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Wedding Resources | Wedding Traditions Explained

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 escape.

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 same reason.
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 tradition:

  • 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 monster".

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.


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