For The Record
By Ronda Addy
Congratulations, you're getting married. Soon, you'll be buying your dress. As a non-traditionalist, you want something other than a white dress, but everybody is arguing with you that white is tradition. But where did this tradition come from? Let's take a look at the origins of some wedding traditions, and while we're at it, some bridal/wedding numbers from the Guinness Book of World Records.
• In 1840, Queen Victoria wore the first white wedding dress. Before then, the bride wore her best dress.
• The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that a veil protected a bride from evil spirits.
• In 1858, Princess Victoria had Wagner's "Bridal Chorus" played during her wedding procession.
• In a Christian ceremony, the bride stands on the groom's left because in ancient times he needed his right hand free to fight other suitors.
• Tiered cakes began as a game in which the bride and groom would try to kiss over a steadily growing cake without knocking it over.
• Spartan soldiers held the first stag parties to signify the end of their bachelor days.
• Something blue symbolizes purity, fidelity and love.
• Something old symbolizes a continuity with the past.
• The groom carries the bride across the threshold to protect her from evil spirits that may be lurking below.
• The word "honeymoon" first appeared in the 16th century. "Honey" referred to the sweetness of a new marriage and "moon" to the fact that the sweetness would fade like the moon.
• Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was believed that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.
• In Roman times, the bride wore a girdle tied in knots that the groom later untied, thus came the phrase "tie the knot."
• According to Greek culture, tucking a sugar cube in your glove sweetens the union.
• In the Hindu tradition, rain on the wedding day is considered good luck.
• To ensure that she won't do without, a bride in Sweden puts a silver coin from her father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe.
• Wearing robes with embroidered cranes is a symbol of fidelity in marriages in Asia.
• In Denmark, the bride and groom cross-dressed to confuse evil spirits.
• The oldest bride was Minnie Munro. She was 102 when she married 87-year-old Dudley Reid on May 21, 1991.
• The oldest groom was Harry Stevens. He was 103 when he married 84-year-old Thelma Lucas on December 3, 1984.
• The largest wedding cake weighed 5,334 pounds and was five tiers high. The cake, located at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL, was created for the wedding of the animated characters Shrek and Fiona from the movie Shrek in 2003.
• The most expensive pet wedding took place in 1996 at a disco in Thailand. The two diamond-eyed cats wore matching outfits. The wedding cost 410,979 Thai Bhat ($16,241).
• The most expensive wedding dress cost $7.3 million.
• The largest wedding banquet took place on September 7, 1995; 150,000 guests attended a luncheon hosted by Jayalalitha Jayaram, former Tamil Nadu chief minister, for her foster son's wedding.
• The heaviest magazine was the December 2001 edition of Sposabella, an Italian bridal magazine. It weighed 5,692 pounds, had 848 pages and cost $5.53.
• The first diamond engagement ring was presented to Mary of Burgundy in 1477 by Archduke Maxmillian.
• The largest mass wedding ceremony in a prison took place in the Caradiru Prison in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in June 2000; 120 inmates were married.
The next time you want to do something in your wedding your way and someone whips out that old phrase, "It's tradition," you'll know what to say and who to blame for starting it.