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America dating customs

Weddings in the United States were once based out of commodity, rather than desire or love.

The word "wedding" implied the security the groom's family provided to the family of the bride when the couple married.

In these cases, the bride and groom would meet each other for the first time at their own wedding.

During the ceremony, it is customary to include bridesmaids and groomsmen in the event.

Not until the middle of the 19th century did brides start buying a dress made specifically for their wedding day. The "old" is supposed to represent the past, particularly the bond between the bride and her family.

At the same time, couples began to hire professionals to prepare floral arrangements and wedding cakes, rather than making them at home. The bride might choose to wear a piece of jewelry from one of her elders, or another accessory given to her from an older relative.

Back then, a woman literally belonged to her father or husband. Marriage was a business arrangement that two men would make, their bargaining chips being their sons' inheritance and their daughters' dowries. Also, bigger towns and more spacious settlements meant it was harder to keep track of people's private affairs with their privates. Society wasn't really upset that the girls were pregnant, as long as they got married to the father.

They had something called "laws of coverture" which prohibited a married woman from owning property, even if it was hers before the marriage. The goal was to marry wealth and property together; the people were incidental. So now that neither parents nor fear of death were choosing spouses, young people began to do it themselves. But not all men were that honorable, especially since the towns were now drawing in unsupervised, strange men to work in seaports and industry.

If you were 17, you might suggest to your strict Christian parents that you'd like to snuggle up with sultry Goodie Sally from across the hog farm. You've probably heard of this practice, called "bundling," where unmarried couples could sleep together in the same bed, sometimes with a plank placed between them (for all the good it would do). They planned ahead for it like some parents today stock their son's skater pants with condoms. HOLD HANDS AND MAKE EMPTY PROMISES Handfasting, or spousing, was another way for a dishonorable young rogue to get lucky.

In the 19th Century, weddings were typically small, intimate ceremonies at the home of either the parents of the bride or the parents of the groom.

The announcement of the newly married couple took place at their church on the Sunday following the wedding.

Many couples will make precautions so that they will not be able to see each other until their wedding ceremony.

Today, this is done merely to uphold tradition and superstition, but the idea stems from the early days when marriages were arranged.

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