I came across this fantastic article on the Mental Floss Blog. The author, Jenn Thompson, discusses the weird rituals that make up our current wedding traditions. This is so fun! A lot of these are things I'm not a fan of anyway, but finding out how they started just confirmed my belief that some of this wedding stuff is just plain weird. Let's discuss, shall we? 1. The White Wedding Dress
We have Queen Victoria (circa 1837) to thank for the switch from the nicest dress we own to a white enormous gown. There is also a strong indication that the color of the dress represents purity in the bride, which of course refers directly to her sexual status. Um, yeah...about that.
2. Giving away the Bride
All of our society’s gender issues stem from the fact that fathers once used their daughters as currency to a) pay off a debt to a wealthier land owner, b) symbolize a sacrificial, monetary peace offering to an opposing tribe or c) buy their way into a higher social strata. So next time you tear up watching a beaming father walk his little girl down the aisle, remember that it’s just a tiny, barbaric little hold over from the days when daughters were nothing but dollar signs to daddy dearest. And that veil she’s wearing? Yeah, that was so the groom wouldn’t know if he was stuck with an uggo until it was time to kiss the bride and too late to back out on the transaction. (There is also some superstitious B.S. about warding off evil spirits, but we think you’ll agree that hiding a busted grill from the husband-to-be is a more practical purpose.)
Well put. I'm still debating how to do this. I kind of like the idea of walking in alone. I'll prob go traditional on this one.
3. The Wedding Party
This is kinda hilarious. The best man is the armed backup for the groom, best referring to his sword skills. I know who Groom intends to ask to be his best man, and I do have to question his swashbuckling skills; but there is still time for him to learn. Bridesmaids, you ladies are there to make sure that I don't get kidnapped. Because of this, I am dressing you in camouflage to better defend me.
4. Garter & Bouquet Toss
I hate this. I am not going to subject my single girlfriends to the humiliation of being forced to stand in public and pretend to be excited that I am about to chuck some flowers at them. However, this tradition stems from greedy wedding guests trying to get a piece of the bride's (literally) dress for good luck. Instead throwing the bouquet was supposed to be a civilized way around this. A piece of the bride's undergarment was also tossed as a distraction. Creeeeepy!
5. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
The something old was meant to tie the bride to her family and her past, while the something new represented her new life as the property of a new family. The item borrowed was supposed to be taken from someone who was already a successfully married wife, so as to pass on a bit of her good fortune to the new bride. The color blue (Virgin Mary-approved!) stood for all sorts of super fun things like faithfulness, loyalty, and purity.
I think this is sort of cute. I'll probably follow this tradition on my wedding day. Also, its the least offensive of the bunch.
6. Wedding Cake
Breaking bread over the bride's head was clearly an act of dominance. Then guests would try to collect crumbs of said bread for good luck. This transitioned into slices of cake, much more fun than old bread anyway. I'm still leaning towards cupcakes and ice cream, but that's less about symbolism than what I think is yummy.
7. Saving wedding cake
Apparently the goal immediately after the wedding was to produce a child as quickly as possible. If you saved the leftover cake, you could just use it for the christening! Very economical. This is just gross. Moving on...
8. Throwing Rice
Rice was a symbol of prosperity, fertility, and good fortune. Also, its dangerous to birds, so no rice throwing. Bubbles are kinda fun. Hmmm...another detail to ponder!
Did anyone notice that these are all pretty standard-for-Christian weddings? They don't really reflect any culturally diverse traditions. What traditions does your family follow at weddings?