White was the colour which the ancient Romans believed would ward off evil spirits. It had nothing to do with purity or virginity, the veil was also designed to protect the Bride from evil spirits seeing her beauty and being jealous.
The Wedding Bouquet
In olden days this was made up of strong smelling herbs to frighten away evil spirits, and to surround the couple with beauty. Most flowers have their own meaning. The bouquet used to always contain orange blossom which symbolised fertility.
The cake is a very ancient feature of the marriage feast. The richer the mixture the more abundant the marriage would be. The original mix was of sesame seed and honey. The first slice should always be cut by the Bride and Groom.
The first photograph was taken in France in 1826. It took eight hours to make the exposure. Luckily today's Bride and Groom don't have to stand still that long. In 1853 William Fox Talbot of Britain invented the process of making a negative from which later prints could be taken. The first colour photograph was taken in 1861.
Tossing the Slice
Believing that newly weds brought good luck, they were showered with nuts and grains to ensure a bountiful harvest. This has now become the throwing of confetti.
Today's practice of using vintage cars and horse-drawn vehicles probably began about 30 years ago and sets the scene in the manner of the elegant 20's
Throwing of Old Shoes
This was the traditional way of transffering the responsibility of the Bride's father to her new husband - now best kept alive by tying shoes to the back of cars.
Centuries ago, it was customary for the Bride and Groom to drink mead (a wine made from honey) for a month after the wedding. A month was known as 'moon' - hence honeymoon.
Suggested Top Table Seating Plan
Chief Bridesmaid, Bridesmaid, Groom's Father, Bride's Mother, Groom, Bride, Bride's Father, Groom's Mother, Best Man
The Perfect Reception
At the reception the usual line-up waiting to greet the guests is as follows: Bride and Groom, Bride's Parents, Groom's Parents, Bridesmaids and Best Man. The line-up ensures that both families have the opportunity to speak to all the guests, but conversation should be kept to a polite minimum as the queue can become unwieldy.
Toast and Speeches
These would normally take place at the end of the meal. The following is the usual order of proceedings:
1. Toast to 'The Bride and Groom'. This is normally proposed by the Bride's father.
2. Toast to 'The Bridesmaids'. This is always proposed by the Groom following his response to the first toast.
3. The Best Man would then respond to the Groom's speech on behalf of the Bridesmaids. He would also read any special greeting cards to the guests.
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