In many cultures, the groom historically often kidnapped the bride, and the groom’s friends would help him, leading to the modern-day groomsmen.
At the altar, the groom always stood on the bride’s right side so his right hand -- or his sword hand would be free to fight off a jealous rival.
Flower girls traditionally threw flower petals in the bride’s path to lead her to a sweet, plentiful future.
Nearly all cultures have showered the wedding couple with symbolic food. For example, early Romans or Greeks threw nuts, dates, and seed-bearing plants.
Throwing rice at weddings symbolizes fertility, prosperity, and bounty. In some countries, the bride might even carry or wear sheaves of grain. However, many modern churches and wedding locations discourage rice-throwing because rice can be fatal for birds who eat it.
Guests in ancient times would tear off part of the bride’s gown as tokens of good luck, leading to the tradition of the bride throwing both her garter and her bouquet.
A wedding cake is traditionally a symbol of good luck and fertility and has been a part of wedding celebrations since Roman times, when a small bun, symbolizing fertility, was broken above the bride’s head at the close of the ceremony. During the Middle Ages, custom required the bride and groom to kiss over small cakes.
The phrase “tying the knot” initially came from an ancient Babylonian custom in which threads from the clothes of both the bride and bridegroom were tied in a knot to symbolize the couple’s union.
Gerry and Carole Poll, June 21, 1975, Sutton, Québec Marie-France Lacelle and Joël Quesnel, October 4, 2014, Église St-Alphonse-de-Liguori, Hawkesbury