Marriage: between symbols and traditions

The bride

Have you noticed that the bride traditionally stands on the left of her future husband during the different stages of the day? This tradition is old and stems from the time when the man who chose a woman took her and sometimes had to fight against the men in his future family or against other contenders. There are obviously more right-handed than left-handed people and so, holding his wife in his left hand, he could freely take his sword in his right hand and fight.

Why does the groom carry his wife to enter the house?

Among the Romans, a legend said that any woman who stumbled when she first entered the marital home would see her marriage run aground. Carrying the bride helps to avoid this incident and thus conjure up bad luck.

The ring

The engagement ring is different from the wedding ring, the alliance. The engagement ring is a promise, the covenant is a union. The origin of the alliance goes back to the dawn of time, already the Egyptians, the Hebrews, the Greeks and the Romans exchanged alliances. In the Middle Ages, simple rings were exchanged.

Why on the left ring finger?

We wore the ring on the left because we thought that a vein called the « Vena Amoris », vein of love, connected this finger directly to the heart and magically enclosed it. We believed that if we did not respect his commitment, magic would work, the heart would stop. In fact, it seems more likely that the left hand will be the least subject to work and therefore the ring will be less disturbing. It is also reported that in the 17th century, during a Christian marriage, the priest who officiated took the left hand and counted 3 fingers, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, then slipped the ring on the 4th finger, the ring finger. That seems more credible to me.

Why is it called Alliance?

At first the engagement ring and the wedding ring are one and the same and are, as we have seen, only a simple ring. The first woman to wear a diamond promise ring was Agnes Sorel (1422-1450). As we know, she was Charles VII’s favourite and not his wife. Therefore, the engagement ring and the wedding ring are two separate rings.

Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg presented Marie de Bourgogne in 1477 with an engagement ring richly decorated with diamonds for their engagement and a gold ring with a poetic message engraved inside for her wedding. The wedding ring is then called the wedding ring. When 2 rulers formed an alliance, a ring was also offered to seal it and the marriage sealed the alliance between 2 beings but also between 2 families. Since the alliance seals the union of 2 people for life, for better and for worse.