Everything You Need To Know About Weddings


Hi and welcome to Mental Floss. I’m Erin
McCarthy, and today we’re going to talk about weddings. This episode is presented
by Discover. Let’s get started. We’ll start with the history of weddings,
which is…lacking detail…because they’re pretty old. It’s believed that the first
dowry was exchanged around 3000 BCE. The ancient Egyptians, Aztecs, and Incas all had dowries.
And there’s evidence of a marriage ceremony from 2350 BCE in Mesopotamia. So marriages, and ways to commemorate them,
have existed for pretty much as long as civilizations have. There were weddings in China, including
gifts and receptions, going back to the third century BCE. And in ancient Rome, marriages
were celebrated with parties or banquets. They actually had a lot of the key components
of a modern wedding: families attended, there were gifts (or a dowry), and the couple kissed.
Also a contract was signed, which was probably the most romantic part. Jumping forward in time a bit, the Roman Catholic
Church got involved in the marriage business around the 8th century CE. That’s when marriage
started to be considered a sacrament, which was made canon law in 1563 at the Council
of Trent. A couple centuries later, The Marriage Act 1753 went into effect in England and Wales.
This made it illegal to get married in secret. Informal marriages had been part of those
societies, but the government wanted to get the law involved. Brides and grooms were required
to sign a marriage register. If they couldn’t write, they had to make some kind of mark
on it. As for attire at these early weddings, until
the mid-1800s, a bride just wore the nicest thing she owned. It was important to seem
like she came from a rich family. Remember: dowries and marriage have been intertwined
since the very beginning. So, she’d wear her nicest clothes, which could include many
layers of material like fur, silk, and velvet. Around 1840, white became the trendy dress
color in the west. According to a 2017 survey, the average cost
of a wedding in the U.S. was $30,000. $30,000 is a lot of money, but rest assured: You don’t
have to spend all that to have an incredible wedding. These tips and tricks brought to
you by Discover will help you save big on your big day. The first step you should take when planning your wedding? Check your credit score. When it comes to paying for a wedding and starting a life with your future spouse, It is important to have a mutual understanding of your credit scores and finances. Before you start booking that swing band, head on over to Discover Free Credit Scorecard, where you can check your credit score for free, even if you’re not a customer. Now that your finances are in order, time to get planning. Consider getting married on a Friday or a
Sunday: Venues often charge more for Saturday weddings, while booking on an “off night”
could get you discounts on everything from the space itself to the catering. Another easy way to save money is to consider getting married in the “off” season. In many parts of the country, wedding season runs from April to June and September to November. Outside of those months, venues are less expensive. Skip the open bar: Alcohol is one of the biggest
wedding expenses, especially if you’re doing an open bar. But there are more budget friendly
options that your guests will still enjoy, like wine and beer packages that include signature
cocktails. If you really want to save money, buy the alcohol yourself—you won’t be
subject to markups from the caterers, and you can likely return what you don’t use. Think outside the box when it comes to dessert:
Wedding cakes are pricey—the average cost is $540. So you can save some money by going
with something less traditional, like pie or cupcakes. If you have your heart set on
a cake, buy one from the store and dress it up with flowers. Order wholesale flowers to make your own centerpieces:
Your bouquets will be in basically every photo from your wedding, so you might want to go
with a professional there. But you can definitely order flowers from wholesale vendors and DIY
your centerpieces with some friends to save some money. Hire a day-of coordinator instead of a wedding
planner: It might be tempting to hire a person to plan the whole shebang for you, but if
you’re on a budget, find a day-of coordinator instead. They’ll be less expensive and can
still handle logistics for you so you can save and truly enjoy your big day. Before
you hire someone, though, check with your caterer and venue to see if they’ll have
a day-of coordinator on-hand that’s included in your fee Planning a wedding might seem like a daunting
task—especially when you’re creating a budget and figuring out how to pay for it.
Before utilizing any of our thrifty steps, your first stop should be keeping up-to-date
on your credit score. Discover’s Free Credit Scorecard will let you check your latest number
and won’t impact your score. It’s totally free, even if you aren’t a Discover customer.
Check yours in seconds. Visit Discover.com to learn more. Now let’s move on to some facts about weddings. In Finland, it was once customary for the
bride to collect the wedding gifts herself by going door-to-door with a pillowcase. Hopefully
no cookware sets were involved. In Yemen, the groom’s father traditionally
scatters raisins, representing the couple’s happiness, which the guests collect. During the Middle Ages, brides had herbs and
garlic in their bouquets due to a superstition that it staved off evil. In 2011, a woman in England found her wedding
ring on a carrot in her garden after losing it sixteen years earlier. She took the ring
off while baking in 1995, then after years of looking, she found it while pulling carrots
in her yard. In 1947, a woman got married in a dress made
partially from a nylon parachute. Her groom had used the parachute to save his own life
during World War II. And she, along with a seamstress, turned it into a wedding dress.
Her son’s wife went on to wear it at her wedding. Royal Weddings are partially paid for by the
Royal Family. But British taxpayers handle the security costs. So the 2011 Royal Wedding
cost $34 million, but an estimated $32 million of that was for security. There are some practices that you might not
know are sometimes considered bad wedding etiquette. Like, wearing something fancy in
your hair, which is supposed to be the bride’s thing. Or bringing a large gift that will
be difficult for the couple to take out of the venue and fit into a car with everything
else. If it’s super bulky — you should mail it. Also, it might not be the best idea
to take pictures of the couple at the ceremony and immediately post them on social media.
Make sure you pay attention to any announcements regarding photography. Since the 1950s, it has been legal to marry
a dead person in France (after approval from the President and the Justice Minister). The
catch is: you have to show that you were already planning a marriage with the person when they
died. And in Texas, it’s legal to marry someone
who isn’t in the same place as you. This was important to a couple in 2003 who wed
while she was on the ground and he was in the international space station, orbiting
the earth. He said his vows over video chat. But, she did have a cardboard cutout of him
attend the reception. One common big question related to wedding
traditions is: why do bridesmaids wear matching dresses? So bridal parties have been around since ancient
Rome, where there was a law that ten people had to witness each wedding. From these very
early days, bridesmaids dressed the same…as the bride. They were meant to act as a confusing distraction
during the ceremony for evil spirits or men who’d been rejected by the bride. If anyone
tried to interrupt the wedding, they would hopefully become disoriented by all of the
matching outfits. At least long enough for the marriage to become official (and officially
not cursed). This is also why brides started wearing veils. It made them less recognizable
to mean-spirited wedding crashers. Early weddings involved a surprising amount of intentional
bride-disguising. Anyway, a similar tradition of matching bridesmaids
grew in feudal China for the same reason. And in both places, the bride and her bridesmaids
may have travelled long distances to get to the groom and his family. So on some of these
longer journeys, the “fake brides” may have been more necessary. Then, in the Victorian era, brides started
dressing up more than their bridesmaids, but the bridesmaid tradition had stuck. They continued
to wear the same outfit. Back then, their uniform was a white dress with a veil that
was shorter than the bride’s fancy long one. We’re going to finish up with wedding cakes. There’s documentation of special wedding
carbs from the first century CE. Biographer of Alexander the Great, Quintus Curtius, wrote
that Alexander’s father-in-law “ordered bread to be brought…for this was the most
sacred symbol of betrothal among the Macedonians. The bread was cut with a sword and both men
tasted it.” That wasn’t too different from the wheat
or barley cakes of the early Roman weddings. The bride had cake hit over her head, then
her husband ate the morsels. This was meant to represent sharing. Before the twentieth century, cakes with one
tier were standard unless you were royalty or extremely wealthy. As for where tiers came
from, the story goes that they were invented by a baker’s apprentice in the 18th century
in London. He proposed to his boss’s daughter with a tiered cake. In 17th century England, a tradition started
in which weddings had both a “bride cake” and a smaller “black cake” for the groom.
The bride’s cake typically had white icing; it’s the one we’re familiar with today.
The groom’s cake was mostly phased out over time. And that white icing said a lot about a couple.
In the mid-sixteenth century in England, sugar was becoming more prominent than ever. Around
this time, whiter cakes meant the family had more money because whiter sugar was more refined
and expensive. In Victorian times, people saved a slice of
their wedding cake to put on their first baby’s christening cake. Nowadays, you can buy a cake made mostly out
of Styrofoam to save money. Companies will include some real cake for the cake cutting
tradition, then serve regular cake from the kitchen. Cake toppers are a newer part of the wedding
cake world. They were popularized in the 1950s in the United States. And finally, $75 million is the record for
the most expensive wedding cake. Thanks for watching Mental Floss, which is
made with the help of all these nice people. And subscribe to our channel if you’d like
to see more Scatterbrained videos. Bye!

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