|Facts About Ancient
|Do you have the tradition in your wedding? Wearing white,
tossing the bouquet & garter, and even going on a honeymoon?
Well, listed below are the roots in ancient wedding beliefs. If
you ever wanted to know the whys behind the ancient wedding
beliefs, here's your chance to learn. Below are 14 Fun facts
about the ancient wedding beliefs. Just click on the one you
want or scroll to the one you want.
Early Roman brides carried bunches of herbs, most often rosemary, to symbolize fidelity,
fertility, and scare off evil spirits. The Greeks carried ivy, symbolizing endless love. The
Victorians were fascinated with the meanings of different blooms, and they popularized the
wedding rose, which represented true love.
|SOMETHING OLD NEW BORROWED BLUE
The tradition of the bride wearing something old (for continuity), new (optimism for the future),
borrowed (borrowed happiness), and blue (fidelity, good fortune, and love) on her wedding day
stems from an Old English rhyme.
Medieval newlyweds would spend a month alone together, enjoying mead, a fermented honey
drink (honey is an ancient symbol of life, health, and fertility) until the moon waned, hence the
term honeymoon. Unfortunately, today's honeymooners rarely get a month off after the
The ancient Romans chose white as their color of celebration over 2,000 years ago. And as
hard as it is to believe, it wasn't always worn for weddings. It wasn't until the Victorian era
when Queen Victoria wore white when she married her beloved Prince Albert that white
wedding dresses became all the rage. In those days, white meant purity and virginity, but
today it is again the color of joy and celebration which means that any bride can wear it,
whether it's her first wedding or her fifth.
|NOT SEEING EACH OTHER PRE-CEREMONY
In the early days of arranged marriages, the bride and groom often never saw each other at
*all* before the wedding. Even after couples were already acquainted before they married, it
was still considered bad luck for the groom to glimpse the bride pre-ceremony; she would not
be pure and new. Neither was the bride supposed to see *herself*, it was believed that if she
saw her reflection she would leave some of herself behind in the mirror. (Brides today
probably wouldn't take too well to not being able to preen before the wedding!) These days,
many couples still uphold the tradition of not-seeing-each-other. Others throw caution to the
wind and spend time alone together to calm their nerves or enjoy the excitement together.
Brides originally wore veils to stave off evil spirits. The veil was often red (for defiance
against evil), or yellow (for Hymen, the god of marriage). Martha Washington's daughter is
said to have been the first bride to wear white lace, covering her head with a long lace scarf
for her ceremony. Her fiancé had previously commented on her beauty as she stood behind a
lace window curtain, and she went with it -- as have millions of other brides.
The groom traditionally lifts the bride over the threshold of their new home (or
wedding-night hotel room) so that evil spirits lurking in the floorboards won't be able to get
to her! Roman brides would let themselves be dragged over the threshold to demonstrate
their reluctance to leave their father's home.
|BRIDE TO THE GROOM'S LEFT
In the days of marriage by capture, the groom had to constantly defend himself against
rival suitors even when the couple was already at the altar, set to say their vows!
Therefore, the groom needed his right hand (his sword hand) free to fight. The bride stood
at his left, safe from any random sword swoosh!
In ancient Rome a kiss sealed a contract, so your smooch at the altar is, in a way, legally
binding. The belief we like better (it's so much more romantic): When a couple kiss, part
of their soul is exchanged.
|THE WEDDING PARTY (ATTENDANTS)
Long ago, getting married was even tougher than it is today -- the groom had to literally
steal the bride from her family and dash her off to the altar. This was the process even if
the families (and more importantly, the bride) agreed to the marriage. Initially only the
groom had attendants their job was to defend him against anyone who might try to steal
his bride. In later years, the bride chose female escorts -the bridesmaids- who would
protect her and her dowry against suitors and robbers while she was on her way to meet
her groom. In some places, notably rural English villages, the bride and her attendants
still walk to the ceremony together. Depending on how far from your site you live, you can
do it, too.
The circular shape of your wedding ring symbolizes never-ending love. Gold represents
enduring beauty, purity, and strength, all appropriate marriage entitlements. Why do we
wear the ring on the third finger of the left hand? The ancient Egyptians believed that the
vein in that finger ran directly to the heart. As for that big rock of an engagement ring,
we have the king of Germany to thank for that. In 1477 he offered his beloved a diamond
as a betrothal gift -- the first recorded diamond engagement ring.
The Romans would break a bun over the bride's head - the wheat promised fertility. In
the 17th century, a French baker decided to frost a stack of buns -creating the world's
first tiered wedding cake!
|ATTENDANTS DRESSED IDENTICALLY
Keeping evil spirits away from the couple on their wedding day is a recurring theme in
wedding tradition. If your attendants complain about having to wear the exact same
thing, tell them this: The bridesmaids used to wear the exact same outfit as the *bride*
so that evil spirits would be confused as to just who the actual couple was.
|The bride originally tossed her bouquet to a friend as she left the festivities to keep that
person safe (the warding off evil spirits thing) and to offer her luck since getting lucky in
those days meant getting married. This came to mean that the single woman who caught
the bouquet would marry next. (If you're not thrilled with the implications of this custom,
feel free to give your bouquet to your sister or an engaged friend or relative privately,
or forego it altogether!) The origins of the garter toss are humorous - guests would
literally rip off pieces of the bride's gown for luck, so to defend herself she began to
throw her garter to them! These days, the groom removes it from her leg (as innocently
as possible, we're sure) and tosses it to his bachelor pals.