Tradition, Tradition!

Toasting the bride and groom at a wedding evolved out of the Medeival tradition to toast all ladies present at a banquet -- especially one who held a position of high honor.

We’re in the middle of the most celebration-centric time of year — a time filled with traditions like Christmas stockings and dreidles and nativity scenes. But of course, any time I think of traditions, what comes to mind are weddings.

During the past couple weeks, I’ve been reading Carry Me Over the Threshold: A Christian Guide to Wedding Traditions by Kristina Seleshanko.  I’ve learned so much about the history behind the traditions, and it’s made my understanding of weddings much richer!

For example: brides in ancient Greece were accompanied by “bridesmaids” whose job was to carry lanterns thought to ward off evil spirits; gold engagement rings were required by law in the Roman Catholic world in the nineth century; ancient Roman brides were carried across the threshold into their new homes because of the belief that the marriage would be unhappy if she tripped and fell as she entered her new life.

Tossing the garter is an innocent activity these days, but it's believed to come from the 14th century custom of bedding the couple -- when the guests communally undressed the bride, whether or not she consented.

While I did plenty of research leading up to my own wedding, I’ve learned more about the origins of some customs that made me glad to have skipped them (the garter toss!), happy to have included them (the aisle runner), or even just made me smile at how things worked out (November, the month of my wedding, is said to be a good time for marriages to begin: “If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember”).

So my advice is — do your research and do it well!  Then you’ll know exactly why you’re including some elements in your wedding and bypassing others, and you’ll end up with a ceremony that’s much more meaningful to you as a couple.  Tradition for tradition’s sake doesn’t feel very personal.  Tradition for it’s meaning’s sake is entirely different.

~ Laura

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