The Bridal Veil:
The bridal veil has long been a symbol of youth, modesty, and virginity and was used to ward off evil.
Flowers are incorporated into the wedding ceremony as a symbol of fertility. The first bouquets consisted of herbs and, later, orange blossoms.
Bride on Groom's Left:
Because grooms in Anglo-Saxon England often had to defend their brides, the bride would stand to the left of her groom so that his sword arm was free.
The Best Man:
In ancient times, men sometimes captured women to make them their brides. A man would take along his strongest and most trusted friend to help him fight resistance from the woman's family. This friend, therefore, was considered the best man among his friends. In Anglo-Saxon England, the best man accompanied the groom up the aisle to help defend the bride.
The Wedding Ring:
The wedding ring has been worn on the third finger of the left hand since Roman times. The Romans believed that the vein in that finger runs directly to the heart. The wedding ring is a never-ending circle, which symbolizes everlasting love.
Tossing the Bouquet:
Tossing the bouquet is a tradition that stems from England. Women used to try to rip pieces of the bride's dress and flowers in order to obtain some of her good luck. To escape from the crowd the bride would toss her bouquet and run away. Today the bouquet is tossed to single women with the belief that whoever catches it will be the next to marry.
Chivalrous gentlemen sent a pair of gloves to their true loves. If the woman wore the gloves to church on Sunday, it signaled her acceptance of proposal.
The term “spooning” was coined by lovesick men of Wales. A suitor carved a spoon of wood and presented it to his beloved. If she wore it around her neck on a ribbon, she returned his love and they were engaged.
The right of every women to propose on 29th February each leap year, goes back many hundreds of years to when the leap year day had no recognition in English law (the day was ‘lept over’ and ignored, hence the term ‘leap year’). It was considered, therefore, that as the day had no legal status, it was reasonable to assume that traditions also had no status. Consequently, women who were concerned about being ‘left on the shelf’ took advantage of this anomaly and proposed to the man they wished to marry.
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