15 Unexpectedly Barbaric Origins Of Modern Wedding Traditions

    You may now kidnap and strip the bride!

    1. Your stag night began in Sparta.

    2. You can thank Pope Innocent III for your engagement ring.

    3. And Queen Victoria for your wedding dress.

    4. Impending weddings were originally publicly announced to prevent incest.

    Admittedly these origins aren't particularly barbaric yet, with dresses and popes and watered-down wine. But just you wait.

    5. Until the 18th century, it was common practice for grooms to abduct brides before the wedding.

    6. The groomsman who proved to be the most skilled kidnapper became the "best man".

    7. And the kidnapped bride stood to the groom’s left, so that his right hand was free to fight off rival suitors.

    8. Even when weddings became more civilised, the wedding was still a business transaction between the father of the bride and the groom.

    9. In ancient Rome, bridesmaids and groomsmen were decoys for the bride and groom.

    The wedding party dressed alike to confuse evil spirits who might target the bride and groom, which is slightly more commitment than organising the bridal shower, tolerating orange taffeta, and trying not to turn up drunk on the day.

    10. Wedding guests in 14th-century England would literally tear the clothes off the bride for luck.

    11. The bouquet itself was originally made of herbs like garlic and rosemary, rather than flowers.

    12. Tiered wedding cakes evolved through a medieval kissing game.

    13. Roman grooms carried their brides over the threshold to protect them from the demons that lived in the floor.

    14. Ancient Norse bridal couples went into hiding after the wedding, and a family member would bring them a cup of honey wine for 30 days.

    15. Tying tin cans to the bridal car comes from a French folk custom called the "charivari".

    So no matter how awry your wedding goes, just remember it could be worse.