History and customs
There are many traditions from centuries ago that people still hold onto today. Some have changed over time, and others have taken on different variations.
The Wedding Party. The tradition of asking the brides closest girlfriends to be their bridesmaids dates back to ancient times. Maids would typically dress in fashion similar to the bride to confuse evil spirits who were trying to kidnap her. Today, bridesmaids are chosen for their loyalty and supportiveness to the bride and the fashion tends to compliment the brideÃ¯Â¿Â½s wedding theme, and the bride herself.
Just as there is history behind bridesmaids, there is also a history behind choosing a best man. Many centuries ago, grooms would have to kidnap their prospective brides from disapproving families. The groom would choose a friend to bring along (his best man) to help him fight for the woman. While fighting, the groom would hold the woman with his left hand, and fight with the sword in his right hand.. This could possibly be why the bride stands to the left of the alter, and the groom stands to the right.
The Rings. Why is it worn on the third finger of the left hand? Romans believed that the vein in the third finger ran directly to the heart and joined the coupleÃ¯Â¿Â½s hearts and destiny.
Flowers. Flowers were brought into weddings to represent purity, fertility, new life and never-ending love. The groom wears a flower that appears in the bridal bouquet that signifies his declaration of love. Bouquets traditionally consisted of flowers and herbs. It was believed that strong smelling herbs such as garlic would help ward off evil spirits and bad luck. Some bouquets also contained dill. It was believed that dill promoted desire. After the ceremony, the dill would be eaten for that purpose. Tossing of the bouquet comes from an English tradition where women would attempt to tear pieces of the brideÃ¯Â¿Â½s dress and flowers to possibly obtain some of her good fortune. To escape from the women, the bride would toss her bouquet into the crowd and run away. It is believed today, that the woman that catches the bouquet, will be the next to marry!
The wedding cake. The wedding cake was originally a cake baked with barley or wheat. The cake would be smashed over the brideÃ¯Â¿Â½s head at the reception, as a symbol of good luck and fertility. Today, some brides and grooms smash cake into each otherÃ¯Â¿Â½s face, but more often for a good laugh, instead of good luck!