Justice & Afua: Building The Union
BLENDING IN THE PAST
Wedding traditions are different all over the world. Do you know that in India, the bride is expected to pay the bride price to her groom? In Ghana or sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, the reverse is true. Nevertheless, some of these traditions have been able to break through various cultures and are now universally accepted. It is necessary, however, to know their origins and reasons why we observe these practices.
In our previous article, Maureen & Gunter: A New Dawn, we started with the explanations of some wedding traditions. For example, we discovered that the original purpose of best men was “make sure the bride didn’t escape during the ceremony.”
So in this piece, we would uncover some more interesting and somewhat ‘bizarre’ wedding practices that have come to stay.
A beautiful pair of a bridesmaid and a groomsman on Justice & Efua’s big day. Shot by @agenda.kobby
WEDDING HISTORY: MYTHS & TRADITIONS CONT’D
Picking up where we left off, here are some more wedding traditions explained:
1. History of the Wedding Cake
Do you know why you have to save your wedding cake up to a year? It follows from the origin of the wedding cake in itself. Ancient Roman history believed that a groom had to break a loaf of barley bread over his bride’s head to symbolize fertility. Barley bread evolved to cake, and then it turned out that the top tier of the cake had to be kept for a year — to be eaten at their first child’s christening.
Yes, this tradition has it that your first child should have been born a year from your wedding. Certainly the origin for this saying, “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage.”
2. History of Wedding Rings
In Ancient Roman, Greek, and Jewish cultures, rings were used as collaterals to pay the father of the bride. Hence historically, the bride’s ring symbolized ownership. Eventually, with the advancement of women’s rights, brides started to exchange rings with the groom as well.
There’s also a reason why rings were put on the fourth finger during the ceremony. This was because they believed that finger housed a particular vein that led to the heart. Per physiological research, it turns out that was false — yet we love the practice still.
3. History of fathers walking down the aisle
Like the rings, fathers would walk down the aisle with their daughters as a sign — transfer of ownership.
Back in the day, young women were used as collateral to settle debts or disagreements with neighbouring tribes. Other times, it was for the father to elevate his status when marrying his daughter off to a wealthy family.
Today, however, fathers and brides alike look forward to this walk as a show of honour.
4. History of the bouquet toss
This wedding tradition stemmed from England. On her wedding day, the bride was believed to be extra lucky. So to prevent women ripping pieces of her gown for luck, she’d toss the bouquet to ‘pass on her good luck’ and run from them.
Now, it’s just a funny part of the wedding where it is believed that the single lady who catches it will be the next to get married.
5. History of not seeing each other before the ceremony
It is often thought of as inviting bad luck whenever a groom sees their bride right before the wedding. However, the origin of this tradition is pretty funny.
Believe it or not, this practice — like the veils, comes from the custom of arranged marriages. Grooms often saw their brides for the first time at the ceremony. Therefore, this tradition was created so it would be too late to back out of the arrangement if they didn’t like the bride’s appearance.
JUSTICE & AFUA
Bridal Hairstyling: @Hairdistrictgh
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