Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Weddings are filled with tradition and draw from ancient customs. Did you know that brides in Zimbabwe think it’s bad luck to get married in the month of November, or that the average age of a Western bride has continued to increase?
Have fun discovering the history of popular wedding traditions as you explore fun wedding trivia from A to Z.

Age: In ancient Greece, the age of the bride was calculated from the day of her wedding rather than from the day of her birth.

Bridal gowns and veils: The longest wedding dress train was more than 7,500 feet long. The Greek believed the veil protected the bride from evil spirits, which is why it covered the face and was not lifted until the end of the ceremony. Now that it has become part of the wedding costume, many brides choose veils that do not cover the face at all.

Cake: The towering shape of the traditional wedding cake was modeled after a building in London.

Danish brides and grooms, in an effort to ward off evil spirits, cross-dressed.

Embroidered cranes on a wedding robe symbolize fertility in some Asian cultures, although today most women choose a Western style gown for the ceremony.

Favors: Giving out wedding favors is a custom that dates back to 16th Century French royals, who were likely to give out precious stones or gold to their guests.

Garter: The garter tradition stems from an ancient tradition in which the garter was a virginal girdle that the groom removed as a part of the wedding ceremony.

Here Comes the Bride, the traditional Wagner wedding march still popular today, was first played at Princess Victoria’s wedding in 1858.

Internet dating has had an effect on relationships: 19% of married couples who participated in a 2007 survey met online – 2% more than those who met at work and the same as those who were introduced by friends.

Jumping the Broom is an African wedding tradition that symbolizes the fresh start that comes with getting married.

Kissing: Ancient Romans believed that the Kiss at the end of the wedding ceremony sealed the contract, while many Christian cultures believe the kiss represents an exchange of souls.

Length of engagement for a pre-marital couple has increased from 12 months to 16 months in the last five years.

Marriage vows can be traced back to Medieval times. The vows, which were published in the Book of Common Prayer in 1549, are eerily similar to today’s vows, with the bride and groom promising to love each other “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.”

Number of weddings in the United States has two million per year each of the last 20 years.

Old, new, borrowed, blue: Something old represents a link to the past while something new represents the road ahead. Something borrowed is supposed to be something borrowed from a close friend or family member whose happy marriage will bring good luck to the newlyweds. Blue was the traditional color of wedding gowns prior to the late 18th Century, but today blue is often incorporated in more subtle ways.

Planning a wedding takes an average of seven to twelve months.

Quilted gowns were popular in 17th Century Provence.

Rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand by nearly three-quarters of the world’s cultures.

Standing on the left of the groom became a tradition because the groom needed to keep his sword hand (the right hand) free to protect his bride.

Throwing rice does not harm birds, and will not cause them to explode. This myth was perpetuated by Ann Landers when she implored her readers to consider the birds when planning their weddings. Rice does, however, provide a dangerously slippery surface for the humans who are walking through it.

Ushers were originally men who were friends of the groom and protected him from the bride’s angry family after she was kidnapped to be wedded.

Valentine’s Day is the busiest wedding ceremony day of the year in Las Vegas.

Wedding costs have continued to spiral, with the average wedding ringing in between $20,000 and $25,000.

X-rays of the chest are required in Mexico as a part of the health exam in order to be able to marry.

Young brides are becoming a thing of the past in the Western world; for the first time, the average age of the bride tipped past 30 (2009 statistics).

Zimbabwe brides believe it is bad luck to wed in November.