One of my girlfriends has the honor of being a bridesmaid and just today went bridesmaid dress shopping. Her experience fortunately was a successful and rather peaceful one but it made me realize how wedding season is quickly approaching. This got me thinking about weddings in general and where all traditions associated with them come from, I did some digging and found the origins to some of wedding traditions. I stuck mostly to fashion related ones as this is a fashion and beauty blog :P.
Today bridesmaid dresses are a source of drama and huge frustrations, I worked in bridal store for a short time and saw first hand what it can cause. Though wanting to be their for their friend most bridesmaids still want to stand out from the rest and be beautiful in their own way but that’s not how it always was. Earliest tradition had the bridesmaid dressing exactly the same as the bride! (a thought that would horrify most modern brides) The purpose behind this was to trick and confuse troublesome spirits that wished to harm the bride by setting up look a likes. By Victorian times this custom had given away some and while bridesmaids still wore white they wore shorter veils to contrast the brides voluminous veil and train. Eventually society’s fears of evil spirits subsided and commercial dyes became available and the new tradition of ensuring the bride will be the best-looking by placing the bridesmaid in dresses of hideous colors arose. Just a word of warning to any future bride whose thinking of humiliating your bridesmaid by dressing them in terribly colored and styled dresses, some day the tables will turn and you might be the one having to wear the tacky bridesmaid dress. Remember girls these are your friends so be kind to one an other!
Throwing the Garter
This tradition, believe it or not was created as a means to protect the bride, that’s right protect her. From what you might ask? Why her own guest! In medieval France it was believed that the bride was especially lucky on her wedding day that guest would actually rush the bride at the altar to snag a piece of her dress which was considered a piece of good luck. The whole experience would leave the bride sobbing in the tatters of her remaining dress. Some where down the line someone came to the realization that “Hey maybe the bride doesn’t want to spend her wedding day being attacked by her guest” and to please the mob the tradition of tossing out the garter was created. These days we’re not so crazy as to believe the garter is good luck, just that it will “predict” who will be the next to marry but at least we’re no longer attacking the poor bride for it…just each other.
Like the bridesmaid dress this tradition goes back to ancient times and was started due to the belief of spirits. Brides were thought to be vulnerable to enchantment and were hidden away under the veil from evil spirits, Romans even veiled their brides in flame colored veils to actually scare off the spirits. The veil was also an important part of arranged marriages, grooms weren’t allowed to see the bride till the wedding day. To ensure the groom won’t take of before the ceremony is complete if he is doesn’t like what he sees, the bride wears the veil till the last moment and then it’s surprise! The veil saves everyone some embarrassment in the short-term. But leave it to the Victorian’s to really amp it up, they turned it into a status symbol. The weight, length and quality of the veil was a sign of the brides status with royal brides wearing the longest veil and train. Today it’s simply a finishing touch, an add-on for the bridal store lol.
Wedding and Engagement Ring
This tradition is actually open to debate with a lot of theories as to where it started. Some believe it’s a less restrictive symbol of the hands and feet binding of a captured bride, this refers to a time where single women were scare and men would abduct single women from neighboring villages to marry. (That is also where the tradition of grooms men comes from as well) It’s also believed that a pope in the 12th century decreed that weddings would be held in church and that brides were to receive rings, he also decreed that the time between engagement and marriage be lengthened which then boosted interest in the engagement ring. As this is all rumored to have taken place in the 12th century a period of time where no one bothered to question the rulings of the pope, I guess it kind of makes sense as to why no one bothered to ask why?
There you have it! The origins to some wedding traditions discovered, there are clearly several other traditions that go along side a wedding and I really recommend you look them up because they are fascinating. Like the fact that groomsmen original purpose was to help the groom abduct the bride and then fight off her family should them come to rescue her! Who would have thought! I hope you found it as interesting to read as I did researching it.
Congratulations to anyone with impending nuptials along the way, I wish you nothing but a life time of love, happiness and joy! And that none of your spirited or living guest attack you on your big day, HA! 😛