Did you know that a popular wedding tradition is based off of… kidnapping? Weird, I know. There are so many traditions- The white dress, a wedding cake, the bouquet and garter toss… the list goes on and on. Have you ever wondered when or why these traditions began? I did some research and put together some interesting wedding facts that explain some of the most common wedding traditions and rituals.
Why that finger for the engagement ring?
- The Ring Finger is the 4th finger on the left hand because people used to believe that that finger had a vein that led directly to the heart.
- Queen Victoria started the trend for white weddings when she commissioned a white lace gown for her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. Before that, brides just wore their best dresses on their wedding days.
Matching Bridesmaid Dresses/Groomsmen Outfits
- Are your bridesmaids putting up a fuss about their dresses? Tell them it’s to protect you! Matching bridesmaid and groomsmen date back to the Roman times. It was believed that evil spirits were attempting to curse the bride and groom. Therefore the wedding party dressed alike to confuse evil spirits who might target the bride and groom.
Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties
- The “stag” or bachelor party originated in Sparta in the fifth century, as his buddies (aka- groomsmen) toasted him and feasted on the night before his wedding. It was not until the 1960’s that women began to throw their own version of pre-wedding festivities: the bachelorette party.
The Term “Best Man”
- The term Best Man comes from the Scotsmen who kidnapped their future brides. This usually happened after the bachelor party. They guy who excelled at the abduction was acclaimed the “Best Man”. (I’ve gotta say… I am glad this tradition is no longer taken literally :) )
Wedding Processional: Men on the right, Women on the left
- Ever wonder why we line up men on the right and woman on the left when walking down the aisle? The kidnapped bride stood to the groom’s left, so that his right hand (his sword hand) was free to fight off rival suitors.
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
- The bride was often accompanied by a child—think today’s flower girls and ring bearers—meant to symbolize a fruitful union. Flower petals tossed in the bride’s pathway were representative of the way to a beautiful future.
“You May Now Kiss The…”
- The first kiss as a married couple stems back to ancient Rome, when kissing was considered an acceptable way to seal legal contracts.
- Ancient Roman wedding ceremonies were finalized by breaking a cake of wheat or barley over the bride’s head as a symbol of good fortune and fertility. The newly married couple then ate a few crumbs and afterwards, the wedding guests gathered up the crumbs as tokens of good luck.
Bouquet and Garter Toss
- Guests in ancient times would tear off part of the bride’s gown as tokens of good luck, leading to the tradition of the bride throwing both her garter and her bouquet.
The Term “Tying the Knot”
- Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings literally tied the bride and grooms hands together to symbolize the unbreakable bond.
There are many more interesting and bizarre explanations to other wedding rituals. It’s quite entertaining to say the least!