Read how some wedding superstitions have turned out to be today's wedding traditions.
THE BRIDAL VEIL: The veil has served many purposes throughout history. Protecting the bride from the "evil eye;" protecting her from jealous spinsters who were thought to be witches; and protecting the groom, his family, and other wedding guests from the bride's psychic powers - just in case she had any.
THE WEDDING KISS: A throwback to the days when the couple was required to consummate their marriage in the presence of several witnesses, to insure the consummation actually took place.
BRIDE'S GARTER & FLOWER BOUQUET: Originally, the groomsmen fought with each other to see who would get the bride's garter, which was suppose to bring good luck to the person who possessed it. But, the Church frowned on the practice, and it was eventually replaced by the bride throwing her flower bouquet to her bridesmaids. Today both customs exist.
THE WEDDING RINGS: Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks all exchanged rings during their wedding ceremonies. Because a circle is a round, unending shape, it came to symbolize the ideal love that was supposed to come from marriage -- it flowed from one person to the other and back again, forever. The ring has always been worn on the left hand - and was originally worn on the thumb. It was later moved to the index finger and then to the middle finger, and eventually ended up on the third finger. The third finger was believed to lead straight to the heart.
THE HONEYMOON: This European tradition dates back hundreds of years and gets its name from that fact that newlyweds were expected to drink honey, which was believed to be an aphrodisiac, during the period of one full cycle of the moon.
THROWING RICE OR CONFETTI: Originally a fertility ritual. Wedding guests would threw wheat at the bride only, in the hope that she would bear children the same way that wheat produced bread.
THE WEDDING CAKE: Guests originally provided "bride-cakes" to a just-married woman to encourage fertility.
JUNE WEDDINGS: It was customary for Romans to marry in June to honor the queen of the gods, Juno, who was also the goddess of women. They hoped to win her favor to make the marriage last, and make childbirth easier.
CARRYING THE BRIDE OVER THE THRESHOLD: Romans thought good and evil spirits hung around the entrance of a home. They also believed if you walked into your house left foot first, the evil spirits won. So to be sure the bride, whom Romans figured was apt to be careless, did not accidentally step into her new home with the wrong foot, the groom just picked her up and carried her.
THE RECEPTION SPEECH: In pre-Christian Rome, the newlyweds hired an "official joker" to tell dirty stories to guests during the reception. The Romans believed that "unclean" thoughts in the minds of guests turned the attention of vengeful gods away from the newlyweds, which helped protect them from evil.
DECORATING THE WEDDING VEHICLE: In medieval France, when a couple was unpopular, people ridiculed them publicly by banging on pots, kettles, etc. This was a noisy mock to the newlyweds. This gave way to a new custom - trying to keep a couple from consummating their marriage by making a noise at their window. When newlyweds began to leave weddings by car, the only way to harass them was to deface the vehicle.