Here are some wedding facts about tying the knot as it evolved with varying practices and beliefs across time & cultures.
It’s interesting to take a look at some surprising origins, practices, and beliefs from which the wedding ceremony has evolved to what as we know it today. Looking at a few of these, there may be some things you might pick up as an inspiration for interesting details to include in your wedding. For most of them, it’ll make you thankful to be getting married in this day and age.
Bru & Guma
The terms bride & groom have a curious origin. These are quite telling of the kind of lifestyle married couples have or are expected to have in the days of old. The term “bride” originated from the Old English word “bru” which means to cook. The term “groom”, on the other hand, has its roots from the word “guma”, which in Old English refers to a young servant boy who takes care of horses. This is the same origin for the verb “groom” meaning to take care or train something to be better. I guess the adage that ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’ has been around as long, since taking a husband means one should cook. Apparently, taking care of the wife is not as simple since it’s associated with taking care of such a majestic creature, a horse!
Brides on the Left
There’s a reason why brides have come to stay on the left side of the groom during the ceremony. This originated from the medieval times in Christian ceremonies when it was important that the groom would be able to easily reach for his sword with his right hand in case someone suddenly rides up and steal his bride during the wedding.
The Veil & Gown
Before the white wedding dress was in vogue, the wedding veil was a main necessity as far as the bridal outfit is concerned. Its original purpose was to protect the bride from evil spirits according to Greeks & Romans. In other cultures, it served as a method of shielding the bride’s face from her future husband especially in arranged marriages, lest they change their mind before the wedding. This must be where the superstition saying it’s bad luck for the couple to see each other before the wedding was based on. Of course, the fact is applicable for arranged marriages, but with how superstitions are, it just evolved into something applied to weddings in general. Superstition or not, choosing not seeing each other before the wedding day adds a bit of excitement and happy anticipation for the big day.
As time went by and weddings were more focused on the religious ceremony the meaning of the veil evolved as well. It came to symbolize modesty & obedience. It’s also seen as a symbol of reverence for women to cover their heads. Then as white dresses were worn to symbolize chastity, so goes for the veil as well.
Protect the bride at all costs
The olden days stress heavily on this during the ceremony as shown by some of these interesting details.
The reason why Bridesmaids wear similar dresses is in order to serve as decoys for the bride against evil spirits or other suitors that might attempt to take her. Back then, I guess bridesmaids would think twice or thrice before agreeing to be part of the entourage.
The Best Man also carried more than just being the honored keeper of the rings. It’s been said that if the groom doesn’t turn up to the wedding, it’s the best man’s responsibility to take over and marry the bride! Hmmm, not sure if some best men would be hesitant or happy to take on that responsibility. In other ancient societies, men would often take a bride through kidnapping and it’s the best man’s job to assist the groom in grabbing the girl then guarding the place of their first union so as not to be disturbed by the girl’s family coming to retrieve her. We should only be so happy we are not part of that kind of society.
Walking down the aisle with daddy also proved to be more than just a sentimental, honoring act. There used to be a time where brides wore brightly colored fabrics and obscured by a veil in order to ward away or disguise the bride from evil spirits. Since the veil would make it difficult for the bride to see where she’s going the father of the bride would walk along with her to “give her away”.
Of herbs, flowers & bells
With such fear of evil spirits roaming around during ancient times, instead of carrying flowers in the bridal bouquet, women would carry aromatic bunches of garlic, herbs & grains as they walked down the aisle. Eventually, these were replaced with flowers since these symbolize fertility & everlasting love.
In Irish weddings, bells are traditionally chimed to keep evil spirits away and to ensure a harmonious family life. This is why some Irish brides would carry small bells in their bouquets as a reminder of their sacred wedding vows, and they are a common gift for newlyweds.
Shoes for the Newlyweds
Then there’s this Tudor custom, which mandates that wedding guests throw shoes at the newlyweds for good luck. Ouch! Don’t see the luck there. I guess that’s why some would just opt to tie shoes at the back of their getaway car instead.
Interesting how weddings evolved, huh? The best part is for us to appreciate how nowadays, we prepare for marriage not with items & practices to ward off evil spirits on the wedding day but by working on our relationship and planning for wedded life. And make our wedding day a happy, amazing, beautiful day with the details and people we want in it to celebrate our commitment to love.