1. Your Bridesmaids
While your bridesmaids are there for moral support and helping you get in and out of your dress, they used to have a far more serious role in a wedding. A Bride used to have her bridesmaids dress in similar fashion to confuse and distract evil spirits or those who wished to harm her.
When the fear of evil spirits subsided and commercial dyes became more available, unflattering dress colors (think lime green and orange) became popular. Having the bridesmaids dressed in unflattering colored dresses ensured that the bride would be the most attractive woman in the church. When your best friend insists that you wear that bubblegum pink taffeta dress just smile and nod!
2. Wearing a Wedding Veil
The bridal veil has several origins. One is the idea she is vulnerable to enchantment and must be veiled to hide from evil spirits. Another is that the Bride and Groom would likely meet for the first time at the altar on their wedding day. The veil was used to obscure the bride’s features, with the veil only being lifted after the marriage ceremony. As marriage was a way of sealing agreements between families and increasing assets, this ensured that the groom couldn’t back out from the deal if he was unsatisfied with the bride’s appearance.
During Victorian times the weight, length and quality of the veil was a sign of the bride’s status. Royal brides had the longest veils and the longest trains. We completely support your decision to wear that cathedral veil you have you heart set on!
3. The Groom’s Best Man
It was common for towns or villages to have a shortage of women, so a man looking to marry enlisted the aid of his best friend to go on a bride-napping field trip. Sadly the poor unsuspecting bride-to-be any courting during the process and was simply taken.
The captive bride’s family understandably frowned upon this “courtship” and would go to great lengths to reclaim her. The Best Man stood next to the groom at the wedding to keeps the bride from being stolen back by loved ones. The best man honored the groom by putting his own life on the line to make sure no re-stealing of the stolen bride occurred. While we can’t get behind this one we can definitely appreciate the commitment!
4. Tossing the Garter
The origin of the garter toss at weddings derives from a 14th century tradition in France. The bride and groom had to show proof of consummating the marriage after the wedding night. Friends and family of the couple would stay in the room and obtain the wedding garter as ‘proof’ of the consummation.
In later years, it was thought that owning a piece of the bride’s attire would bring good luck. This lead to wedding guests practically attacking the bride to rip off a piece of her gown. While being rushed to the altar with guests stampeding behind her, the bride would toss the garter to the mob to prevent being trampled. And we think weddings today are stressful?!
5. Groom on the Right, Bride on the Left
No, it’s not because it’s his or hers better side in photos! Back in the day, it used to be a lot more common for guests to object to the wedding. The groom historically stood to the right of the bride to keep his sword hand free to defend his bride should an enemy try to steal her away at the last minute.
If any man or attacker made it past the groomsmen at the altar, the groom would hold his bride with his left hand, while using his sword or weapon with his right hand against any oncoming attackers. Well we love a little chivalry, this is crossing the line!