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THE ORIGINS OF POPULAR
WEDDING CUSTOMS

Considering that a wedding is the most important event in a person's life it is not surprising that most couples want to make this a unique occasion. Most people these days opt for exclusive weddings like theme wedding, destination wedding and so on.

However, there is no denying the importance of the traditional wedding. This is the white wedding most Americans think of when they consider what a wedding is like. Usually there are bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, flower girls, ring bearers and so forth. The wedding may take place in a church or outside. The ceremony can be Christian or secular. Common wedding customs include the unity candle lighting, the ring exchange, presentation of tokens to the mothers, and the throwing of rice or confetti, rose petals or blowing of bubbles as the couple leaves the church. At the reception there are usually toasts made, a cake cutting, dancing and a bouquet toss.

Ironically, the month of May was generally avoided by ancient Romans as a time for nuptials. It was thought to be back luck to wed in the same month as the Feast of the Dead and the Festival of the Goddess of Chastity, both of which were May events. Given the strong feeling that something bad would happen to couples who wed then, most brides and grooms chose other months for their ceremonies.

What about the traditional white wedding gown, the dream of many a young girl? You can thank Engand's Queen Victoria for this much beloved practice. Royal brides used to sport a silver gown on their special day, but Queen Victoria went against the grain, choosing white instead. Soon, others followed her lead, and it became a full-blown trend. Today, of course, it is de rigueur to wear white on one's wedding day.

The veil that matches the dress may look like a decorative afterthought, but it's just as richly symbolic as the dress itself. Since the early 19th century, veils have been a sign of the bride's modesty and purity. Before that, veils were a way to sheild the bride from the evil spirits said to prey on women on their wedding days. Sporting a veil would disguise the woman and confuse those malicious spirits.

It was also to confuse and frighten the evil spirits that couples began tying tin cans to their cars before driving off in the marriage vehicle. The noise of the banging cans was thought to scare the spirits and prohibit them from following the new couple as they set off together to begin their lives as man and wife.

Copyright©Marie Voe

Marie Voe is the administrator of ABC Marriage, Inc. your source for all of your marriage and wedding needs. Visit us online at: www.abcmarriage.com