Yes, it’s time for another Wednesday Wedding Fact during which I explore the reasoning behind many of the “traditions” of British weddings.
Many of our wedding traditions stem from long ago in Saxon, Roman or even Celtic times. Some of them are from the more modern Victorian era (the reason for the white cake or the white dress for instance). The tradition of the round ring on the third finger of the left hand can be traced back to Ancient Greece!
Some of them can be proven, others are mere speculation and it’s unclear as to how they started.
This week. why does the groom traditionally stand to the right of his bride?
It actually goes back to the days of swords and chivalry, and indeed is one of the reasons for the “Best Man” as well.
In days of old….a groom traditionally had to pay a dowry for the hand of his bride. At the very least, he needed permission from her father. After all back in those days, the woman was ALWAYS the possession of a man, be that her father or her husband (sorry ladies….that’s how things used to be).
In fact even as recently as Victorian times, when a woman married she gave up all personal possessions (they became her husband’s property).
It wasn’t uncommon then, for the bride and groom to elope (and Gretna Green in Scotland played a part in this with younger brides and those in a hurry to get married because very little notice of intent of marriage was required).
In cases where this happened, a search party were normally despatched to find and retrieve the bride before the act of marriage took place.
Remember….we’re in the days of swords here!
The reason for the groom standing to the right of the bride is that it left his right hand (or his sword hand) free to fight off any “kidnappers”. He could quickly draw his sword to defend his bride without hinderance.
The reason for the Best Man….that’s in next week’s instalment