Usually, the word “bride” is used to refer to the female in a wedding. However, the term can also be used to refer to the bridesmaids. In a typical Christian wedding, the mother-of-the-bride sits in the front row on the left side. In Jewish weddings, the mother-of-the-bride processes with the daughter up the aisle.
A bride-to-be is often given something as a wedding gift by the groom. These gifts are often symbolic of the couple’s future and are meant to evoke the feelings of love, fidelity, and loyalty. For instance, the bride may receive a gold coin. Alternatively, she may receive a freshly-minted penny. The sixpence is a traditional wedding gift, originally from the British Empire. It symbolizes the abundant luck and prosperity that the newly-married couple will enjoy.
The bride-to-be has a special gift to give to the groom as well. A freshly minted penny is a popular wedding favor. She may hold it in her closed-toe shoes, or secure it with a piece of tape. Another common practice is to write a blue message on the bottom of her shoe.
Some couples choose to perform a unity ritual before the wedding. This symbolizes the blending of two families. In some traditions, the groom and the bride light a candle for the mothers of the groom and the bride. This is a touching way to honour the mothers of the bride and groom. The bride also gives the attendants gifts as thank-yous.
The tradition of the bride price may have roots in pre-colonial African customs. For example, the bride-to-be in some regions is required to repay the bride-price to the groom’s family upon divorce. The bride-price in these societies is not intended to be a purchase price, but rather to pay for the loss of a wife’s workers, and to show that the groom is able to provide for the family. In other cases, the bride-price is an indication of the bride’s lineage.
It is important to note that there is no universally accepted definition of the bride-price. Some anthropologists suggest that it is a compensation for the loss of a spouse’s upbringing and work. Others argue that it incentivizes early marriage. The bride-price may not only affect the quality of a marriage, but also lead to more children.
In the era of the bride-price, a woman’s dress was often darker than today. The color was meant to indicate modesty. In modern times, a white or cream dress is common. The bride may also wear a garter belt under her dress, symbolizing her loyalty and fidelity. A bridal veil was once worn to cover the face of the bride. This was to prevent the groom from seeing the bride’s intention.
Several African countries have debated abolishing the bride-price. Some cite the tradition as a symbol of low female empowerment, while others argue that it encourages men to buy wives. A few men reported that they did not understand its value.