Why do we have bridesmaids at weddings? Furthermore, what is the origin of the other wedding traditions like the best man, cutting the cake, and throwing the bouquet? This blog post will attempt to shed some light on the origin of some of the most common wedding traditions, which, if you think about it, are quite odd.
Bridesmaids are a throwback to Roman days when the bride would travel to meet the groom for her wedding. To help keep her safe during the journey, a cadre of similarly-dressed women would walk with her to protect her and also make it difficult for ex-boyfriends to know who in the group was the bride.
The Wedding Cake
We’ve all seen it, and many of us have cringed at it: the moment when the bride and groom shove cake into each other’s faces. Sadly, this is a gross misinterpretation of the original meaning of the tradition. Originally, the groom would take some cake and crumble a bit of it over the bride’s head for good luck.
The Best Man
The purpose of the best man is quite simple: to keep the bride from running away! Yes, it’s true. Apparently, runaway brides were quite the problem centuries ago. Because the best man was intended to apprehend a runaway bride, the best man was chosen because of his strength, not because of his friendship with the groom.
The White Wedding Dress
Obviously, white is known as the color that represents purity, and therefore was often the traditional color for virgin brides. Yet, this tradition isn’t all that old. It’s origins only go back to the mid 1800s when Queen Victoria opted for a white dress. Prior to that, a very common color for wedding dresses was red!
The Wedding Bouquet
The tradition of the wedding bouquet goes back to ancient times when the Greeks carried herbs and spices to keep evil spirits at bay. Today, that tradition has evolved to carrying a bouquet of flowers instead of a bouquet of herbs full of the strong aromas of Lavender, Melaleuca, Thyme, and probably more.
Throwing the Bouquet and the Garter
Back in the day, it was quite common for the groom and bride to consummate their marriage right after the wedding ceremony instead of going on honeymoon. Often, the wedding guests would follow the couple to the bedroom where the groom and bride would throw the bouquet and garter out of the bedroom so everyone outside knew the deed was about to commence!
Just like the bouquet was to protect the bride from evil spirit, the veil was also intended to provide protection from evil. Some say it was also a way to show a form of modesty.