Rings are still used in most wedding ceremonies today but the roots of this tradition have altered over time. Many people see the ring as a complete, never ending circle; a circle of 'forever', of commitment never ending. This view has its roots in more pagan beliefs. In old Germanic law, a marriage was seen as a business deal.. the 'bride price' was paid on delivery ( at the ceremony) and the ring was given to the bride as a symbol of a successful bride sale!
Rings were given amongst wealthy people, as poor people used a coin. The groom cut the coin in half ; gave one half to his bride and kept the other half himself.
This is an ancient tradition where the father 'gives away' his daughter. The custom originates from the days when the daughter was considered to be the fathers 'property' and marriages where political alliances or business deals.
This also began with the Germanic Goths. The custom was for a man to marry women in their community, but when there was not enough women, bachelors sought brides in neighbouring communities. The 'best man' would accompany the perspective groom to help make the choice. Through the marriage ceremony the best man would stay by the grooms side in case an angry family tried to take the bride back. He would also stand guard outside the newly married couples home.
This again has it's roots back in the days when a groom would sometimes kidnap his bride. The best man and ushers acted like a small army around the groom to stop angry relatives from being able to get the bride back.
In these times the bride had her 'ladies in waiting' and the groom had his 'attendance' this made u the wedding party. Later, as wedding became more planned the bridesmaids would attend to the bride and help her prepare for the wedding for days before the marriage - they would also help decorate the wedding venue.
Originally grain was thrown at the couple to wish them fertility. This evolved into rice and now flower petals or confetti.
Wedding cake was originally thrown at the bride, not eaten!!!!!!
The tiered cake that we see as traditional today evolved from the old tradition when guests at the wedding would bring small cakes and balance them on top of one another; the bride and groom would have to try to kiss over the top of the cake tower without knocking it over.