Picture this: You’re standing at the altar, ready to marry the woman of your dreams. Then her family or other suitors come to take your bride. How annoying can that be? So, out with the sword you go! Protect your bride at all cost. Let the blood spill if that’s what it would take.
We don’t know if this is how your typical marriage would be, but that’s how things were back then, according to history.
Today, married women who look back on their wedding remember they had stood on the left side. A point to note is the fact that most have no idea why even if it’s customary. The possibility of this being a matter of ‘that’s the way it’s always been done’, is high. However, there’s more history to this practice than you realise. The act of a bride standing on the left side of the altar can be traced to the old days of “marriage by capture”.
Before you roll your eyes at how cliche this is going to be, just get ready for an interesting read. The reason this isn’t a default mode for typing the knot anymore is that it’s incredibly misogynistic. Honestly, a man “capturing” a woman doesn’t sit well with some people.
“Marriage by Capture”: The Crazy Reason A Bride Stands On The Left Side Of The Altar
The history of this practice is sort of romantic in a chivalrous kind of way. When a man wants a woman against her family’s wish, he whisks her away to wed her. However, the romance ends when the bride is not so willing. In either case, he needs to leave his right hand free to wield a sword if the need to fight arises. He does this to defend his bride from other suitors or any other opposing party. Isn’t that romantic (in a bloody way)?
The groom also had to have a “best man” by his side to help fight. His best man acted as a backup in case there was the need for a brawl. He was literally the ‘best man’ at handling a sword. The other parties of groomsmen were fellow bachelors sprawling for some action.
Although bride abduction still exists in some cultures like Africa, Central Asia, we don’t know if the swords still come into play. However, the practice of the bride standing on the left is very much common.
While in modern marriage most men get permission from the bride’s family, it wouldn’t hurt to hold at least a plastic knife in your pocket. Okay, that’s on a lighter note. No knives are allowed at weddings!
Happy married life!