“Swept her off her feet” - without so much as a ransom note!

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As I research more and more about the traditions of the wedding ceremony, I grow concerned that this ritual has actually evolved from a collection of absurd events and histories around the world. Come with me as I explore further.

Traditionally, the bride stands to the left side of the groom. Why? By now we know that these things do not happen by chance, of course there must be a reason for it!

Among the Northern European “barbarians” (a name given to them by the Romans), a groom placed his captured bride (there’s that word again!) to his left to protect her, as he kept his right hand free to use for defence, close to his sword of course.

The theme of abduction continues when we contemplate being “swept off her feet” which refers to the symbolic act of carrying the bride across the threshold of her now home. {While we are on that subject just make a note, brides, that if you trip and fall as you enter your new home, you will have bad luck, like – forever!)

Even the beautiful honeymoon can be related back to the “captured” scenario. It is believed that back in the day, the Groom thought he could use it as a cooling off period for her family. It was his hope that when he and his new missus returned from the local beach or desert retreat, all would be forgiven and perhaps she hadn’t been missed too much anyway!

A different, and much more enjoyable theory is that the honeymoon originated in Babylonia about 4000 years ago. The bride’s father would supply his new son-in-law with all the mead (honey beer/wine) that the young man could drink. Their calendar was lunar-based, and, as it turned out, this tradition, called the “honey month,” was just about the time it took the groom to consume his gift. Ultimately, this time just after the wedding became known as the “honeymoon”.

But, back to the kidnapping and capturing…. Over time, the potential brides wised up to the horrible threat of being made to wear bling, wear white, stand on the left and taken away on some sort of distasteful holiday. The women put a new game plan in place. Why not dress identically to each other and confuse the groom and his best men?

Terrific idea ladies, except now you all get kidnapped and here is the arrival of the “brides maids”.

“Surely this weird abduction scenario has to stop there?” I hear you ask…

Just one more I promise – the Wedding Veil.

The veil is reminiscent of the act of throwing a sack over the prospective bride’s head while she was being carried off. Roman superstition also held that wearing a veil would confuse the evil spirits that loomed near the bride. It was said that the spirits might be jealous of the new couple’s happiness and that covering the bride’s face would keep them from recognizing her.

Another concept is that in ancient times, marriages were arranged by families and were often nothing more than good business deals. It happened more often than not that the first time the couples saw one another was standing at the altar on their wedding day. To ensure the groom wouldn’t have second thoughts at the sight of a bride perhaps less attractive than he’s assumed, veils were used to cover the bride’s face. The veil was not lifted until the very end of the ceremony, only after the groom had already said, “I do.”

At this point I interject and say “Hey, wait a minute, what about the chicks? Maybe men should have worn a big sack over THEIR heads in case they would see their honking nose and beady little eyes run a mile. I am sure I am not the Only woman to have this thought in centuries go by.

And so you have it ladies…. Basically if you go by this school of thought and the adequate proof that goes along with it, the wedding ceremony is nothing more than a way for a man to trap you and ward off other potentially more handsome and adorable suitors!

More wedding traditions coming soon…

By Michell é brant

Your Australian Marriage Celebrants

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