The word "Bride" has existed since the 12th century. It is derived from the olde english 'Bryd", which originally was derived from early Germanic. The concept of marriage and brides has existed since civilization embraced trade and commerce (pre-Babalonian)
In the middle ages, in England, it was common for the women in villages to get together and make a special batch of beer that would be served at the wedding feast. This Brides Ale was a term that eventually contracted to bridal.
By the late 19th century it was common for brides to receive a diamond engagement ring and a gold wedding band. The concept of a "love ring", a simple gold band has been around since 200 B.C.
The Book of Common Prayer (1549) is the first written designation of the third finger of the left hand, however the tradition of using that finger dates back to ancient Egypt. The Egyptians believed that the vein in that finger (vena amoris) ran directly to the heart. Rings are circular to show that the love was undying and never-ending.
Up until the late 19th century, many marriages were arranged. The groom never saw the bride until the wedding day. In order for fathers to ensure that their daughter was legally married (so he wouldn't have to continue to pay for her upkeep), brides of dubious physical appearance had their face hidden by a veil until after the officiator had pronounced them man and wife. This also is the origin of the custom of not having the groom see the bride before the wedding. The good/bad luck legend had more to do with the parents of the bride than the bride herself.
Tie the Knot
Probably originated from the old marriage custom of actually tying the couple's hands together as part of the ceremony. The couple was not allowed to untie it until they had consummated the marriage.
One source of this tradition is the idea that you can best hide from an enemy in plain sight. Long ago it was believed that evil spirits couldn't stand the thought of people being happy--especially a bride on her wedding day. So a bride would surround herself with other women who looked and dressed just like her, using protective coloring to bedevil those spirits, preventing them from picking her out of the crowd.
The custom also may have come from the requirement in ancient Rome that at least ten people witness a wedding, some of them being the bridesmaids. And in the rough and tumble Middle Ages, before caterers and canapés, couples needed all the friends they could amass at their wedding because a bride's old suitor just might show up with his friends to kidnap her.
(Source: "Why in the World," Reader's Digest)
Originated in the 13th century from the old Norse words 'hus' (house) and 'bondi' (owner), giving us house owner or master of the house (in a somewhat male dominated society)
This was a payment from the family of the bride to the groom. It's original purpose was to ensure that the groom had the resources to start and maintain a family, and also to ensure that the bride was well treated throughout the marriage. The custom had all but disappeared by the early 20th century, but has evolved into the tradition of the brides family paying for the wedding.
As far back as Anglo-Saxon times the bride's father would lead a public ceremony, called a "bewedding", at which the groom and his family offered guarantees to the bride's guardians that she would be looked after. These offerings were called "weds". Most marriages around that time simply involved an informal family ceremony in which the couple made vows of commitment to each other. Those vows, and consummating their relationship, made the marriage valid. In the1500s that people began the custom of going to the local church to exchange their vows. The introduction of Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act in England in 1753 meant that all marriages had to take place in the in an official religious setting.
It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the honey based beer he could drink. Because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey moon" or what we know today as the "honeymoon".
Wedding dresses weren't always white, in fact
prior to the 19th century many were brightly colored and were, for the
most part, the best dress that the bride owned. There were exceptions:
in 1499 Anne of Brittany wore a resplendent white gown, but it was the
marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert in 1840 tat a white wedding
gown came to symbolize the pure, virginal bride.
Have you ever wondered why the bride stands on the grooms left
during the ceremonies? Some think that this is so the bride is closer to
the grooms heart, however, in days of old, brides were sometimes
abducted from their families, so the groom needed his right arm free to
wield his sword against the bride's family or other suitors.
In medieval times, marriages were often arranges between feuding families. Thus, the bride and grooms families sit on opposite sides of the aisle to restrict outbreaks of violence.
Long ago, brides carried herbs and garlic to
ward away evil spirits. Over time this evolved to the present custom of carrying
flowers. Today, flowers are often chosen for their symbolic meaning:
Chrysanthemums for truth, ferns for sincerity, freesias for friendship,
gypsophila for fertility, heather for good luck, ivy to represent a long
lasting marriage, lilac and roses for love, lily for purity and myrtle
because of its association with Venus (the Goddess of love).
Grooms wear a corsage in their left lapel. This tradition goes back to the days of the knights, who would wear a lady's colors to show his love for her.
In Roman times, loaves of bread were broken
over the heads of the couple to symbolize long life and fertility.
Guests ate the crumbs for luck. In medieval times, guests often brought
small cakes as gifts for the couple. The cakes were stacked in a pile,
as high as possible, to make it difficult for the newlyweds to kiss one
another over the top. If the bride and groom were able to kiss over the
tall stack, it was thought to symbolize a lifetime of prosperity. Over
time, at the bakers architectural skills improved, this evolved to the
tiered cake we see today. The custom of bringing a piece of cake away
from the wedding evolved from the old myth that says that if a single
woman puts the cake under her pillow she will dream of the man that she
is to marry,
old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
Everyone has heard the saying that originated
in Victorian England, and most brides try to follow the custom. The old
symbolizes the link to the brides family, and the past. The new represents
good fortune and future success. The borrowed is for love and support in
times of need. The blue is symbolic of the brides faithfulness, sincerity
Legend has it that the first shower dates back
to Holland. A young lady had intended to marry a penniless miller. The
girl's father refused to give her a dowry to marry the poor fellow, so
their friends 'showered' them with gifts to allow them to get married
and start their new life with a stock of household goods.
The Bachelor Party
This is a custom that started in the 5th century, where soldiers from Sparta would feast and toast one another the night before a comrades wedding. Today, bachelor parties are traditionally organized to allow the groom and his friends release some anxieties before the wedding.
the Bride across the threshold
There are two possible origins to this. The
oldest is that the husband carries the bride across the threshold to
protect her from evil spirits. The second belief is that if the bride
were to stumble when crossing the threshold for the first time, it would
bring bad luck to the marriage.
One of the oldest traditions, it started over two centuries ago as a pagan ritual that involved throwing grain over newlyweds to help precipitate a "fruitful union". They believed that the fertility of the seeds would transfer to the couple. In modern times, the throwing of colored paper has been banned by most churches, although some still allow the throwing of birdseed.