Thursday, August 4, 2011


With all the wedding stuff going on it's no surprise that some kind of wedding activity is on my mind. Whether it be my own wedding things or a different couple's wedding stuff. Anyways, I started thinking about some of the wedding traditions and where they came from. I think it started with the little fun fact about the ring being worn on the left ring finger because it was believed to have the only vein in the fingers connected to the heart. Come to find out it's not true, but I think it's fun to pretend it is :) So where did all the other wedding traditions come from? I can tell you my friends, as I have researched! Some of the stuff was pretty interesting, some of it..not so much. Here was the good stuff:

The Engagement Ring
The tradition started with the belief that I quoted above. The vein was call the "vena amoris" or the "vein of love".  The idea of engagement was started in 1215 when the Pope believed there should still be some more time between betrothal & marriage. Back then the rings were made out of a strip of gold, silver, or iron. Gemstones weren't part of the game unless you were an aristocrat, it then worked it's way down to the middle class. Even then the diamond wasn't incorporated yet. It's believed that the rings gems should have the birthstones of the bride and her parents, on the left. Then the groom and his parents, on the right. It would be mothers on the outside, fathers next, & then the bride and groom. Seems expensive. The first diamond ring was given by Arch Duke Maximilian to Mary of Burgundy in 1477. However, De Beers is credited with popularizing the diamond engagement ring with their "A Diamond is Forever" campaign.
What I imagine old engagement rings were like in 1215, only not as shiny & nice.
A Diamond is Forever campaign from De Beers. I'm sold...just saying
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Something old - this piece symbolizes longevity and symbolizes perpetuity and longevity. Pretty good hopes for a marriage if I do say so myself
Kevin's family has a tradition of having a six pence in your shoe. This has it's whole other meaning but it will also be my something old. Been in the family since Kevin's grandma's wedding (I believe).
Something new - this piece symbolizes optimism, happiness, and a fresh start into the future. Self explanatory really. This would be my dress.

Something borrowed - this piece symbolizes your friends and family. In the sense of supporting and helping you in your relationship.  My mom is letting me borrow a necklace, and my great grandma's hanky.

Something blue  - this piece symbolizes purity, faithfulness, love and good luck. The color blue usually represents strength, steadfast, and stable. All good things for a marriage. Wearing this color is said to channel the power of the color to your future. 

I don't have my something blue yet, but I have a few option. The garter being one of them.
The Best Man and Bridesmaid
Back in the day, around 2 A.D. to be exact, it was normal for you to marry someone in your town or community. Makes sense for 2 A.D. When a town or community was small and the choices in a wife were not up to standard, the man (groom) would ride off to other towns and communities in search of a bride. They would find a woman and kidnap her. The best man's purpose was to fight off other suitors of the father of the bride so that his friend could successfully kidnap the bride. Uh, things have changed just a litttttlllle bit.
I think they needed more than a button back in the day, but now it seems to suffice.
Bridesmaids started around the same time and would help the bride prepare for the wedding. Their other major duty was to make sure that she got to the church in time. Seems to be a bit more work now, eh who cares, it's all for your friend/family.

The Honeymoon
I'm sticking this here because it goes hand in hand with the best man and bridesmaids. You are thinking, "What? How?" Here's how... Once the groom would capture his new bride he would leave with the bride and they would hide for a week. They were hiding from the bride's suitors and family. During this week they would try to get pregnant. When they got home after that week they would have to get married as the bride was knocked up. Ohhh, that's romantic!? Barbaric might be more accurate. Glad it's changed, it wasn't even after the wedding. Wonder when that switched?

Garter Toss 
It was said that it was good luck to have a piece of the bride's clothing, and it use to be tradition that guests would take a piece of the brides dress as the bride and groom were leaving. Over my dead body... Finally grooms and families got angry that others were ruining and pretty much taking all the brides clothes off. The garter toss started to keep the tradition alive of having a piece of the brides clothing and the groom tossing it was to ensure that other people wouldn't try to take it from the bride themselves. Now, it's tossed to all the single men as it's suppose to bring good luck for marriage in the future. 
Always fun to watch the garter toss :)
The Toast
A toast is a message of goodwill and taking a drink is yet another sign of good luck. It all started with the ancient Greeks who were paranoid and had a fear of poisoning. To accommodate this fear at larger events the host would pour the glasses of wine for his guests out of the same decanter and would take the first drink. This proved that the wine was not poisoned and acceptable to drink. How weird were they? The word toast itself came from toasted bread was dipped into the wine to reduce acidity and make it acceptable for drinking.

The Wedding Cake
Of course we can't have a wedding without a fertility symbol. Who would have thought that was cake. Ancient Romans use to make the cakes out of wheat or barley and break it over the bride's head as a sign of her fertility. It's not clear if that means actually breaking up the cake or just kind of giving her a bonk on the dome. Not sure it matters!? As time went on the tradition changed to stacking the cake as tall as possible and challenging the bride and groom to kiss over the tower without knocking it over. If they succeed a lifetime of good fortune was a definite. Finally, it became what it is today during the days of King Charles II of England. A palatable palace iced with sugar. That's more like it, who wants to get knocked over the head with a cake? 
Try kissing over top of these!
It's crazy how different things have evolved to mean something different, or really mean nothing at all.  This always makes me wonder how things will change by the time our grand kids get married. Will they look back like we do and think our traditions are a bit insane? Probably someday. As for now though I'm glad things have changed, not sure how I would feel about having to follow some of the things I have posted and did not post. I can tell you this girl would not be letting people take pieces of her dress no matter how lucky it was and I would not appreciate having cake broken over my head after the day of beautifying. It even seems like a lot of traditions are falling to the way side and people are doing whatever they want that really symbolizes them as a couple. Is either wrong? I don't think so. I do however tend to leave towards the traditional sides of things. Hope you enjoy the fun facts/history lesson! 

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