No matter how beautiful and romantic weddings are, they are still a legal contract. Many of the wedding traditions we've come to associate love, friendship, and fun with have very practical — and even horrifying — roots. Find out what came from where below:
- Wedding announcements: The Catholic tradition of "posting the banns" required a couple to announce their wedding in print; this helped ensure they were not related.
- Fathers walking brides down the aisle: Because weddings used to be business transactions, fathers walked brides down the aisle to transfer ownership to grooms. Romantic!
- Bachelor parties: Originally held by Spartan soldiers, bachelor parities were wild fetes to kiss the single life goodbye.
- Best man: "Best" used to refer less to the friendship quality and more to the man's sword skills. Because you can never have enough backup support for a runaway bride.
- Ceremony: The bride stands to the left during Christian wedding ceremonies, because the groom needed to be ready to fight off suitors with his right hand.
- Ring placement: Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand, because ancient Greeks and Romans believed that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.
- Tying the knot: The phrase is derived from the literal practice of tying couples together to symbolize the commitment of marriage.
- Tossing bouquets: Newlyweds used to go in another room to seal the deal immediately after the wedding ceremony. Guests hung around outside to ensure the marriage transaction was completed, but men used to grab at the bride as she walked with her groom. So one inventive bride threw her bouquet to create a distraction, and other brides followed suit.