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Why the Bride Wears White and the Man Stands on the Right

You know those wedding traditions you follow just because they are tradition. You do it because everyone else does and has for what seems like forever. Now, we are explaining how two popular customs began. Why brides wear white and why men stand on the right during the wedding ceremony.

Why Do Brides Wear White on Their Wedding Days?

Believe it or not, a bride wearing white on her wedding day is a fairly recent change. In the 18th century, brides wore their Sunday best to their wedding. Before that, red was a favorite color in most of Europe; in fact, it is still popular in many Asian cultures.

It is said that white became popular for brides in 1840, when Queen Victoria of England married Albert of Saxe-Coberg. At that time, white was a sign of wealth because the person wearing it could afford to purchase a dress or outfit that could be worn once and thrown away. Remember, white dresses would be next to impossible to clean in the 1840's.

It was not until the 19th and early 20th centuries that white dresses gained in popularity. As videos and pictures of the world's wealthiest and most famous weddings began to spread and cleaning methods improved, white dresses became more accessible to the general public.

Eventually white came to symbolize a bride's joy and purity on her wedding day, but anymore it is acceptable for any bride to wear white no matter her age or if she was married in the past. Before white became practical for everyone to wear, blue dresses were used to symbolize the bride's purity. Today, some brides choose to wear pink, silver, champagne or gold dresses on their wedding day, but often this is done simply as a fashion statement.

Why Do Men Stand on the Right During the Wedding Ceremony?

We had a lot of fun researching this wedding custom. There are several ideas about why men stand on the right, but the most prevailing theory is that long ago a man's right arm was considered his "fighting arm". If the groom had to protect his bride from attackers, he would be able to hold her with the left arm and protect her with the right. This tradition is said to date back to the time when men took their brides by force and needed to fend of angry family members while an officiant married the couple.

Another explanation said men and women used to be split up when they went to church, with the men sitting on the right and the women on the left. Because of this, it made sense for the woman to stand on her side of the church and the man to stand on his.

Our personal favorite is the idea that at the end of the ceremony, when the newlyweds turn and face the audience, the woman is standing to the man's right. This symbolizes her spot as his "right hand" through the rest of their lives together.

Should your future husband be left handed and, therefore, must stand on the left to keep attackers at bay, be sure to check with the officiant before making the change. In some religious ceremonies, including a Jewish one, the side each person stands on has significance. Your officiant should be happy to explain any religious reason to stand in a certain order or allow you to switch sides if you wish.

Amanda Meyer, Bridal Elements is your source for all wedding accessories such as wedding cake toppers, unity candles, cake servers and more.

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