We think the history behind the wedding traditions we’ve come to know is fascinating. For example, the engagement process was nearly as important as the wedding itself. Weddings were arranged primarily for political and/or business reasons and not necessarily for the notion of “romantic love”.
In the days when brides were stolen, the bride’s family would insist on being reimbursed for what was considered a working member of the family. The engagement signified the transfer of ownership from father to husband and covered a period of time during which families would negotiate and agree on the “price” of the bride.
The wedding band came to symbolize eternal love because it has neither a beginning nor an ending. The tradition of using one grew out of the ancient custom of using circlets of grass to decorate a bride’s wrist and ankles. Although not required to validate a marriage under civil law, rings came to be required during the 16th century after a ruling from the Council of Trent.
Today, rings are not required by law in order for a marriage to be legal, but few couples wed without exchanging rings as part of the ceremony.