If you and your partner have recently got engaged, the chances are you’re happily planning a wedding at the moment. Once you’ve visited a few wedding fairs and looked at a handful of wedding brochures, it would be understandable if you thought you knew all there was to know about weddings by now. It can certainly feel that way when you’re wedding planning, as there’s so much to organise! However, there are a few things you won’t know yet, and these facts might surprise you.
1. Queen Victoria started the white wedding dress tradition
Looking at a white dress for the big day? The chances are high, and that is because a white wedding dress has been a tradition since the 1840s, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert wed. Victoria shunned the red velvet robes of state and instead opted for a white silk satin dress featuring Honiton lace. This bold move resulted in a dress that highlighted the Queen’s purity, made her stand out amongst the crowds during the procession, and also kickstarted a trend across the country for women to follow royal fashion with a white wedding dress of their own.
2. You can rent a wedding dress
Wedding dresses are an expensive purchase, especially when you consider the fact they’re usually only worn once. An alternative option to buying a dress for your wedding day is to rent one instead. This will be significantly cheaper than purchasing one, and you can hand it back once you’re done with it — it will then be cleaned and made ready for someone else to wear. This option is great for the environment and your pocket, and avoids you having to decide what to do with your dress when you return from your honeymoon.
3. Veils were originally worn to deter evil spirits
Back in Roman times, a full-length red veil called a ‘flammeum’ was worn by brides on their wedding day. This covered the bride completely and was designed to look like fire in order to scare off any evil spirits that may have been lurking. Over the years, the veil became a lighter accessory, in both weight and colour, with later traditions involving the father of the bride or the groom lifting the veil at the alter. Nowadays, veils are still a very popular accessory but are often just that — an accessory, much like a bag or scarf.
4. The bride stands on the left so the groom can fight off other men!
It has often been suggested that the original reason the bride stands on the left during the wedding ceremony is to keep the groom’s right hand free to defend himself and his future wife from any attackers. Another popular theory is that it is because the groom’s heart is on the left hand side of his chest, and so the bride stands ‘under’ it. In later years, church attendees would be segregated by gender, with the women on the left and the men on the right, so the wedding placement could be a reflection of that, too.
5. You may have to attend marriage classes
If you’re opting for a religious wedding ceremony, you may have to attend marriage classes in the lead-up to the wedding, or before it is booked. This course is said to prepare couples for marriage and build a strong foundation for your future together.
If you’re engaged, you might also be interested in how to master the seating plan for your wedding and 6 surprising things you’ll need on your wedding day.