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Wednesday Wedding Fact: The Best Man

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, the “Best Man”

Yes, in modern times he’s probably your best mate who has (unfortunately) got a LOT of embarrassing memories of nights out and foreign holidays with you which he’ll quite happily regale your guests with during his speech.

Oh…he’s also responsible for the rings during the ceremony (slightly more important but not as much fun).

Actually, the role of Best Man is quite stressful in modern times….I know….I’ve done it….twice!

There’s the stag night to arrange, making sure the groom is actually sober enough to get married, if he is too sober, making sure he has a couple of swift ones before the ceremony, making sure he’s accidentally “forgotten” the rings and of course, the speech. It’s also reckoned he gets first pick of the bridesmaids as well….although that’s not one I’ve experienced personally!

Anyway…I digress…back to the plot….the duties of the Best Man.

It’s another medieval tradition which was actually quite a serious role. In a previous post I mentioned the reason for the groom traditionally standing to the right of his bride during the wedding ceremony.

The Best Man is very closely associated with this.

For those that haven’t read the original post, the groom traditionally stands on the right of the bride so that his right hand (coincidentally the hand used for drawing and fighting with this sword) is free to defend against kidnappers (aka…the in-laws).

The Best Man….well he was traditionally the grooms Best swordsMan….the person he could rely on to defend the honour of the bride and groom against kidnappers should the need arise. In effect, security!

Next time….Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act (it’s actually quite fascinating!)

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