Bridal Affairs

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

FROM THE PAST- WHY?

Within the pages of time and history are held many wedding traditions.    Some we still do and others we discard for our own traditions- or because they make no sense.  But, even as weddings have changed and brides put their own spin on things, wedding traditions are a part of every couples' special day.  So, at this time of year when there are so many newly engaged, I thought it would be fun to tell you about where these traditions began.

The RingsThe ancient Romans believed that a vein led directly from the third finger of the left hand to the heart.   So, that is why your wedding band goes on that finger.   Engagement rings- or diamonds specifically, are a 20th century phenomenon, capitalized on by DeBeers - A Diamond Is Forever.   Until the 1930's, a diamond ring was not typically the choice for a betrothal.  Though diamonds were popular among the very wealthy from the time of the Renaissance, it was not until DeBeers concocted this marketing plan and the availability of diamonds was far more widespread.   Until then, it was more typical for a bride to be to be given a gold ring as a promise to marry or, in the early Colonial times, a thimble, as jewelry was shunned by the Puritans.  

The Bouquet:  Though you will most likely be carrying a lush, aromatic cluster of your favorite flower on your wedding day, this is not what you would have carried in ancient times.  The bridal bouquet was carried for survival- literally!   A bride would carry a bunch of garlic and dill to protect her from getting the plague on her way to the altar.  Later, herbs would be carried as a symbol of renewal and to ward off evil spirits.   Flowers were introduced by Queen Victoria.   As for throwing the bouquet- this tradition grew out of the fact that during medieval times, it was customary for the guests to chase after the couple after the ceremony in order to assure that the marriage was consummated.   The wedding guests would tear at the bride's dress for a piece of it as good luck for their own marriage.  So, in an effort to escape the crowds, the bride would throw her garlic and herbs at the crowd, in hopes that they would chase after that instead of her.   In another related tidbit, the garter toss grew out of this same notion.   It was customary for the guests to invade the bed chamber of the couple and toss their tockings around.  It was said that whomever wound up with these things, was the next to be married. 

Photo Courtesy BG Productions

Of Maids and Men:  Bridesmaids originated as bait for the evil spirits that were said to be after the bride.  The brides friends were dressed identically to the bride and sent forth to fool the evil spirits as to who the REAL bride was.   The Victorians had all the girls dressed in white with short veils.   It was not until much later that the "bridesmaid dress" was born.   In ancient times, the Best Man was the lucky guy who got to accompany the groom when he went to "kidnap" his bride.  If any harm came to the groom, the best man would defend him- to the death, if necessary.   

 And The Bride Wore White:  Well, not always!  White wedding gowns did not become popular until Queen Victoria married her beloved Albert.  Until then, the bride wore her Sunday best- even if it was black.   There was no designated wedding gown.   The veil, was more like a shroud- to protect the bride from those evil spirits lurking at the wedding site.  It was also a means of keeping an unsuspecting groom from seeing his "arranged" betrothed before it was an accomplished fact that they were married.   The length of the veil denoted the wealth of the family.  The longer the veil, the bigger the dowry.   

Wedding Cake:  The wedding cake is another tradition that was born our of superstition.   In ancient times, it was bread and not cake that was used.  The bread was broken into tiny pieces and strewn over the bride's head to ensure that she understood that the groom was in charge and to bring good fortune to the couple.   Later, guests would bring small cakes or sweet rolls to the wedding banquet.  These cakes were stacked as high as possible to see if the couple could kiss over them without knocking them down.   A prosperous life was their good fortune if they succeeded.    In the early 1700's a clever baker took the idea of a stacked cake and is credited with producing the first real wedding cake.    Other fun facts about wedding cakes- Royal Icing was coined when Queen Victoria had her cake iced in white.   Eating the crumbs was considered good luck and if you didn't eat a piece of the wedding cake, it was considered rude.   Saving the cake top for a year- that came from the superstition that saving the wedding cake ( which at that time was made with candied fruits and laced with wine) would ensure that you would not have marital trouble later on.   And, cutting the cake as a couple- that was a practical thing,  When all those stacked cakes got to be too heavy for the bride to cut alone, the groom had to help with the process.   

Ladies On The Left:   This is one of my favorites and something I tell EVERY bridal party at rehearsal.   In medieval times, it was probable that the men would have to defend their ladies against marauders.  So, they needed their right arm and hand free to draw their swords.   Thus, when you are part of a wedding party or getting married- ladies take the left arm of the men.  

Something Old, Something New...:    This is something that most brides still enjoy doing.  Something old, a family treasure, worn to honor your past.   Something new, worn to welcome your future with your new husband.  Something borrowed, traditionally from someone who is happily married so that her luck will rub off on your new marriage.   And, something blue, the symbol of fidelity and true love.   And, that penny in your shoe-to bring prosperity to your union and good luck.  Often, it was made into a piece of jewelry after the wedding.  


So, now you know.   And, as you plan your happily ever after, think about the fun of knowing where some of these traditions came from.  Happy Planning!     

                 

Friday, January 17, 2014

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

This love story is really heaven sent- with a little help from Match.com.    I had the pleasure of chatting to Eliza and Troy last night.   They have both been through some trying times, but when they found each other, they just knew they had found their soul mates.  

Eliza is a widow, having lost her husband suddenly and leaving her with 3 children to raise.  She is a special needs teacher and the mother of a special needs child.  Eliza is lucky to have some great friends and her eldest son, who took on the job of "man of  the house".  But, something was missing.  She joined Match.com  and went on some dates- no match.  Then, she decided to try one more time and SHE HAD A WINNER!   Eliza told me that she knew right away.   She said she kept thinking he was "too good to be true", but deep down she knew he was THE ONE!

Troy, a divorced dad of 3, ( yes, we have a Brady Bunch here), was blindsided after 19 years of marriage.   A former policeman and now football coach, he could have been gun shy.  But, he joined Match and also went on some not so great dates before meeting Eliza.    Troy told me, very enthusiastically, that had an immediate connection to Eliza, but couldn't tell if she liked him.  But, Eliza was not going to let this guy get away, so she found a way to let him know she felt the same and just touched his hand while they were waiting to enter the comedy club on their first date. 

Troy knew he wanted to marry Eliza and join their families forever.  He decided to do it the right way and ask for her children's blessing.  He even bought her daughter a ring when he asked her if she would like him to be her "dad".  Such a touching gesture!    Then, at Thanksgiving, he and Eliza's brother in law ( her husband's brother) went out for ice and he asked if it was ok with the family if he asked Eliza to marry him.   Of course, everyone was thrilled that Troy and Eliza have found each other and everyone is happy for this proposal to happen.      

 Troy entered a contest so that he could propose to Eliza in a very special way.   With the help of a team of amazing people, Troy gave Eliza the moment of a lifetime and a surprise that she will remember always.   Troy told Eliza that they had been chosen for a documentary on successful couples who met on line.     Eliza, who has been documenting their love story with a Polaroid camera and journals, was happy to participate, in yet another documentary, about how they became a couple.  She had no idea what was really going on.     

After spending the day talking about their time together, they separated and Troy went home to prepare for the surprise.   The house was donned with lights and all the kids, plus Eliza's family from Maine, were n the house awaiting the celebration.  

Troy told me that he was so nervous!  He said he didn't have a speech prepared and really didn't know what he was going to say.   He told me he could "feel his heart beating" and he just couldn't wait for her to come around to the backyard.
When Eliza arrived, she was so focused on Troy that she didn't see all the lights or the sign that said "Will You Marry Me?"    Her realization is priceless!!  And, after Troy got down on one knee and popped the question, the entire family came running from the house to offer hugs and congratulations.   I have to tell you- Eliza had her camera with her all day!!!!  So, she has the pictures of all of this for her "Polaroid Scrapbook"!!!!   And, she has this wonderful video documenting their romance and the beginning of their Happily Ever After!      


Troy and Eliza plan to marry in November on the beach in Treasure Island, at Sunset Beach House, with their children around them and their family and friends to share their love.   Eliza's eldest son will give her away and the focus of their ceremony will be the blending, forever, of their families.  Troy and Eliza are so excited to share this day with the people they hold dear.  And, as if you are not already convinced that this match was made in heaven, their mothers have the exact same birthday- yes, they were born on the same day, same year.  And, when they went to the web site for the venue they liked, the music played at Eliza's husband's funeral was part of a video on the site- an obscure song that no one would have known to use.  When Eliza heard this, she knew that her husband had given his blessing from heaven too!    I asked them if they were going to do anything symbolic at their wedding. They are going to do a sort of sand ceremony, taking sand from under their feet and having the children do the same, placing it in a jar to be placed in a prominent place in their home.   

Eliza and Troy have a very deep faith.  Their love and dedication to each other and to their kids just oozes out of them with every word and action.   Their love will get them through whatever life brings and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to share this little piece of their life with them.    Thank you, Troy and Eliza, for letting me into your lives and your hearts.  And, for giving me the chance to share your beautiful story with my readers.   God bless you and may you have many wonderful years together and share many more Polaroid moments for that book!!!    



Here is a link to an interview that Troy and Eliza did on local TV about this experience.  I know that when you listen to them, you will fall in love with them just like I did!  


Thank you, too, to Match.com, for contacting me with this story and to Karen and Eva for setting up the interview.  

I would love to be helping this bride with her wedding!!!   She is an inspiration and a darling!!