While having the pleasure of spending the day photographing the weddings of several couples over the past few years, I’ve taken note of all the extensive preparation the bride goes through to make sure she’s presented in the best manner possible. Where does this expectation come from? Do ideals begin budding as little girls; talking about gowns, long veils, accessories, shoes and other bridal adornment? After all, most every girl I know has played the bride during dress up.
Getting ready for such a monumental occasion takes a lot of time and work. Thus, the bride to be needs the help of her trusted girlfriends, sisters, cousins, etc.. Watching the bridal party fluttering about the dressing room always lends to an air of excitement. There are hugs, tears, cherished letters given to the bride reminiscing about old times, uncorking of bottles and toasts to the future. There are makeup cases, curing irons, shoes, and last but not least food! I’m always amazed at how these women bond and seem to know just what the other needs.
So where does all this originate? I decided to Google and find out the origins of these customs.
An integral part of the first civilization that recognized the idea of marriage in law was ancient Egypt.
The bride would be helped with her appearance, and offered advice, by her female relatives. And wedding dresses were often made of white wool, and quite simple in appearance, and perhaps the bride had made it herself in anticipation of the big day. Although the dress itself was traditionally simple, there was also to be a highly complicated knot tied in the sash holding it up, to tease the groom and test his patience on the wedding night.
Her hair was important, and gathered in six locks, three on either side of her head, in mimicry of the style worn by Vestal Virgins, and she would wear a garland of fresh flowers and a orange or saffron colored veil. This veil was especially important, as it signified she wanted to be married until her death, and not opt for a divorce if things did not run smoothly.
This idea of the veil came from the women called Flaminica Dialis, who were the wives of priests called Flamen Dialis. This was a highly respected priesthood who could never divorce if they wanted to remain within their order. (www.thehistoryof.net/history-of-weddings.html)
So there you have it. I picked Shannon’s wedding to show off some of her wedding day adornment and preparation. It was a beautiful location, and Shannon was a beautiful bride even if she didn’t have a highly complicated knot tied in her sash to tease Eric. :-)