Monday, 3 July 2017

Ever wondered why the bride wears a veil...?

The British love their traditions, and this is no more apparent than during a wedding. It would seem that many of the little details that make up your special day actually have an historic reason and are rituals that have spanned centuries. Here are a few traditions, some you may not even be aware of.

Your father ‘giving you away’
This significant part of your day stems back to the Ancient Romans where arranged marriages were the norm, and fathers literally handed their daughters over to their new husbands. Usually a dowry was given as exchange for the bride. These days, it is still seen as a symbolic and highly emotive part of the ceremony.

Wearing a veil
While many people believe that wearing a veil was seen to ward off evil spirits (and this is a correct assumption), there is actually another far more controversial explanation. It is thought that a veil was worn to cover the bride’s face so her groom could not be ‘put off’ by her potentially unfortunate looks and refuse to marry her. It does beg the question as to why the groom didn’t have to wear a veil too!!

Where to stand
The groom traditionally stands to the right of the bride so that he can draw his sword at a moment’s notice to defend his love. Thankfully, this rarely happens in the 21st Century!

Throwing confetti over the bride & groom is a fun part of the wedding day and can make for brilliant photos, but it was originally thought to encourage fertility and prosperity. Top tip: make sure the confetti throwing happens before you serve the bubbly, as you may find yourself covered in champagne!

The threshold
There are two reasons to explain the tradition of carrying the bride over the threshold. The first is that the groom is protecting his love from any evil spirits which may be lurking in the house. The second, and rather more sinister story, is that the bride was occasionally reluctant to leave her family home, and so had to be dragged over the threshold into her new abode! Thankfully today it is just for fun!

These days, your bridesmaids are your best friends and family members who help you prepare for your special day.  However, in the Roman times the bride would have up to 10 ladies, all dressed identically to her, and they would act as a decoy to any evil spirits who wanted to harm the bride. They were also seen as extra protection in case anyone tried to kidnap her!


Nowadays, a bouquet is simply a beautiful bunch of flowers which decorate the bride and can be a lovely keepsake. However, centuries ago brides would carry aromatic bunches of herbs, spices and garlic to ward off evil spirits. Each herb had a different significance, for example, sage stood for wisdom. Flowers then replaced herbs, but they continued to have a significant meaning: Ivy stood for fertility, lilies for purity and orange blossom for happiness. It is also thought that the beautiful smells from the flowers disguised the potentially unsanitary odours coming from the bride!


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