Thursday, 6 December 2012

THE MYTH BEHIND THE TOSSING OF THE BOUQUET

The tradition of throwing the bridal bouquet dates back to customs that were popular in the 14th century (actually, it didn't start with the bouquet, read on, you'll see what I mean) involves the gathering of all the single women at a wedding and then the bride turns her back to them and throws her wedding bouquet. It is believed that whoever catches it will be the next one to get married. Meanwhile, more than half the time, the person who catches the bouquet is not the next in line to walk down the isle. Makes me wonder why it is still such a huge part of wedding ceremonies. Nowadays, tossing the bouquet can be uncomfortable for unmarried female guests who do not wish to marry or who feel put on the spot by the custom. Also, competition to catch the bouquet can become a violent stampede. Some brides even stage the event so that their maid of honor or a friend who is engaged catches the bouquet. Others choose to give a small bouquet to each of their bridesmaids, or to give each woman at the reception a flower from the bridal bouquet. Let me share with you the story behind the myth of tossing the bouquet. Very funny story indeed.

In medieval Europe, a bride typically did not expect to wear her wedding dress again, and the dress was considered good luck for other women, a type of fertility charm. After the wedding, single women chased the bride and ripped pieces off her dress, leaving her in tatters. Over the years, wedding dresses became more expensive and it became traditional for women to keep them, either as a memento or to pass on to a daughter for her wedding day.

To prevent guests from ripping the wedding dress, brides began throwing other objects as a distraction, one of which was the garter (an elastic band, usually decorated, worn around the thigh just above the knee to used to hold up stockings). Later, the bouquet became the most traditionally thrown object. The wedding bouquet is particularly suited to this use, as flowers symbolize fertility, and as perishable items, they are not something the bride would wish to keep. The bouquet is also a safer item to toss than the garter, as unruly and impatient wedding guests were sometimes known to try to take the garter from the bride while she was still wearing it. Lol.

Bottom line, throwing of the bridal bouquet seems to me like a tradition that isn't going anywhere anytime soon. It excites guests to see who the lucky gal to catch the bouquet is and just generally adds to the fun of the ceremony. By the way, I caught my best friend's bridal bouquet and I was the next one to get married. Imagine that! True story.

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