Do you know the number one reason women say they change their name when they marry? Tradition or, “I’m/we’re traditional.” What does that mean exactly? If you go by the Merriam-Webster definition, tradition is an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior.
Is ‘being traditional’ a good reason to carry on something that your parents and their parents before them have done? Maybe. Sometimes. But, if a tradition no longer fits, isn’t it okay to break it or change it?
Check out the origin of these wedding traditions. Aren’t you glad we’ve evolved past their origin? Maybe it’s time to create something new.
Do you know the origin of these popular wedding traditions? Take this quiz. The answers are below the questions.
The history and the tradition of showering newlyweds at a wedding with rice, seed, and grains predate Christianity. The Celts, mighty warriors, were also an agronomist culture who tossed rice, millet, and other grains to appease spirits and ask for blessing and fertility for the couple.
In the Middle Ages, bouquets were packed with pungent herbs. Garlic, spices, and dill were classic choices meant to fend off evil spirits and bad luck that might plague the bride and wedding guests. The overpowering scents also helped mask the bride’s body odor back when baths were not a daily (even monthly) occurrence.
Toasting at weddings dates as far back as the sixth Century B.C. When there was a gathering, the Greeks would pour the wine from a common pitcher. The host (the bride’s father) would drink from his glass first to prove to his guests that there was no poison placed into the wine. In these tense times, the Greeks would spike the drinks of their enemies to ensure silence and even use it to prevent a messy divorce.
Back when marriages were arranged, the bride and groom weren’t allowed to see or meet each other at all until they were at the altar. Parents of the bride feared that, if the couple met each other before marrying, the groom wouldn’t find the bride attractive and would decide to call off the wedding. They were so careful, in fact, that part of the reason why the bride wore a veil down the aisle was to prevent the groom from knowing what she looked like until the very last second – when it’s too late to back out.
Back in the olden days, the father of the bride was obligated to cover the expenses of the wedding in exchange for the groom taking over the responsibility of his daughter. This practice came from the ancient concept of the wedding dowry, in which the family of the bride would essentially pay the husband-to-be a sum of money as a sort of thanks for being willing to marry their daughter and pay for her expenses.
Roman women wore rings of ivory, flint, bone, copper and iron to signify a business contract or to affirm mutual love and obedience. It wasn’t until 1850 that the engagement ring was given an official meaning. Pope Nicholas the first declared that the engagement ring represented a man’s intent to marry a woman and gold was the most popular material for betrothal rings at the time. The diamond engagement rings didn’t become popular until 1947 when De Beers jewelry launched an advertising campaign with the slogan, “A diamond is forever.”
Back in olden times, newly-married couples were expected to consummate their union pretty much immediately after the wedding. And family members and friends would wait outside of their room to make sure that this happened. After the marriage was consummated, the groom would give the bride’s garter to the waiting crowd to prove that the deed was done.
Medieval Europeans used to believe that the soles of a new bride’s feet were extremely susceptible to letting evil spirits seep in or other malevolent powers that could destroy a marriage or the wife’s child-bearing ability so, out of sheer defensive necessity, the groom would obligingly scoop his new wife up into his arms when first entering their home.
According to English folklore, the “something borrowed” part was meant to enhance the bride’s fertility – meaning, she would wear undergarments belonging to another woman who had already been pregnant, in order to increase her own likelihood of childbearing.
Up until 1840, it was considered commonplace for a bride to wear any color dress she wanted for her wedding. But that all changed when Queen Victoria arrived for her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840, in her satin dress had a full floor-length skirt and was over 6 yards long.
The practice of a woman taking her husband’s last name is a remnant of a law that dates back to the 11th century called coverture. Under English common law, coverture asserted that once married, a woman’s identity was “covered” by her husband. From the moment of her marriage, a woman was known as a “feme covert” or covered woman; she and her husband essentially became one. With her identity basically erased under the law of coverture, women could not own property or enter into contracts on their own. Husbands had complete control over their wives, legally and financially. More alarmingly, the law limited a woman’s recourse in rape and domestic violence cases, and they had no legal rights over their children.
Peace, Love, and Choices!