In the United States, there is no law or religious dictate that says the bride must take the groom’s last name. However, approximately 70% of Americans agree that a bride should change her last name.[2}
In States where no blood tests or physical exams are required, failing to tell your prospective spouse that you have a venereal disease or a physical impairment (such as impotence or infertility) can void the marriage.
The phrase “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe” symbolizes continuity, optimism for the future, borrowed happiness, fidelity, and wealth or good luck, respectively.
Because white is the color of mourning in Eastern cultures, white wedding dresses are uncommon.
Las Vegas is the top wedding destination with over 100,000 weddings a year, followed by Hawaii at 25,000 weddings a year.
Wedding rings are often placed on the third finger of the left hand because ancient Egyptians believed the vein in that hand (which the Romans called the “vein of love”) ran directly to the heart.
In many cultures, the groom historically often kidnapped the bride, and the groom’s friends would help him, leading to the modern-day groomsmen. At the alter, the groom always stood on the bride’s right side so his right hand—or his sword hand—would be free to fight/defend a jealous rival.
Flower girls traditionally threw flower petals in the bride’s path to lead her to a sweet, plentiful future.
A wedding cake is traditionally a symbol of good luck and fertility and has been a part of wedding celebrations since Roman times, when a small bun, symbolizing fertility, was broken above the bride’s head at the close of the ceremony. During the Middle Ages, custom required the bride and groom to kiss over small cakes.
In Great Britain, it was considered good luck for the bride to kiss a chimney sweep on her wedding day. He supposedly had special powers, and when he cleans the chimney, he also sweeps away evil spirits.
In Afghanistan, a man who wanted to marry a woman would cut off a lock of her hair or throw a sheet over her and proclaim her his bride.
Bedouin girls will often begin to sew their wedding dresses when they turn nine years old and so that they will finish their gown before they marry at the age of fourteen or fifteen.
Throwing rice at weddings symbolizes fertility, prosperity, and bounty. In some countries, the bride might even carry or wear sheaves of grain. However, some modern churches and wedding locations discourage rice throwing because of the pervasive, yet mistaken, belief that rice can be fatal for birds who eat it.
In many countries, a yellow wedding dress has traditionally been seen as a sign of a wife’s intention to cheat on her husband or of jealousy.
An average wedding in the United States has 175 guests
Queen Victoria’s wedding cake was three yards wide and weighed 300 pounds.
Queen Elizabeth II had 12 wedding cakes. The one she cut at her wedding was nine feet tall and weighed 500 pounds.
The Guinness World Record for the largest wedding in a prison is currently held by Carandiru prison where 120 inmates married their fiancés in the year 2000.
If your (future) husband ever complains that your wedding dress was, or is too expensive, politely remind him that the most expensive dress on this earth cost a staggering 12.2 million dollars, the equivalent to almost 8.2 million British pounds. The costly gown was designed by Martin Katz and Renee Strauss and had 150 carats of diamonds.
1Baldizzone, Tiziana and Gianna Baldizzone. Wedding Ceremonies: Ethnic Symbols, Costume, and Rituals. France: Flammarion, 2001.
2Bermann, Jillian. “70% Say Brides Should Take Husband’s Name.” USA TODAY. August 11, 2009. Accessed: November 29, 2009.
3Bride’s Book of Etiquette. New York, NY: Perigee Books, 2002.
4de Lys, Claudia. How the World Weds. New York, NY: The Martin Press, 1929.
5Geller, Jaclyn. Here Comes the Bride: Women, Weddings, and the Marriage Mystique. New York, NY: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2001.
6k Weiss, Mindy and Lisbeth Levine.The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day. New York, NY: Workman Publishing, 2008.
7Lee, Vera. Something Old, Something New: What You Didn’t Know about Wedding Ceremonies, Celebrations, and Customs. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc, 1994.
8“Matrimony.” Online Etymological Dictionary. Accessed: November 30, 2009.
9Post, Peggy. Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 2006.
10Stewart, Arlene Hamilton. A Bride’s Book of Wedding Traditions. New York, NY: William Morrow and Co, 1995.
11“Wed.” Online Etymological Dictionary. Accessed: December 23, 2009.