Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Etiquette ~ Wedding Customs and Costumes


French fashion for the American bride - "Les modes parisiennes: Peterson's magazine. October, 1886." 
"Wedding cakes have played a role in British marriage ceremonies since medieval times. They used to be made of wheat, a symbol of fertility. Stories suggest that they were thrown at brides, or broken up over their heads.  Tiered wedding cakes first became popular amongst royalty and nobility in the 1600s. To stop them from drying, they used to be stored in lard, which was scraped off when it was time for them to be eaten. Later, sugar was added to the lard to make it taste better and it was left on the cake.  Icing as we know it emerged in Victorian times. The whiter the cake, the richer the bride's family was seen to be. This is because the finely refined sugar needed to make a lighter mixture was more expensive."
BBC


The Amish continue the tradition of giving brides and grooms a quilt in the 'double ring' or 'bridal' pattern.

Irish brides and grooms were said to be brought good luck if the sun shone on the bride on the day of the wedding, or if they heard a cuckoo, or if they saw three magpies.

Picturesque Holland : newly wedded couples returning from church at Edam.
A Dutch promise of marriage involved a groom-to-be exchanging a pledge with a bride, using a ring or coin.  The Dutch are credited with the invention of bridal showers.  If a Dutch bride's father didn't approve of groom, he gave no dowry.  To compensate, friends showered her with gifts.

1881 depiction of a German wedding procession
German guests at weddings broke special plates. Pieces 'paid' for dances with the bride while the groom swept the pieces up.

Austrian brides avoid white and red flowers for weddings. A superstition exists that the colors mean bandages and blood.  Unlucky was Austrian bride who had to make her own wedding gown and unlucky the groom too, if he saw her in it, prior to nuptials.
1887 depiction of the French Bride and Groom
A prospective Portuguese bride pretended to be a cow who needed to be recognized by its owner, or soon-to-be husband.

Ukranian brides and grooms made a ritual tree, or hiltse, for the wedding table on the Friday night before they wed.

In Lithuania, brides and grooms are given a meal of wine, bread and salt ~ symbolic of joy, sweat and tears.
Mrs. Edsel B. Ford's bridal party, 1916
In Scotland and Wales, a 'love spoon' was carved from wood by a groom for a bride.  Some now give a silver spoon.  Also in Wales, bridal bouquets included symbol of love, myrtle. Bridesmaids each got a cutting to plant for luck in love.  And many a Scottish bride-to-be was blackened with treacle and soot, ensuring she'd look much prettier on the wedding day.
The Princess of Wales, Alexandra of Denmark, and her bridesmaids, in 1863
If a Danish bride is out of the reception room, female guests may kiss the groom on the cheek and vice versa.

Mongolian brides and grooms killed a chicken together and then would inspect the livers for any good omens.
"An International Marriage" from House Beautiful, early 1900's
In Argentina the mother of groom and the father of the bride stand next to them both throughout the ceremony.

Kuwaiti brides and grooms were chosen from relatives and matchmakers were hired if no ideal relative was found.
A Dinka bridegroom from the Sudan, "bargaining for the bridal ornaments" in 1931
A Nigerian groom’s family 'paid' a bride 'price.' Traditionally this consisted of shoes, bags, clothes and jewelry.

 Photograph of a Japanese bride who has been taken to her husband's house followed by her relatives and friends in nuptial procession.
The Japanese bride's furnishings were removed from her home and taken to the groom's home, the day before a wedding.

In Japan a groom gave his bride a kimono to wear on a ceremonial visit to his parents on third day of marriage.

A Korean bride and groom in 1920
For brides and grooms in Korea, blue and red are important colors, symbols of yin and yang uniting in harmony.

As early as 4000BC, Jewish grooms deposited money as a type of escrow for brides, as 'divorce insurance'.
1898 depiction of a Russian peasant bride from 1800's.
Russian brides and grooms traditionally wed in autumn.  Summer work was over, barns were full, and the new couples were prepared for long winter. 

A ceremonial purifying milk bath before ritual henna painting of bride's feet and hands is a a Moroccan custom. 

Spanish brides chose orange blossoms, symbols of happiness and fulfillment. Trees both blossom and bear fruit. Spanish brides wore black silk wedding dresses and black lace veils. Grooms wore embroidered shirts that their brides had made for them.

The Romanian bride and groom were showered with candy and nuts by their guests. This symbolized prosperity.
The queen of the Belgians in her wedding dress, 1832
An Indian bride and groom are showered with flower petals by the groom's brother at the end of the ceremony.

The newly married bride and groom of Bermuda planted a tree, symbolizing their union and their love.
Depiction of an ancient Roman wedding procession and foot washing from 1784
A Roman groom led a procession to a bride's home and she was escorted by her bridesmaids to greet him.  The Roman bride wore a white tunic with a Knot-Of-Hercules belt. Orange wedding shoes and a veil were very fashionable for the elite Roman brides.  The superstition of tripping over the threshold of one's new home comes from the Roman Empire.  Groom's were very cautious not to trip, and they carried their brides over to ensure that their new bride didn't trip either.
Wedding costume at Setesdal, Norway, 1859
Weddings were the most festive occasions in Norwegian country life, and in some parts the feast extended over two or three days.

The Czech bride wore a wreath of rosemary to symbolize wisdom, loyalty and love.
Depiction of an Armenian marriage procession
Depiction of the Armenian bride, 1862
In Armenia a groom's family brought gifts to bride’s family the night before.  These traditionally included a veil, her shoes and more.

In Italy, male guests of the bride and groom were given cigars, female guests were given candied almonds.  In parts of Italy, the groom's tie would be cut up in pieces and auctioned off to all of the guests.
1868 depiction of a Chinese wedding ceremony.
On the third day of marriage, a Chinese bride and groom returned to the bride's parents' home for a dinner party with their relatives.
Wedding in a Swedish church. Painting from mid-1800's.
A Swedish bride's bouquet was made of flowers with strongest scents to ward off trolls and other evil creatures.

A Brazilian bride placed her shoes in the dance floor's center. Guests placed donations in them for the newlyweds.
1881 depiction of the Malay bride on her honeymoon night
Swiss bridesmaids would sell colorful handkerchiefs to guests. All of the money went to the bride and groom.

Maoris of New Zealand still include a powhiri, or welcome, conducted by a tribal elder and the couple is blessed. 
French bridal fashions from 1834 
French couples gave wedding guests 5 dragées (candy), symbolizing health, wealth, happiness, longevity and fertility.

The Turkish bride depicted from behind.
Explanation of the Turkish bride in her wedding dress, and the rituals performed prior to the wedding.
A Filipino groom's family gave the bride and groom the gift of old coins, as symbols of future prosperity.

Pairs of padrinos and madrinos (Godparents), help brides and and grooms with each part of Hispanic weddings.
1863 depiction of a bridal costume from 1770's France