Ancient Wedding Traditions

By on October 29, 2012

Marriage is important in most religions and cultures. It is a public confirmation of the love shared between two people. Wedding days signify the beginning of a new life and the joining of two families. There are many ancient wedding traditions that are still included in ceremonies all around the world today.

Child Betrothal

It was an ancient wedding tradition for marriages to be contracted while a couple were still in their childhood. The boy’s parents would search for the right girl for their son to marry, before setting up an agreement with her parents. Usually material benefits were included in the contract, such as gaining access to new land.

Wedding dresses

In many cultures it is traditional for brides to wear a white dress, but this was not always the case. Brides used to wear bright coloured dresses to their weddings as a symbol of their joy and happiness. It was Queen Victoria who wore white to her wedding as a symbol of her status. After this event Christian churches introduced white as a symbol of purity, worn by brides all over the world today.

Wedding Rings

Rings have always played a role in ancient wedding traditions. They were originally made out of hemp or braided grass, before being replaced by more durable materials in later years. Diamonds and other precious gems were not introduced until the 15th Century. They were added to rings as a symbol of the valuable, strong bond between the newly married couple.

Evil Spirits

A huge part of ancient wedding traditions involved keeping evil spirits at bay. The bride would wear a veil to protect herself from evil spirits. She would also dress her bridesmaids in the same outfits to confuse spirits, preventing them from destroying her wedding day and with it her happiness.

Ancient Wedding Traditions
Ancient wedding tradition for veils to be worn by brides to keep evil spirits away

Other ancient wedding traditions

The receiving line played a role in ancient wedding traditions as it was thought that the bride and groom bought good luck to everyone they touched on their special day. In Ancient Rome a marriage was not considered legal until the couple had kissed. A kiss was considered as the bond to seal all of the contracts between the newly married couple.

An ancient wedding tradition which is still common practice in weddings today is ‘giving away’ the bride. In ancient times women were considered to be their father’s property until they married and became their husband’s property. At an ancient wedding ceremony the father of the bride would literally give their daughter away, transferring ownership to her new husband.

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