Hi and welcome to Infoseemedia. Today we’re going to talk about weddings.
History of Marriage
The history of weddings, which is…lacking detail…because they’re pretty old. It’s believed that the first dowry was exchanged around 3000 BCE.
The ancient Egyptians, Aztecs, and Incas all had dowries. And there’s evidence of a marriage ceremony from 2350 BCE in Mesopotamia.
So marriages, and ways to commemorate them, have existed for pretty much as long as civilizations have.
There were weddings in China, including gifts and receptions, going back to the third century BCE. And in ancient Rome, marriages were celebrated with parties or banquets.
They actually had a lot of the key components of a modern wedding: families attended, there were gifts (or a dowry), and the couple kissed. Also, a contract was signed, which was probably the most romantic part.
Jumping forward in time a bit, the Roman Catholic Church got involved in the marriage business around the 8th century CE. That’s when the marriage started to be considered a sacrament, which was made canon law in 1563 at the Council of Trent.
A couple of centuries later, The Marriage Act 1753 went into effect in England and Wales. This made it illegal to get married in secret.
Informal marriages had been part of those societies, but the government wanted to get the law involved. Brides and grooms were required to sign a marriage register. If they couldn’t write, they had to make some kind of mark on it.
As for attire at these early weddings, until the mid-1800s, a bride just wore the nicest thing she owned. It was important to seem like she came from a rich family. Remember: dowries and marriage have been intertwined since the very beginning. So, she’d wear her nicest clothes, which could include many layers of material like fur, silk, and velvet. Around 1840, white became the trendy dress color in the west.