June is the month that is most saturated with weddings. So, to honour it, here are a few facts you may not know about marriage…

  • Before 1753 there was no formal state involvement in marriages. As far back as Anglo Saxon times the bride’s father would lead a public ceremony called a ‘bewedding’, at which the groom and his family offered guarantees to the bride’s guardians that she would be looked after – these offerings were called ‘weds’.
  • These vows and the act of having a sexual relationship made the marriage valid.
  • With the introduction of Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act in 1753 all marriages had to take place in the Church of England, Jewish Synagogue or Quaker meeting, otherwise they were deemed invalid.
  • The origin of the stag night was apparently to ward off evil spirits before the wedding.
  • Women were deemed to belong to their father, hence the term ‘giving away the bride’.
  • Traditionally, the groom would hold the bride on his left arm so that his sword arm was free to fight off any other suitors. This is why today the bride stands on the left of the groom.
  • Wearing a buttonhole comes from customs of the early days of jousting, when a Knight would wear his Lady’s colours to represent his love for her.
  • The ring is a circle representing infinity and undying love. The ring finger was chosen as the third finger of the left hand, as it was thought that this contained a vein that went straight to the heart.
  • Flowers have a symbolism – ivy to represent a long lasting marriage and roses for love.
  • Queen Victoria started the trend of wearing white for the wedding to represent virginity. The veil was traditionally to disguise the bride from evil spirits.