring them bad luck. Today's bridesmaids dress alike, as do the groomsmen, as it's a way of confusing any who would wish the couple ill luck.

    Wedding Bells and Honking Horns

    Loud, honking horns escorting a newly married couple in a motorcade of friends and family may seem to be only high spirits and boisterous public congratulations. True, but its roots go deeper still. Older traditions were clanging bells and shooting guns, both methods of frightening away evil spirits.

    Why is it a Honeymoon?

    An old Teutonic custom held that the bride and groom ran away together, found a secluded place and spent thirty days, "until the moon waned," drinking hydromel. Hydromel was a fermented drink made with honey.

    With this Ring . . .

    Rings have been with us since time began, but how they became so intimately linked to engagement and marriage is another facet of man's social history. Before the minting of coins as currency, gold rings were circulated for that purpose. When a man gave his bride a gold ring, it signified that he trusted her with his property. During Elizabethan times, the gimmal, a set of interlocking rings, was quite popular. One ring of the set would be worn by the intended bride, another by the groom-to-be, and a third by a witness. All three rings would be united on the bride's finger at the marriage ceremony. Today the diamond solitaire, symbolic of wealth and undying love, is the popular choice for American engagements.

    The Bride Wears Something Blue

    Part of the old litany, "something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue," which prescribes the talismans a bride should wear on her wedding day, was quite specific about the color blue. Wearing a snippet of blue ribbon, or some other bit of blue about her gown, denotes purity, fidelity and love. It was also the color associated with the Virgin Mary.


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