Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Inspiration : A Groom's Wedding Primer

Words: I.J Schecter

Some wedding customs endure the test of time. Others change and evolve. Sometimes, grooms feel overwhelmed by the long list of wedding-releated decisions that need to be made. But knowing a little about each one might help you feel more confident about going in. Here's the low-down on ten common customs and where they stand today. 

The Wedding of Emily and Thomas courtsey of Studio Sixty Photography.


Way back, grooms would pay for their bride’s hand in marriage, and this payment would often include precious stones. In most cultures, grooms thankfully no longer have to pay for the bride’s hand, but the symbolic gem remains, and today, it’s the diamond that holds sway because of its combination of strength and beauty. Unfortunately you don’t live in Ancient Egypt, where men would sometimes present their brides with circlets of hemp or rush. Sorry.

Do I have to do it? 
It’s a dent in the wallet, yes, but the engagement stone you present your adored one doesn’t have to be extravagant to be cherished. Educate yourself, then shop around. 


In Roman times, a custom called “joining of hands” was often carried out: The groom would give the bride’s father a coin, and the bride would then be passed from her father’s “hand” to her husband’s. 

Do I have to do it?
While it’s no longer considered absolutely necessary, there’s no better way to win points with your future father-in-law. And your bride will probably love hearing about it, you big old softie. 


This one most likely hearkens back to the days of knighthood, when it was customary for a knight to dip his knee in a courtly show of servitude to his mistress prior to taking part in a tournament.

Do I have to do it?
Again, while there’s no law that says you have to, your bride is certain to love the gesture. Plus, when you tell the story of your proposal for the next several decades, you won’t have to answer the question, “How come he didn’t get down on one knee?”

Liam wears suit from Tony Barlow Menswear. Photo courtesy of Ian Golding. 


In early Germanic days, brides were more often kidnapped than proposed to. The best man would both help the would-be groom carry off his bride and then also serve as welcome help in fending off her often none-too-pleased family. Yep, the old days were pretty romantic.

Do I have to do it?
Choosing a best man serves two purposes. First, it’s a gesture of friendship and an important honour to bestow. Second, it means practical help, as the best man will be there to help you plan and organise during the run-up as well as on the big day itself.


There are differing reports about the origins of the penguin suit. Some say it first came into fashion after Griswold Lorillard — a late 19th-century tobacco heir — wore a tailless black dinner jacket to a ball in New York’s Tuxedo Park. Others say the tradition received its global launch in 1886 when New York millionaire James Potter asked the Prince of Wales what he should wear to dinner at the future king’s country estate. The prince advised “a shorter jacket” which Potter dutifully had made in London. This suit returned with Potter to his home in Tuxedo Park and the style, quite a shock at the time, established a new tradition.

Do I have to do it?
Not at all. What you wear individually is more a question of the overall tone and style of your wedding. In other words, ask your bride. She’ll be quite certain how you should look.

Paul wears suit from Tony Barlow Menswear. Photo courtesy of Ian Golding. 


Corsages and boutonnieres may date to Greek times, when the scent of flowers was used to ward off evil spirits, or possibly to medieval days, when a knight would proudly wear his lady’s colours. 

Do I have to do it?
No, you don’t have to—however, consider that your bride will be distinguished from everyone else by virtue of her gown, while you run the risk of blending in with your groomsmen. That single flower can provide a simple, and very attractive, way of setting you apart.


Some believe the custom of a first dance is a nod to ancient times, when the seized bride would be paraded around by her successful captor in front of all his warrior friends. After that, of course, they would eat. 

Do I have to do it?
Nobody’s asking you to be mistaken for Fred Astaire—or even Hugh Jackman—but a little willingness goes a long way. If you look a little stiff out there, don’t worry—you won’t be the first groom who does. And your bride will still be soaring, which is all that matters.


The honeymoon may have originated as a cooling-off period between warring families after a bride was stolen. The term may also have its roots in the Babylonian tradition of the bride’s father supplying his new son-in-law with all the mead—honey beer or wine—that he could drink. The calendar was lunar-based, and this “honey month” was considered the amount of time needed to imbibe it all. 

Do I have to do it?
Know your bride. If she’s the type who likes to get involved in all aspects of planning, involve her in this, too. If she’s the type who likes to be surprised, spring the details on her after the nuptials.

Liam wear suit by Paul Barry Menswear. Photo courtesy of Ian Golding. 


The evolution of wedding speeches is difficult to pin down, but one thing is clear: they’ve expanded, from generations ago, when simple blessings would typically be given by the fathers on both sides, to today, when speeches are often given by everyone from members of the immediate families to other friends and relations.

Do I have to do it?
Of course you should! This is your chance not only to thank everyone for coming but also to tell them all the reasons you worship your bride. 


One theory says that the act of carrying a bride over the matrimonial threshold was a way to make her seem less enthusiastic about losing her virginity. Another says it was a way to prevent the bride from tripping, which would obviously provoke bad luck and evil spirits. (Yep, evil spirits again.) Less well known is why everyone assumed the groom wouldn’t trip.

Do I have to do it? 
If you're up to it, why not? Best to do some squats and pushups before the wedding though, just to be sure. 

Paul wears suit from Paul Barry Menswear. Photo courtesy of Ian Golding. 

Ties that bind 
The Windsor? The Four in Hand? If ties are not your thing don't panic, this crash course will get you started ... 

Follow Queensland Brides on FacebookPinterest and Twitter for regular updates and inspriation. 

To view the full feature purchase the Winter issue of Queensland Brides here. Digital editions of the magazine are also available now - subscribe here.

QB x

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...