Discover the Origins of Many Wedding Traditions


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Weddings are ceremonies during which people pledge their love to one another and agree to be united in marriage. Chances are that most of us have been to at least one wedding at some point in our lives. Maybe it was even your own. While wedding traditions vary between countries and cultures, a ceremony marking two people’s entry into marriage seems to be fairly universal throughout the world.

Weddings have also captured our imaginations. As many as 2 billion people from all over the world are believed to have watched the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2012. We often see weddings as a celebration of love. Perhaps no more so than when the wedding is between two people who otherwise should not be together. One example of this is a morganatic marriage. That is when the marriage is between a royal and someone of lower social rank.

Modern marriages in the United States have many of the same features. Perhaps the most common of these is the exchange of rings between the bride and the groom. Usually the groom will have already given the bride an engagement ring. This tradition began in 1477, when the Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring.

Dancing is usually common place at most weddings and the first dance almost is almost always between the bride and the groom. Typically, this first dance is a variation of the waltz.

Guests also expect to be fed, so the bride and the groom usually organize a dinner at a banquet hall after the wedding ceremony is over. The word “banquet” comes from the French word “banc” meaning bench. This likely acquired its current meaning because there were always long benches at banquets in days past.

Because of all that goes in to planning a wedding, wedding plans can get very expensive. A recent study found that American couples spent almost $200 per guest. Expense must always be considered when making wedding plans. To keep costs down, many wedding sites will offer wedding packages that feature fixed costs. Find out more about this topic here.

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