Where Do Wedding Traditions Come From?
As a professional Bridal makeup artist in Central NJ, I deal with Brides planning their weddings on a daily basis so I thought it would be fun to explore where many of the wedding traditions originated and see how today's Brides are putting their own spin on things. What will you do differently? What traditions do you love and which ones have you decided to by-pass altogether? Feel free to share your comments and share your ideas!
June weddings were inspired over 2000 years ago thanks to the Roman goddess Juno, wife of Jupiter and the goddess of marriage and childbirth. The movie “June Bride” (1948) also helped to make June one of the most popular wedding months for many years - though today I book Brides for wedding makeup every month of the year and find the fall as popular as the spring.
The “I do’s”. This phrase has no romantic origins whatsoever. When daughters were treated like property and traded as part of a business deal, the question was asked of the father - who gives this bride away, and the "I do" was his reply.
Wedding Ring. Many ancient cultures (Egyptian, Roman) believe the circle of the ring symbolizes eternity and that by wearing it, the newlyweds are bound together. Forever.
White Wedding Dress. The trend was started by Queen Victoria. The dress was once a symbol of luck, so guests would literally tear off a piece. This practice evolved into the garter and bouquet being given away instead (I'm sure brides everywhere are happy about this - though there is a new trend of "Trash the Dress" that also destroys the wedding dress but is captured in beautiful photographs)
Wed or Wedding. The origin of the word has luckily has greatly deviated from its origins. “Wedding” literally meant the purchase of a Bride for breeding purposes. Weddings back then were purely a business arrangement between two families and the Bride was considered property.
Betrothed. In the past, Brides had no say who they could marry. Some were even "promised" while in the womb. Infant and child “weddings” were also practiced to secure the power and wealth of each family. This tradition still exists in some cultures today.
The Bride. In many ancient cultures (and in a few today), a woman is considered a property to be given away by her father to his chosen mate. Brides were either captured or bought and looked at as breeding material.
The Groom and Best Man. In ancient times, most marriages were arranged, so the groom wasn’t always the Bride’s first choice. The man she favored would often swear to carry her off before, during, or after the wedding. To avoid this, the groom stood on the Bride’s right to keep his sword arm free and would enlist a warrior companion to fight off a rival should one show up. This companion was, in fact, what we today call the “best man”. He was a skilled fighter and the Best Man to protect the couple. The Best Man would also stand guard outside the honeymoon room while the marriage was consummated. (How Awkward!!)
The Bridesmaid. Today, the dress of the bridesmaid is entirely different from that of the Bride, so the Bride can easily stand out. But in the past they were all dressed just like the bride to create confusion to the captors/kidnappers/suitors in hopes they would grab the wrong "Bride." Traditionally, bridesmaids were chosen from unwed young women of marrying age.
Weddings did not have romantic beginnings; however, today they are a celebration of love, commitment, and family rather than an arranged business deal. Brides today are changing tradition and putting their own personal twist on their wedding, as it should be! Share this article if you've enjoyed it!