The home of UK weddings

09 June 2014

The Ceremony

Whilst every wedding ceremony must go through certain steps in order to legally complete the bond, modern couples are able to have much more of a say in their vows and the ceremony overall. Gone are the days when women were forced into agreeing to 'obey' their husband in order to tie the knot, with couples increasingly opting to write their own words. Weddings have moved on in many other ways too, as ceremonies in days of yore were full of superstition-based rituals. For example, the bridesmaids and bride all were obliged to wear similar dresses, so demons would not be able to tell them apart and at least 10 witnesses were required in order to outsmart jealous evil spirits. But even the most modern of couples will undoubtedly still be enjoying at least a few time-honoured traditions, even if they don't know exactly where their origins lie.

Symbolism

The vast majority of Jewish weddings still take place under a chuppah, even though the union would still be considered as complete in the absence of one. A chuppah is a long-standing tradition in the Jewish faith that involves the ceremony taking place under a piece of cloth held aloft by four poles. The chuppah has four open sides and is said to represent hospitality for guests, akin to that shown by Abraham and Sarah. However, a chuppah is also symbolic of several other things including the fact that a home is based on the family inside it, not material possessions, denoted by the lack of furniture under a chuppah. The groom must always enter the chuppah first as a sign that he is providing his bride with shelter, a public acknowledgement of his new responsibilities. However, it isn't just Jewish ceremonies that nod towards long-standing traditions and customs.

Fight Night

As the soon-to-be-wed couple stand together to take their vows, it is usual for the groom to stand on the right, with his bride on the left of him. This practice continues today but very few couples know the reason for the placement. In olden days, a groom would always keep his bride to his left, allowing his sword hand to be free with immediate access to his weapon so he could offer protection. The Best Man was also there for a similar reason. It was not unknown for the bride to have been kidnapped for the ceremony and the family would often appear to try to get her back. The Best Man was, therefore, considered a kind of medieval armed bodyguard for the groom.

The Romans Liked Their Wedding Customs!

Even the ring finger has its roots in tradition. The placing of the wedding ring dates back to Roman times when a special love vein, the vena amoris, was believed to run directly from the heart through this digit. By placing a ring on the finger, you were preventing the love flowing out the top of the fingertip. Finally, we come to the kiss at the end of the ceremony, a tradition which many couples still include. Whether you opt for a chaste peck or a full-blown smacker, by kissing your new spouse after taking your vows you are paying homage to an age-old tradition. In Roman times, a kiss was a legally binding covenant and by puckering up, both parties were indicating acceptance of the contract. A more romantic myth from ancient times is that souls were said to be exchanged when the kiss took place! But whatever kind of wedding you opt for and wherever you hold it, you can be sure that even the most modern of ceremonies will have remnants of long-forgotten traditions and myths included along the way.



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