10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Weddings
It is not unusual for upper-crust families to pay a hundred thousand dollars or more for a wedding. However, most couples are spending between $18,000 and $30,000 for their nuptials and the surrounding events. With this concentration on money and budget, a lot of people don’t think about the traditions that they use. Few brides wonder why they are wearing the traditional white dress or where the custom of keeping a wedding cake layer came from.
Here are 10 facts you probably didn’t know about weddings.
1. A Nice Day For A “White Wedding”
Wedding gowns were not always white. In times past, a woman would simply wear her best dress, no matter what color or style it happened to be. It was Queen Victoria who made it fashionable to wear a white wedding dress when she wore a pale gown trimmed with orange blossoms to her wedding to Prince Albert.
2. “Groomsmen”: Cover Me I’m Getting Married!
The best man’s original purpose was to provide the groom with armed backup, typically being the groom’s ‘best man’ with weaponry. This was just in case a suitor who felt jilted decided to attack the groom during the ceremony.
3. “Bridesmaids’ Gowns” To Fend Off Evil Spirits
Bridesmaids’ dresses were not intended to inflict pain on the wedding party, though this seems to be their current purpose. They are something of a holdover from ancient Rome. In ancient Roman times, several of a wedding’s witnesses would dress in clothing to match the bride and groom in hopes to confuse any evil spirits that might try to derail the wedding.
4. “Being Given Away”
While not the most pleasant history – from the aspect of a woman, at least – the tradition of the bride’s father walking her down the aisle and handing her over to the groom stems from the fact that women used to be viewed as property. Being given away symbolized the transfer of property, from the bride’s belonging to her father to belonging to the husband.
5. “Behind the Veil”
Another tradition that originally came from ancient Rome, the wedding veil originated as a flammeum – a piece of fabric dyed in flame colors. A Roman woman would wear this around her head and shoulder on her wedding day to ward off evil spirits. Later, it began to denote purity and modesty when worn over the bride’s face.
6. “Bouquet and Garter Throwing”
Hundreds of years ago, it was common to consummate the marriage right away in a nearby room with witnesses present. Not so romantic. Even less romantic, these witnesses often scrambled for pieces of the bride’s wedding attire as it was removed. As rules of modesty became common, the bride would throw her bouquet as a ‘diversion’ to get away with her gown intact. The groom later tossed a piece of his wife’s undergarments out of the room as proof that she was disrobing.
7. “The Wedding Cake”
Once upon a time, bread would be broken over the head of the bride, showering her with its crumbs and promoting fertility. When cake emerged as a widespread food, it became traditional to pass crumbs of it through the bride’s wedding ring and into the hands of guests. This evolved into handing out slices of cake – but not for eating. These valuable pieces of cake were placed beneath the pillows of single women who hoped that it would induce a dream of a future husband.
8. “Freezing the Cake’s Top Layer”
This odd tradition began with thrift. A cake too large for the wedding guests would be baked and the uneaten portion would be saved to eat at their first child’s christening. It takes an average of three months to conceive and nine months to finish the baking of the bun – this turns out around the first anniversary, which is still the traditional time to eat the top layer of a wedding cake.
9. “The Kiss”
In ancient Rome – yep, again! – a kiss was a legally binding way to seal a contract. The wedding kiss originated as a contract between the bride and groom, just as any other contract was bound. Later, when a couple married in the Church of England, the bride had to kiss the minister first, before kissing the groom.
10. “June Brides”
More couples marry in June than any other time of the year. As one more little piece of wedding tradition inherited from the ancient Romans, June was the traditional time for marriages because the month was named after the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno. This has persisted mainly because June weather is usually the fairest of the year for most places.