European Brides and Wedding Traditions

European brides and their traditional wedding ceremonies differ from one country to another. Not only are the languages and the cultures of Western European countries different, their commitment ceremonies are also different. However, they all essentially follow a Catholic wedding ceremony. From Italy to Portugal, from the Swiss bridal functions to the Irish songs, diversity is reflected everywhere.

The exchange of engagement ring dates back to the year 860 A.D. Pope Nicholas the IST, was the first one to decree that the wedding ring  be made of solid gold. This symbolizes that the groom would readily  give up his wealth for his bride if need be. In the same year, another modification took place in the ring. Gold was replaced by diamond. In 1477, King Maxmilian gifted his bride, the ethereal Mary of Burgundy, a diamond ring, proclaiming the statement that diamonds are a girl's best friend.
It was in Italy, in about 1 B.C that the practice of the customary wedding cake was started. The cake was a symbol of the bride's fertility. The first best man was in Germany. Traditionally, the best man was someone who could help the groom to elope with his bride. The wedding band was symbolic of something new in the marriage. The bride’s white wedding gown is a symbol of joy, not purity, as is the popular impression.

The act of carrying the bride across the threshold of the couples’s home was based on the popular superstition that evil spirits inhabited the threshold of the house and if the bride tripped or stumbled  when entering, it was an ill-omen. That is why the groom carried the bride, across the threshold, in his arms.