by NATALIA HAWK
When you think about it – wedding traditions can be seriously weird.
The whole wedding ‘concept’ is rather nice of course – two people declaring their eternal love for each other, blah blah, lovely, lovely – but why on earth are we so stuck on white dresses? Why do we always save some of the wedding cake? Why does the bride have to be given away – can’t she walk herself down the damn aisle? She’s been walking around pretty much every other day of her life.
Mental Floss have researched the bizarre origins of different wedding traditions – and we’ve rounded up the strangest of them. And… well prepare for your world to be rocked because some of those quaint and delightful traditions have some pretty bizarre roots.
There was a time when a bride’s wedding attire was simply the best thing in her closet (talk about “off the rack”), and could be any color, even black. It was dear ol’ Queen Victoria (whose reign lasted from 1837-1901) who made white fashionable. She wore a pale gown trimmed in orange blossoms for her 1840 wedding to her first cousin, Prince Albert.
Just recently, Jessica Biel married Justin Timberlake wearing a pale pink wedding dress – and the world collectively lost its shit. “A PINK WEDDING DRESS?” we all exclaimed. “HOW OUTRAGEOUS!”
But hey, it seems that Biel was simply going back to pre-Queen-Victoria times and embracing the potential for originality. Bring back coloured wedding dresses, we say. (But other 19th century things can DEFINITELY stay in that era. Corsets? The Plague? Enough said.)
All of our society’s gender issues stem from the fact that fathers once used their daughters as currency to a) pay off a debt to a wealthier land owner, b) symbolize a sacrificial, monetary peace offering to an opposing tribe or c) buy their way into a higher social strata. So next time you tear up watching a beaming father walk his little girl down the aisle, remember that it’s just a tiny, barbaric little hold over from the days when daughters were nothing but dollar signs to daddy dearest.
Here I was thinking that it was such a beautiful, heartfelt tradition for a dad to walk his daughter down the aisle. Turns out it’s all just a transaction. And those beautiful veils I’ve always admired? Simply tools of trickery and deceit, apparently they only existed so that the groom wouldn’t bolt if he didn’t like his new bride’s appearance.