THE ORIGIN OF THE TOAST
The term originates from the sixteenth century. At that time a small piece of bread would be placed in a goblet of wine. The goblet would be passed from guest to guest until it reached the person being honored who would drain the goblet and eat the morsel of bread in the bottom. This tradition is practiced at weddings today - usually in the form of one or more champagne "toasts". The best man has the honor of giving the first toast. Usually the bride and groom remain seated for the toasts while all the guests are usually standing to honor them. The couple may then make a few remarks thanking their families, wedding party members, and guests. They may also "toast" each other or share a "toast" together. Often special glass or silver goblets are used by the bride and groom. THE ORIGIN OF THE BEST MAN TRADITION
Among the Germanic Goths of northern Europe in 200 A.D., a man usually married a woman from within his own community. However, when there were fewer women, the prospective bridegroom would capture his bride from a neighboring village. The bridegroom was accompanied by his strongest friend (or best friend), who helped him capture his bride.
WHY THE BRIDE STANDS TO THE GROOMS LEFT
After the bridegroom captured his bride, he placed her on his left to protect her, thus freeing his right hand or sword hand against sudden attack.
THE ORIGIN OF THE "HONEYMOON"
After "kidnapping" his bride, the groom would take her and go into hiding. By the time the bride's family tracked them down them, the bride would probably already be pregnant! A "bride price" would then be negotiated.
An earlier source is the early Jewish custom of the bride and groom spending a week together alone immediately after the marriage feast. The earliest reference to this practice is Jacob's marriages to Leah and Rachel.
THE ORIGIN OF THE TERM "WEDDING"
Although some brides were kidnapped, marriage by purchase was the preferred method of obtaining a wife. The "bride price" could be land, social status, political alliances, or cash. The Anglo-Saxon word "wedd" meant that the groom would vow to marry the woman, but it also referred to the bride price (money or barter) to be paid by the groom to the bride's father. The root of the word "wedding" literally means to gamble or wager!
THE ORIGIN OF DOWRIES
As civilizations developed, political, military, and economic ties became very important to prominent families and clans. Arranged marriages were a means of cementing ties between families, middle class family businesses, and countries. A man's daughters, who were considered to be his property in those days, provided a means of securing needed alliances with other families. Thus dowries were introduced as a means attracting and securing the most beneficial family alliances possible.
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