Amazing History of The Best Man
Yesterday your buddy Paul called you and simply let you know you that he wants you to be his best man at his wedding which is less than a month from now. And you don’t know if you should be happy to hear that though you do agree that this is quite an honor for you. At least you know that you don’t have to accompany the groom to kidnap the bride from her.
That’s exactly what you would be doing if you were born centuries ago in Britain, Scotland to be precise. Phew!
The history of the tradition of the best man goes back to as early as the sixteenth century when the sole duty of the best man was to help the groom kidnap a woman who he is going to marry.
In modern time, the foremost duty of the best man is to help the groom to get ready for the big day, present the wedding rings when they are needed and arrange for the bachelor party. But in the past, the best man was trusted with a very different sort of responsibility.
The Tradition of Kidnapping the Bride
This custom of kidnapping of the bride is believed to have originated from the Germanic Goths. Traditionally, it was usual for a man to marry a woman who lived in the same town or village where he lives. But sometimes there were not enough women in that town or village. In those cases the groom had to go to neighboring towns or localities to find a suitable bride for himself. Once he found the bride of his choice he would soon invade the locality and kidnap his desired woman and eventually marry her. The groom would ask one of his intimate friends who he thinks to be the best man to assist him to support him in getting the job done.
The best man then would also try to protect the couple (actually the groom) during the wedding and make sure that the bride’s family (who would obviously try to get her back) stays away from the place of wedding unless of course they are prepared to accept the groom. And that’s not all. It was the responsibility of the best man to thwart any other man from hijacking the bride.
The best man customarily used to stand to the right of the groom, by having his hand on the sword, throughout the wedding ceremony, prepared to protect the groom and the bride from any probable threat.
So, you should consider yourself lucky that you have only the best man speech to deal with.