The Evolution of Weddings: From Financial Transactions to Celebrations of Love

Discover how weddings evolved from financial transactions to celebrations of love over time! Learn about the origin and evolution of weddings from ancient times to modern day.

The Evolution of Weddings: From Financial Transactions to Celebrations of Love

The first recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies bringing a woman and a man together dates back to around 2350 BC. For the next few hundred years, marriage became a widespread institution embraced by the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. In the past, marriage was a financial transaction that solidified into a social exchange. The wedding guests witnessed the exchange, making the contract legitimate.

Suitors would go to the father of a young woman and offer him gifts in exchange for the hand of his daughter in marriage. Marriage comes from Middle English, which was first seen in 1250-1300 CE. However, it is likely that the old institution predates this date. The primary purpose of marriage was to act as an alliance between families.

Most couples did not get married because they were in love, but because of economic relationships. The people involved didn't have much to say about the decision then, and they often don't have much to say today either.

Getting married

used to be a much looser matter. In most cultures, the consent of both parties was simply required, usually in the presence of witnesses.

In the Middle Ages, English couples showed their consent by accepting an object given to them by their beloved. This object was called “marriage” and was often a ring. The ceremony of bringing two people together in marriage was then called “wedding”, a word that we still use today. Today, weddings are celebrated with much more enthusiasm and joy than ever before.

Couples now have more freedom to customize their wedding ceremonies according to their wishes and provide much needed originality. The answer to changing the rules of marriage lies in the hearts of lovebirds who get married. Originally, wedding parties played completely different roles than being a support group that delivers sincere speeches with hazy eyes. It is hardly possible to trace their origins completely, because cultures around the world have iterations of the marriage or union of two (or more) beings mixed in their mythologies, legends and folklore.

Greta Sorgente
Greta Sorgente

Lifelong analyst. Total bacon enthusiast. Passionate bacon trailblazer. Avid problem solver. Typical music junkie. Wannabe music evangelist.

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