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History of Weddings

Origin of the Word

The word, "Wedding" comes from the root term meaning “gamble” or “wager”. The word Anglo-Saxon word "wedd"   meant a man would vow to marry a woman and give money to the Bride's father.


Weddings in Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt it seems that young men had the liberty to choose their own brides.  Getting married and having children was considered a very important issue although the ceremony was very simple and had no official or religious value.  In many cases, however, a written agreement was made. 

The bride's father usually gave a dowry to the groom who bought gifts for the bride and her family before the wedding day.  Polygamy was very unusual even if it is known that pharaons had very conspicuous harems.


Sumer, Assyrian and Babylonian Weddings

For these populations weddings were mainly political events and were basically contracts between two families for military, political and economical reasons.


Weddings in Ancient Greece

Weddings were not so different in ancient Greece.  The reasons for a women and man to marry were always social and economic. It seems that the tradition of holding the bride in the groom’s arms while entering the main door of their new home is an ancient Greek tradition.

 It was a symbol of misfortune if the bride slipped on the floor while entering through the door so this is why the man held the woman in his arms. This tradition was also adopted by the Romans.

Celtic Weddings

In Celtic clans the role of women was very strong. Women could be queens and conduct the army battles. They could also choose who to marry. Weddings were considered a free union between two free individuals. There were two types of marriages: temporary or definite.

On the first of August the Celtic populations celebrated temporary weddings. On the first of May these weddings could be confirmed or transformed into definite ones.

The ceremonies took place in the woods, near water sources which were considered sacred. A religious official would celebrate the wedding ceremony which would begin 7 days before with a series of purification acts referring to the four elements: water, fire, earth and wind.  

In the same period, they would start to braid a cord with red and white yarns which symbolized the two parts:  man and woman. The day before the actual ceremony, offers where made to neutralize subtle energies which were considered negative.  The couple would also choose a stone for the wedding day which would have to be washed and purified. This stone was supposed to protect the energy of their families and was passed on to future generations.

 During the wedding ceremony the bride and groom’s hands were tied together with an embroidered cloth. They would then drink honey-mead and light a candle which would represent their future life as a couple. The ceremony would end with a great feast with banquets, music and dancing.... continues...

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Wedding ceremonies in Italy


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