The bouquet; the tiered cake; the wearing of wedding rings on the fourth finger of the left hand: Have you ever taken a moment to consider the genesis of all these wedding traditions?
Probably not because you are busy planning your wedding. But since we are interested in wedding history, we took the time to dig around and we found 40 interesting traditions, superstitions and facts about weddings from around the world.
Turns out it’s your “ring finger” for a reason. Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.
For good luck, Egyptian women pinch the bride on her wedding day.
Middle Eastern brides paint henna on their hands and feet to protect themselves from the evil eye.
Moroccan women take a milk bath to purify themselves before their wedding ceremony.
In the symbolic language of jewels, a sapphire in a wedding ring means marital happiness.
Seventeen tons of gold are made into wedding rings each year in the United States.
Ancient Greeks and Romans thought the veil protected the bride from evil spirits. Brides have worn veils ever since.
Most expensive wedding ever? The marriage of Sheik Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s son to Princess Salama in Dubai in May 1981. The price tag? $44 million.
The tradition of a wedding cake comes from ancient Rome, where revelers broke a loaf of bread over a bride’s head for fertility’s sake.
Queen Victoria’s wedding cake weighed a whopping 300 pounds.
Ever wondered where the phrase “tying the knot” came from? In many cultures around the world — including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings — the hands of a bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple’s commitment to each other and their new bond as a married couple (giving us the popular phrase “tying the knot”).
Men who kiss their wives in the morning are said to live five years longer than those who don’t.
Las Vegas is the top wedding destination with over 100,000 weddings a year, followed by Hawaii at 25,000 weddings a year.
Guests in ancient times would tear off part of the bride’s gown as tokens of good luck, leading to the tradition of the bride throwing both her garter and her bouquet.
Greek brides believed that tucking a lump of sugar into the wedding gown would bring sweetness throughout married life.
The tradition of a bride wearing “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” comes from an Old English rhyme. Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity.
Queen Victoria is credited with starting the Western world’s white wedding dress trend in 1840 — before then, brides simply wore their best dress.
The tradition of matching maids dates back to Roman times, when people believed evil spirits would attend the wedding in attempt to curse the bride and groom (how rude). Bridesmaids were required to dress exactly like the bride in order to confuse the spirits and bring luck to the marriage.
Honeymoons weren’t always so luxurious. Ancient Norse bridal couples went into hiding after the wedding, and a family member would bring them a cup of honey wine for 30 days — or one moon — which is how the term “honeymoon” originated.
Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve are the two busiest “marriage” days in Las Vegas — elopement central!
More than 40% of couples now plan their weddings together, and three out of four grooms help select items for their wedding gift registries.
In many cultures, the groom historically often kidnapped the bride, and the groom’s friends would help him, leading to the modern-day groomsmen. At the alter, the groom always stood on the bride’s right side so his right hand—or his sword hand—would be free to fight/defend a jealous rival.
In English tradition, Wednesday is considered the “best day” to marry, although Monday is for wealth and Tuesday is for health.
Saturday is the unluckiest wedding day, according to English folklore. Funny—it’s the most popular day of the week to marry!
In Holland, a pine tree is planted outside the newlyweds’ home as a symbol of fertility and luck.
A Swedish bride puts a silver coin from her father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe to ensure that she’ll never do without.
A Finnish bride traditionally went door-to-door collecting gifts in a pillowcase, accompanied by an older married man who represented long marriage.
A pearl engagement ring is said to be bad luck because its shape echoes that of a tear.
In Denmark, brides and grooms traditionally cross-dressed to confuse evil spirits.
Brides carry or wear “something old” on their wedding day to symbolize continuity with the past.
The “something blue” in a bridal ensemble symbolizes purity, fidelity and love.
In Egypt, the bride’s family traditionally does all the cooking for a week after the wedding, so the couple can relax.
In South Africa, the parents of both bride and groom traditionally carried fire from their hearths to light a new fire in the newlyweds’ hearth.
The custom of tiered cakes emerged from a game where the bride and groom attempted to kiss over an ever-higher cake without knocking it over.
An old wives’ tale: If the younger of two sisters marries first, the older sister must dance barefoot at the wedding or risk never landing a husband.
The bride stands to the groom’s left during a Christian ceremony, because in bygone days the groom needed his right hand free to fight off other suitors.
On average, 7,000 couples marry each day in the United States.
The Catholic tradition of “posting the banns” to announce a marriage originated as a way to ensure the bride and groom were not related.
Flower girls traditionally threw flower petals in the bride’s path to lead her to a sweet, plentiful future.
Before the 1500s, couples in Europe were free to marry themselves. It wasn’t until 1564, when the Council of Trent declared marriage was a sacrament, that weddings became the province of priests and churches.
Which tradition, superstition or fact do you find interesting? Do you know of any other tradition? Share your thoughts below.