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The Bizarre Origins Of 10 Wedding Traditions

Of the zillions of things that make weddings so grand, it is the traditions, practices, and rituals that make them so much more interesting. Can you imagine having fun at a wedding if there were no exchanging of vows or wedding rings? Or if there were no pretty bridesmaids or the bride wouldn’t be wearing the bridal gown? A wedding wouldn’t really feel complete without all of these now, would it?

wedding ceremony1

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Suggested read: Weird wedding dresses that left us scratching our heads!

We have all accepted these customs and wedding traditions as social norms and dictums without questioning them. But if you dig up their roots, you would find that most of the ones that prevail today have the weirdest and shocking origins. They not only illustrate how superstitious our ancestors were, but also how little things have changed. We present a list of the most amusing and intriguing origins of wedding traditions that we practice today.

1. Bachelor parties

bachelor party


Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Even bachelor parties, held in the modern day with such reckless extravagance, have a history of their own. In those days, bachelor parties were held by the soldiers of Sparta. These parties were rather flamboyant in nature and were referred to as fetes that were a preparatory step for the groom to bid farewell to his former single life.

2. Wedding ceremonies

wedding picture

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

In all Christian wedding ceremonies, one of the most common sights is the bride standing at the left of the groom. Seems like a trivial detail, but it might interest you to know the history behind it. Apparently, the groom used to stand on the right hand side because he needed to be constantly on his guard in case he would have to get rid of a suitor who would dare steal his blushing bride before the vows have been said. Talk about having to be ever ready!

3. The father of the bride walking her down the aisle


Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

We look up to the father and the bride walking down the aisle with so much respect and adoration in our eyes, but perhaps not if you know the mesmerizing truth behind the tradition. Today we look at it as the act of the father handing over his daughter to the bridegroom and his family, letting her start a life and family of her own. But back in those days, this transference was purely that of business and nothing else. The walk was an official symbol of the father transferring the ownership of his daughter to her spouse-to-be. Talk about wedding traditions that utterly devastate all our fantastic notions!

4. The ring finger

engagement ring

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We choose the fourth finger when we place the wedding ring on our future spouse’s finger, thanks to the ancient Greeks and the Romans. They chose the fourth finger as they believed that there is a vein in that finger that connects directly to the heart. Cute, ain’t it?

5. Grooms carrying their brides

wedding picture

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Why does the groom carry his bride in his arms when crossing the threshold of their home? Why need he make a display of his strength in such an odd manner? If it is a gesture of affection, couldn’t it be saved for some time later, for a more private moment?

It may seem ridiculous, but it was once believed that in a wedding there were many evil spirits that lurked about in the threshold. Hence, to protect the newlywed bride from the harm that such spirits could cause, the groom would carry her in his arms over the threshold. Thus the practice still continues, although I guess the intervention of wicked spirits is hardly something that the bride needs protecting from any more.

Suggested read: Take a look at the most interesting wedding traditions from around the world

6. The queen’s gown

wedding dress

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The wedding gown could have been of any color the bride would choose to wear. But yet again there’s a reason why wedding dresses are pure white. No, it does not symbolize peace or tranquility or anything of that sort. Quite the contrary, it was a regal affair that led to this wedding tradition. In her wedding in 1840 to Prince Albert, Queen Elizabeth wore a white wedding gown that was loved by one and all. Following this, all brides of the Western world started wearing white gowns for their weddings. Indeed, before the Queen, brides preferred to wear the best dress that they possessed, one that would usually be colorful.

7. Bridesmaids’ dresses

summer wedding

Image source: Flickr

Bridesmaids are indeed a sight to behold on wedding days, with their matching dresses and golden smiles. In the times of the Romans, it was firmly believed that if the bridesmaids would wear the same color, then they would bring extreme good luck to the marriage. Moreover, the similarity in the color of the bridesmaids’ dresses was meant to befuddle the already dumb but very evil spirits, warding them off.

8. The best man

groomsmen's attire

Image source: Pinterest

Today the best man is generally the best friend of the groom. He knows the groom the best, can give the best toast to his best buddy, and will be fondly remembered when relatives go through wedding pictures in the future. That however, was not what the best man implied in the past.

Back in the good old days of swordsmanship and knights and valor, it was strength, gall, and courage that determined who the bridegroom’s best man could be. Basically, a person’s sword skills determined whether he was worthy of the title. With the rise in the number of brides that run away in modern weddings, perhaps we should go back to choosing the ‘best man’ based on their fighting skills, agility, and stuff like that! What say?

9. The wedding cake

wedding cake ideas

Image source: Pinterest

Today, the wedding cake is an integral element of wedding festivities – something that comes in various flavors and makes us drool just at its sight. Well, it wasn’t always this way. You see, in the ancient Greek and Roman weddings, various guests would come together and break little pieces of a loaf of bread. Then they would scatter the little pieces on the bride’s head, firmly believing that doing so brings her fertility. Now, we don’t know whether wedding cakes have the same effect, but nowadays weddings are absolutely incomplete without the cake.

10. The ‘honeymoon’

couple on their honeymoon

 Image source: Shutterstock

The most delightful thing about a wedding is what comes after – the honeymoon. Ever wondered, though, how this phase even got such a ridiculously amusing name? It is said that there was a Nordic tradition where couples would hide somewhere after all the ceremonies. A certain important family member would visit them, bearing a cup of honey wine with them for 30 continuous days until one entire moon cycle was completed. Talk about a dampener!

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Wedding traditions have weird histories of their own, and we just need to be thankful that in the modern day, it is only the traditions that remain, not the superstitions associated with them. But rest assured, the next time you are in a wedding or you are getting married yourself, you will be able to impress everyone with all these interesting facts about the institution’s origins.

Feautred image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

Article Name
The Bizarre Origins Of 10 Wedding Traditions
While we may not even question the relevance of a particular wedding tradition, most wedding traditions have bizarre origins. Did you know about these?
Remy Northren

Remy Northren

I believe writing is all about insisting upon the right words. It is about remembering that less is more. I write to express my thoughts about all that I observe around me, for I'm the type that prefers writing to speaking. I enjoy reading, music and being with kids. New languages intrigue me just as much as cooking and writing does. I enjoy writing about a plethora of subjects, but most of all I love writing on love, relationships, and lifestyle issues.