I did a wedding this past week-end in Summerville, SC and the subject of carrying the bride over the threshold came up. I was really just an innocent bystander in the room overhearing the comical discussion about this strange tradition of carrying the bride across the threshold. Then one of them turned to me and asked, "Preacher, why does the groom carry the bride across the threshold?"
I did not have an answer. I did carry Jan across the threshold, only because the tradition expected it. It was fun, romantic, and expected. However, I did not know why. As far as I can remember, this subject never came up in any seminary class I took, nor Bible Study I have attended, or any book that I have read on marriage. But here I was being asked a question that I had no idea what the answer was. The room was quiet and they were all expecting "the preacher" to enlighten them with some great theological truth about carrying the bride over the threshold. My answer...
"I don't know."
Quickly followed with "I will look it up and get back with you." That sometimes is the best answer a pastor can give.
But curiosity got the best of me....so.....I looked it up.
It seems the answer goes all the way back to the Romans. They believed that good and evil spirits fought for control at the home's entrance. For good to prevail, Romans felt you must enter the room with your right foot first. This entered the wedding tradition when Romans concluded that a new bride in a highly emotional state might be careless and forget about the right foot stuff. To prevent possible tragedy, they decided it best for the groom to carry his bride.
Soooooooo......the bride is carried across the threshold because she cannot be trusted to remember to use the right foot! Now I know why no man really knows the answer to "why is the bride carried across the threshold." And, it will remain my little secret!
This is my story...