Have you ever stopped to wonder why they toss the bouquet and the garter at a wedding? Why do the bride and groom feed each other cake? And how about those crazy dances? Who came up with the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken Dance, anyway? Of course you know I have my theories about these and other bizarre wedding rituals – or I wouldn’t be writing this – and I won’t hesitate to tell you. Of course you realize that none of this is based upon actual historic or scientific fact, merely the things that bounce around inside my head and need to come out. Please keep this a secret. I have managed to skate through life unnoticed, and I like it that way.
Here are some strange rituals and information that is probably new to you, because I am going to make it up as I go along.
THE FEEDING OF THE MATE: Scientists (me) believe that this ritual dates back to the Cro-Magnon Era, mostly because I wanted to date something back to the Cro-Magnon Era, and this was the only one that fit. Plus, I can only spell Cro-Magnon correctly three times, so I wanted to get it out of the way as fast as possible.
In the Cro-Minion Era (see what I mean?) food was relatively scarce and frequently eaten raw. This is when steak tartar was invented, although they didn’t call it that since everything was tartar, especially people’s teeth. Food was kept at cave temperature and therefore often unfit for consumption. And that is where the ritual began.
Typical attractive cave-era couple (cropped for decency)
After the Cave Minister pronounced the couple “Cro One” and “Cro Two,” the two mates fed each other a heaping handful of whatever was handy (thus the term.) Should one (or both) keel over and die, they skipped the honeymoon and went straight to the funeral. This not only saved time but also expense, as the flowers and guests were already there.
THE TOSSING OF THE BOUQUET: This ritual dates back to around the 13th or 12th Century, BC, when clocks were sundials, so you never knew what time it was on a cloudy day. It also has its origin in the Trojan War, a feud that took place between the Greek cities of Troy and Sparta, two towns that did not like each other because they both wanted the same color on their army’s skirts. Both men and women wore skirts back then, and the women’s were much longer. So the men got angry and decided to wage war to get the material needed to invent pants.
The Greeks were a clever group of people, and they cunningly devised methods of trickery that was employed during combat and greekby matches (precursor to rugby). If you don’t believe me, just look up “Trojan Horse” to see what I mean. It’s all about some guy from Troy who stole a guy from Sparta’s wife. He was sort of angry, and that is where this ritual first began. He figured that, if someone stole his wife, he would make sure that no one else in Sparta could get married (a pre-emptive wedding strike, if you will.) So he hired some devious fellows to disguise themselves as clergy and sabotage the wedding bouquet with a large capsule of hot oil. When the bouquet was tossed, the oil would disperse onto the fingers of the Spartan maidens, making them incapable of wearing a wedding ring, and thus un-marryable.
THE TOSSING OF THE GARTER: This one is too easy. This ritual was born from collusion between the people at Victoria’s Secret and Schick, designed to boost sales. Those people knew that if every woman needed a garter, they would have to buy a new one for the wedding or else suffer the ridicule known as “used garter syndrome.” The people at Schick knew that a woman’s leg would be exposed to a greater degree if the ritual took place. This would boost sales of their feminine hair maintenance products. It was dollars and cents that started it: sad but true.
THE CRAZY DANCES: My first thought was that these were created to embarrass guys like me, who, when they set foot upon the dance floor, look like Jerry Lewis (in a bad way). When I did some digging, I found that I was pretty close.
The ritual of the embarrassing dance dates back to the Byzantine Empire, sometimes known as the Eastern Roman Empire. This was a time where laws were enacted at the whim of whoever was in charge, and sometimes they were pretty brutal. This law was one of the tamer ones, so I really shouldn’t complain. It was enacted by Stumpulus the First, the only wooden-legged ruler that I know of besides pirates. Stumpulus had attended the wedding of his niece and noticed people laughing at him while he danced about to the rocking beat of Constance and the Noples, a local favorite band of pubs in the area. Furious, he had the guffawers beheaded for their indiscretion. He also made sure that, if he was going to look silly, so would everyone else. Thus the Chicken Dance was invented.
Over the years, the number of crazy dances has grown to include: the Hokey Pokey, the Limbo, the Hucklebuck, the Macarena, and anything by Psy.
There are a lot more bizarre and embarrassing rituals that accompany a wedding these days. And if I make some up, I will let you know. As for now, I better end here. I was told that if you write more than a thousand words, you lose followers, and I don’t have enough to be able to afford that.