Wedding Traditions Explained
Meaning of "Wedding"
"Wedding" literally meant the purchase of a bride
for breeding purposes. The word wedding comes from the root
meaning to "gamble" or "wager". The Anglo-Saxon
word "wedd" meant that the groom would vow to marry
the woman, but it also meant the money or barter that the
groom paid the bride's father. This is believed why it is
still customary for the father-of-the-bride to "give
away" his daughter.
Meaning of "Bridal"
Term "Bridal" came from
the "brew". The bride and groom would drink, and
was referred to as "bryd ealu" or "bride's
ale," which evolved into "bridal".
Meaning of "White" Color
in Bride's dress
Color "White" was denoted
as purity and virginity, which was thought to ward off evil
spirits, for centuries. But in Ancient Rome, yellow was the
socially accepted color for a bride's wedding attire, and
a veil of flame-hued yellow. The veil or "flammeum"
covered the face. There are two women noted to have made the
white wedding gown popular; Anne of Brittany in 1499 and Queen
Victoria, who broke the tradition of royals by marrying in
silver. By the late eighteenth century, white had become the
standard wedding color. Before the introduction of the white
wedding gown a woman just wore her best dress.
Meaning of "Wedding Veil"
Related to the days when the groom
would throw a blanket over the head of the woman of choice
when he captured and carted her off.
Veil is also related to the arranged marriages when the bride's
face was covered until the groom was committed to the bride
at the ceremony, so it would be too late for him to escape
if he did not like the looks of his bride.It is also related
to protect the bride from evil spirits that would be floating
around on her wedding day.
A woman's face covered by a veil meant that she was spoken
for. Unmarried women wore veils throughout life as a sign
of modesty and by married women as a sign of ubmissiveness
to heir husbands.
Among Greeks and Romans by the 4th century BC, sheer translucent
veils were the vogue at weddings.
Meaning of "Bouquet" &
Throwing It Away
Anything worn by the bride was and
is considered good luck. The bouquet was considered a sign
of happiness. Another reason to throw the bouquet into the
crowd by bride is to distract the crowd so that she could
Meaning of "Bridal Flowers"
Carrying flowers by the bride has
its roots in ancient times. Strong smelling herbs and spices
were thought to ward off and drive away evil spirits, bad
luck and ill health. Garlic and chives were popular for the
During Roman times, this tradition was extended, with the
bride and groom wearing floral garlands signifying new life
and hope for fertility.
The bouquet symbolized a woman in bloom. During Victorian
times, flowers took an additional significance, as lovers
would send messages to each other using different flowers,
with each flower having its own meaning. These associations
were soon adopted for the bride's bouquets and are still used
today by many brides.
The groom is supposed to wear a flower that appears in the
Bridal Bouquet in his buttonhole. This stems from the medieval
tradition of a Knight wearing his lady's colors, as a declaration
of his love.
Meaning of "The Attendants"
The tradition of bridesmaids evolved
from the custom of surrounding the Bride with other richly
dressed women, in order to confuse the evil spirits.
The first marriages were by capture. The best man would help
the groom fight off other men who wanted the chosen woman,
and prevent her family from finding them. The "best warrior"
would stand for the groom, thus the "best man".
Meaning of "Bride on the Left"
The origin of the bride standing
on the left goes back to the days when the groom would capture
his bride by kidnapping her. If the groom had to fight off
other suitors, the groom would hold his bride-to-be with his
left hand allowing his right hand to be free to use his sword.
Meaning of "Kissing the Bride"
The Wedding Kiss that seals the wedding
is much more than a sign of affection. It has long been a
token of bonding and the exchange of spirits as each partner
sends a part of their self into the new spouse's soul, there
to abide ever after.
Meaning of "Wedding Ring"
A wedding band is a symbol of marriage.
This potent symbol of unity sends an unmistakable message
about our marital status.
The oldest recorded exchange of wedding rings comes from ancient
Egypt, about 4800 years ago. In early Egypt, the ring was
linked with the supernatural, a never-ending band linked with
eternal love. For the Romans later, the ring's acceptance
by a young lady was a binding, legal agreement and the girl
was no longer free. Today we accept the ring as part of a
religious ceremony when we marry in church.
As time passes traditions change and, today, it is not only
the brides who wear rings as a symbol of their lasting affection,
but the majority of men also choose to wear this badge of
fidelity and commitment.
Most people wear the wedding band in the third finger of the
left hand. Both the ancient Romans and Egyptians believed
that a vein - called the vena amoris in Latin - ran directly
from that finger to the heart.
Meaning of "Carrying The Bride
Over The Threshold"
several thoughts are found on this
- To protect the bride from evil spirits
that were thought to be lying in wait under the threshold.
- During Roman times it was believed
that if the bride stumbled when entering the newlywed's
home for the first time, it would bring bad luck and harm
to their marriage. Carrying the bride across the threshold
was thought to prevent this from happening.Tradition dictates
the new wife must enter her home by the main door and, to
avoid bad luck, she must never trip or fall--hence the custom
that a bride should be carried over the threshold.
- One belief of carrying the bride over
the threshold stems from the same belief that aroused the
idea of the runway carpet and strewing the aisle with flowers
and petals. It was an ancient belief that the newly married
couple was very susceptible to evil spirits. A protective
layer between the bride and the ground were provided by
carrying her, and thus protecting her from the "ground
Reason For Having "Honeymoon"
After the successful "capture"
of the bride, was "the hiding" (Honeymoon), and
by the time the bride's family would find them, the bride
would already be pregnant.
The word honey is from "meala" in Irish. The word
for honeymoon is "mi na meala", the "month
of honey" and refers to how the bride and groom would
spend that period of time.
Irish monks first produced the fermented honey brew called
mead for mead for medicinal purposes; then found it could
make well people feel even better. Following the wedding a
sufficient amount of mead was given to the bride and groom,
along with special goblets, so they could share the unique
brew for one full moon after the wedding--and thus the term
honeymoon was coined. It was believed that this delicate yet
potent drink was the best way to ensure a good beginning for
a new marriage and it was also believe to endow powers of
virility and fertility.