Weddings are a fascinating social phenomenon. And like the people involved in them, they’re diverse. Here are some surprising, funny and downright ridiculous facts about weddings.
1. If you know anything about weddings, you’ll know that it’s traditional to throw rice at the newly married couple. But, what if you grew up in Czechoslovakia. Here they don’t throw rice at the newlyweds; they throw peas.
2. In Greece, soon-to-be-wedded wives stow cubes of sugar under their dresses. This is so that they can “sweeten” the resulting marriage.
3. Have you ever wondered if there’s a way of finding out whether you should marry somebody without getting to know them first? Well, the Romans thought there was. Romans studied pig entrails to work out whether a couple was suited.
4. The most expensive wedding ever cost a grand total of $44 million or about £35 million. The wedding was between Sheik Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum and Princess Salama in Dubai.
5. Some wives have found their future husbands wearing their wedding dresses, locked in an embrace with their best man.
6. The average spend on wedding invitations, like pocketfold wedding invites, is more than £400.
7. You might think that weddings today are superstitious affairs. But back in ancient times, things were a lot worse. Both the Greeks and the Romans believed that the bridal veil protected brides against evil spirits. And that tradition continued down the generations. We have that tradition today because Romans brought their weddings with them when they conquered England.
8. Ever since Queen Victoria married Albert, it’s been the fashion for brides to wear white in the West. But Westerners weren’t the first to decide that wearing white was best. No – that title goes to the Japanese, who have been wearing white at weddings for centuries.
9. The James Bond films first popularised the idea that diamonds are forever. And even before, then diamonds have been seen as a symbol of marital permanence. But diamonds are not the only precious stone linked to marriage. According to experts, aquamarine is also associated with marriage. It’s meant to symbolise harmony and ensure that the marriage is long and prosperous.
10. China is the most populous country on the planet, even with the one-child policy. But do you have any idea of how many marriages happen there every day? The number is a staggering 26,000. That means that every month over 800,000 couples tie the knot.
11. Wedding dresses have always been a big part of every wedding, figuratively speaking. But one German bride made her dress a big part of the wedding in the literal sense too. The dress was 515 feet long. That sparked a trend that caught on globally. Just last year a new record was set in the Chinese province of Xiamen, Fujian. The dress measured over 8600 feet long – or more than a mile.
12. Have you ever wondered where the stag do originated? I’m sure you’ll be surprised to find out that its origins are actually to be found in the ancient world. It’s believed that Spartan soldiers first instituted the tradition in ancient Greece. The idea was to have a wild party to say goodbye to single life. Little has changed.
13. Today it’s easy for other people to work out whether the couple-to-be are siblings. But in the past, it wasn’t: and it was a big problem. The reading of the banns was a tradition designed to solve this. It was a Catholic invention, and the idea was to make sure that the bride and groom weren’t somehow related.
14. The month of June has always been a favorite month for weddings. But have you ever wondered why? Well, it’s because Juno was the Roman goddess of childbirth and marriage. Getting married in June is supposed to be good luck.
15. You may have heard about people marrying their cars and their boats. But where did the tradition of marrying inanimate objects come from? One of the first instances of this sort of thing occurred back in 1976. A secretary from Los Angeles decided that she had had enough of looking for a man to marry. So instead she decided to marry a four-stone rock. The two were wedded in front of about two-dozen witnesses.
16. We’ve all heard about best men who are best men at multiple weddings. But have you ever wondered what the most times any individual man has been a best man? It’s 1,000 times, and it’s a record held by a rather popular Malaysian.
17. According to English folklore, Saturday is the most unlucky day to get hitched.