When you attend a formal ceremony the assembled guests are usually asked to stand up, sit down, stand up again, probably sit down again, and finally, stand up at the end– hopefully not too many times that you start to feel a seasick!
There is also tradition linked to where people stand during a ceremony – the most key of these is the Groom standing on the right (as you look down the aisle, facing the front).
In Greek mythology, Paris abducts Helen (of Troy), holding her in his left arm, whilst fending off the enemy (her family) with his right. Believe it or not, this type of behaviour was fairly standard practice in real life too, in those days, and was known as ‘Marriage by Capture’. Despite this rather odd way of finding your life partner, the tradition none-the-less carried on for several thousand years. In medieval times, the idea of a knight in shining armour was very much a reality for some women, and many men carried swords about their person – just as we might carry a smart phone with us today (doesn’t have quite the same effect, but times have changed!). In those times, the threat of violence could present itself at anytime, anywhere and in order for the Groom to have a chance of seeing off an attacker – by wielding his sword and protecting his new wife – he needed his right hand free to draw his sword; and his left arm closest to the bride in order to shield her. Of course the assailant would have needed to get passed the groomsmen standing guard by the groom (what we would now call the Best Man/Men), but that’s a story for another day…
There isn’t a need for sword-carrying, swashbuckling grooms any longer, and more modern interpretations of this tradition are linked to the Bride and Groom being able to hold hands, symbolising the unity and new found strength by joining together – but you can stand on either side of each other for this to work!
To find out how you can create your own ceremony traditions that truly reflect your personality and style – whether for a wedding or civil partnership, renewal of vows, commitment ceremony or something else equally as important and precious- book your free chat, no obligation chat today!