In late April I traveled back home to see my cousin, Alison, get married. While all weddings are very similar there is one ritual that always takes places involving the bride. The ritual consists of all the single women gather in an open area with their arms up in the air. At this time the bride turns around, closes her eyes, and throws a bouquet of flowers into the crowd of woman. The single lady that ends up catching the bouquet is suppose to be the next in line to get married.
While I have witnessed this at every single wedding I have ever been to, I have never known how it came about. When you analyze this ritual more closely you can see many subtle hints to its meaning.
It is no secret that on their wedding night a bride and groom are suppose to physically connect for the first time. Using older terminology this would be the same as deflowering the bride. Taking a look back at the wedding ritual we see the bride throw here flowers away, and becoming deflowered, symbolizing her status as a newly married woman. The girl that catches the flowers, and is now in possession of them, becomes next in line to be deflowered, which can only happen if she is married.
This common ritual has been happening at weddings for a very long time as its meaning relates to ideals from past generations. While many peoples attitudes towards a couples premarital wedding relationship have changed this ritual has found a way to live on. I feel the reason for this is that over time it has lost it meaning to most people and is not just a common ritual for brides because it is entertaining.