Hello again, on the last two occasions we were together we spoke about the History of The Bull and then about Gerrards Cross itself, today we are going to spend some time on Weddings, one of the favourite and most successful of all of the functions and events we have the pleasure of hosting at The Bull.
It seems though if the Metro are to be believed that Weddings are slowly but surely on the decrease, with many people cohabiting rather than marrying and delaying their wedding plans with many setting a “to-do” list before getting married, and with money getting tighter these things get harder to achieve.
Weddings are at their lowest rate since records began, 21.3 out of 1000 men and 19.2 out of 1000 women over 16 married in 2009. Compared to 480,285 weddings which took place in 1972, only 266,950 weddings were held in Britain in 2009.
Precisely where and when the first wedding was held will never be known, but it was an important turning point in human society. The tribes of prehistory were nomadic in nature, grouping together for protection against predators like saber-toothed cats, wolves and bears, and also to make it easier to secure water and their own hunting territories against rival groups. The idea of a caveman bashing a cavewoman over the head before getting hold of her by the hair, which has been popularized by early movies as a Stone Age wedding, does however seem to be far from the truth.
The first civilization that recognized the idea of marriage in law was ancient Egypt, Here, the marriage also existed as a legally enforceable fact, and the wives actually had more rights in this ancient land than for a large segment of modern western history, including the right of divorce.
The engagement was also invented by the ancient Egyptians, for the couple to get to know each other better, and see that they were indeed compatible. The marriage contract stipulated all rights of both the bride and groom, and their duties as well, so they knew what to expect before the wedding itself.
The Roman Empire was no different in considering marriage as a highly important institution. They have also handed down to us the modern word `matrimony’ meaning marriage, this comes from the Latin word `matrimonialis’ which is itself derived from `mater,’ which means `mother.’
Weddings were and still are a varied selection of celebrations, the exchanging of rings seemed to be quite common, flowers of course, as did a parade, and the veil comparatively so as well. In Arabic history, although the prophet Mohammed advised that the couple should meet first, this recommendation was not always heeded, and sometimes the groom did not even see his wife at all until he lifted her veil after they were wed.
The honeymoon is a relatively recent addition to the wedding theme (although what happens on it is as old as the hills). This term comes from the time in the middle ages where a couple were given gifts of a mead wine, which was brewed from fermented honey and spices, to drink for a month. Honey from the mead and moon for the length of time.
Wedding cakes have been part of the marriage ceremony ever since medieval times. Originally they were made of wheat which was a symbol of fertility and prosperity. As a relic of once performed fertility rites, these ‘wedding cakes’ would have been thrown at the bride.
As the wedding cake evolved into the larger, modern version, it became physically impractical to properly break the cake over the bride’s head. The tradition disappeared fairly quickly in some places, though there were still reports in Scotland, as late as the 19th century, of breaking an oatcake over the bride’s head. It was also reported that in Northern Scotland, friends of the bride would put a napkin over her head and then proceed to pour a basket of bread over her!
The multi-tiered cake was originally reserved for the English royalty. They would also use these cakes for christenings, as the wedding and christening events would take place very near each other. This fact rationalized the thought that all weddings should have three tiered cakes. The bottom tier was for the wedding reception, the second tier would be distributed amongst guests and the third tier would be for the christening. As the wedding and christening became disassociated with each other, the top tier was then saved by the bride and groom for their first anniversary. The top tier is now considered a nice reminder of their wedding day.
Now if all that does not make you want to find the perfect partner buy the most beautiful ring and get down on one knee to propose to the special person in your life, I do not know what will.
And we at The Bull will be ready to help create and share that special day with you, we too have a great and long History of successful weddings in Gerrards Cross and Buckinghamshire, our dedicated team of Wedding Co-ordinators and Wedding Managers will be on hand to make sure that your special day can be uniquely tailored so that you can create your own piece of History.