Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold
The tradition of carrying the bride over the threshold symbolizes the entrance of a newly betrothed man and woman into their new home and their new legally married life together, but the reason behind doing those precise motions to symbolize this moment in life are less lighthearted than it may seem.
It’s not exactly new knowledge that women were considered buyable and sellable property, but you probably didn’t know about the kidnappings. Back in the day, as they say, brides were chosen by a hormonal male, and he and his tribe of merry men would hunt her down and take her—just pluck her from her surroundings—then carry back to his lair and train her to be a submissive wife. Probably wasn’t a photographer present to capture the moment…
Other, gentler versions of the history of the threshold tradition say that the bride was vulnerable to evil spirits, especially in the threshold of the house, a place where spirits liked to lurk. The new husband would lift her up and protect her from said spirits as she entered her new home.
Matching Bridesmaids’ Dresses
Lots of evil spirits seemed to be lurking about back before we had science, and it seems they liked weddings. Bridesmaids, or friends and family of the bride, used to wear all white to match the bride, which was intended to confuse the evil spirits that wanted to hurt or kill the bride. That’s friendship right there! Nowadays, bridesmaids spend an average of $1,695 on their friends’ weddings, but back then, they risked their lives.
This tradition transformed into only the bride wearing the white dress (duh), but that trend wasn’t actually re-popularized until Queen Victoria did it in 1840. Before that, brides simply wore their best dress and the small ceremony was conducted in their homes, unless they were nobility. (Patches from the Past)
Bride on the Left, Groom on the Right
The etiquette of placing the bride on the left and the groom on the right, it is said, is derived from the ol’ capture method of finding a wifey. Apparently, marriage had to happen quickly when the wife was a stolen good, because the husband-to-be held the bride with his left hand while slapping away the bride’s tribe with his right. (This begs the question: What happened if old boy was a lefty?) Other versions of history state that scripture is generally interpreted to place the bride on the left and the groom on the right for what seems to be no apparent reason.
The honeymoon tradition derived from yet another overt expression of ownership. The groom, after marriage, traditionally burrowed his bride away for about a month for, as one website put it, “mating purposes.” The “moon” part of the word is directly related to the bride’s menstrual cycle, and the “honey” part is related to the couple boozing it up. After getting hitched, a new couple drank honey mead, a sweet, beer-like drink that was supposed to make the woman more fertile.
People stunk back then. And not just because they stole and bought girls for “breeding,” but because they plain old smell bad, especially when there are a bunch of them in a room together. Some sources say bridal bouquets did double duty on the day of the wedding, warding of both evil spirits and bad smells.
Other sources say the wedding bouquet itself was kind of stinky, being made of garlic and dill in an effort to ward off the plague. Garlic and dill were thought to prevent people from contracting the illness.
Today engagement rings are pretty much the norm for most couples getting married. The history of the engagement ring is pretty storied in and of itself. Before actual rings were fashioned for this purpose by civilized man, “The caveman tied cords made of braided grass around his chosen mate’s wrists, ankles, and waist, to bring her spirit under his control,” according to Reader’s Digest.
The concept of the “diamond engagement ring” came into vogue (not coincidentally) around 1948, just as DeBeers unleashed their “Diamonds are Forever” campaign. As DeBeers stockpiled diamonds, they essentially had a stranglehold on the market, as they could dictate supply. Bolstered by their catchy new marketing line, DeBeers began to foster the idea that diamond engagement rings should always be held on to, and never sold.
Luckily, for many people who have diamond jewelry they no longer need, the stigma of selling diamond rings and things has all but disappeared. At Diamond Lighthouse, we specialize in getting people the absolute best value for their unwanted diamond jewelry. The past will always be the past; it’s nice to know that the future looks quite bright.