September 15, 2010

Wedding Trivia

You would have heard the term Wedding Favors, these are the thoughtful mementos or small gifts, which are given to our friends and family sharing our special day with us. This tradition can be traced back to Ancient Rome. Traditions of the past include the French Sugar coated almonds or ‘dragees’ symbolising the bitterness and sweetness of marriage. Brides of today are becoming more creative when choosing these miniature gifts. There are endless choices available today, wooden animals, glass objects, candles, chocolates, miniature boxes, miniature cakes and many more.

The most important thing to remember that this is a personal reflection and that you are imparting an important message to your friends and loved ones. Guests love to have a keepsake to take home with them so do blend this into your wedding theme to leave lasting impressions.

The Wedding Cake can be made with traditional fruitcake, vanilla or chocolate sponge, rich chocolate or carrot cake. Cakes can include tiers or can be made from mini cakes all placed together, which makes serving the guests a whole lot easier. The three-tiered cakes are the most popular with colours and decorations matching that of the wedding.

Brides can now choose to serve only the larger bottom layer of the cake and keep the smaller decorated top layers. One can also include dummy layers, which allows you the larger cake at a more affordable price. Individual tiers make it easier to transport the cake as the various tiers can be individually boxed and then placed together at the venue prior to the wedding reception.

When arranged marriages were still common in Italy, the groom would lead the procession to his bride’s home and his father would claim the bride, the guests in the procession would shower her with symbols of fertility, wheat bread and salt. Today rice has replaced the wheat or as rice has been banned in may places these have been replaced with petals, confetti, bubbles, and balloons to name a few. Some Chinese would carry a picture of a Taoist priest riding a Tiger and carrying a sword. In Manchuria two men waving red cloths led the bridal procession. Both the picture and cloths would scare away evil spirits who lived in the ground. Carrying the bride was an extra precaution.

Today we use red carpets and white aisle runners, both of which are taken from this Chinese tradition. At a military wedding, a ceremonial sword or saber is used to cut the cake. In Romania the bride would usually walk to the Church with Flute players and violinists who would invite passers by to the church.

Candles have replaced torches, symbolising life and love; these were common from Ancient times and still add romance to both the ceremony and the reception. In Elizabethan England, the court poet would sing a song or read a poem in the couple’s honour. Today we read telegrams and messages from those who cannot attend.

To seal the promise of a marriage or engagement a ring is usually given to the future bride in the form of an engagement ring, which announces to the world that she is to be betrothed. The fourth finger of the left hand is the finger on which the future bride wears her ring. Apparently this came about as Ancient philosophers maintained that a delicate nerve directly linked from this finger directly to the heart. Later recognised as a fine vein “vena amoris”.

Weddings in Africa ISBN 978-0-620-41164-6

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