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American Weddings

There are many traditions surrounding marriage and the wedding ceremony, as diverse and varied as one could imagine. Most of those common to Americans originate from the days of the Roman Empire and the European Middle Ages, born from cultural, political and economic requirements of the time. Most of these traditions really have little meaning today, but are observed simply because things have always been done that way. Here are just some that are no doubt familiar.

The Wedding Ring

Rings were used as currency in the Middle East prior to the advent of coinage, and were a sign of wealth. In ancient times the wedding ring was thought to protect the bride from evil spirits. In early Rome, a gold band came to symbolize everlasting love and commitment in marriage, often carved with two clasped hands.

The Bridal Shower

Bridal showers were meant to strengthen the ties between the bride and her friends, provide moral support, and help her prepare for her the rigours of married life. Gift giving showers date from the 1890s.

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Something “old, new, borrowed and blue”

The tradition of carrying one or more items that are old, new, borrowed and blue comes from the English. Something old, signifying continuity, could be a piece of cloth, jewellery, or a treasured family heirloom. Something new, signifying optimism in the future, could be an article of clothing or the wedding rings. Something borrowed signifying future happiness, could be any item from a happily married relative or friend.

Something blue, signifying modesty, fidelity and love, comes from early Jewish history. In early Biblical times, blue (not white) symbolised purity. Both the bride and groom usually wore a band of blue material around the bottom of their wedding attire, hence the tradition of “something blue”.

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