Best man: has its origin with the Germanic Goths, when it was customary and preferable for a man to marry a woman from within his own community. When women came into short supply "locally," eligible bachelors would have to seek out and capture a bride from a neighboring community. As you might guess, this was not a one-person operation, and so the future bridegroom would be accompanied by a male companion who would help. Our custom of the best man is a throwback to that two-man, strong-armed tactic, for, of course the future groom would select only the best man he knew to come along for such an important task. The role of the best man evolved. By 200 A.D. his task was still more than just safeguarding the ring. There remained a real threat that the bride's family would attempt to forcibly obtain her return, so the best man remained at the groom's side throughout the marriage ceremony, alert and well-armed. He continued his duties after the ceremony by standing guard as sentry outside the newlywed's home. Much of this is German folklore, but is not without written documentation and physical artifacts. We have records that indicate that beneath the altars of many churches of early peoples (the Huns, Goths, Visigoths, and Vandals) there lay an arsenal of clubs, knives, and spears. The indication is that these were there to protect the groom from possible attack by the Bride's family in an attempt to recapture her.
Bride stands to the left side of the groom. This was much more than meaningless etiquette. Among the Northern European barbarians (a name given to them by the Romans), a groom placed his captured bride to his left to protect her, as he kept his right hand free to use for defense. Also originating from this practice of abduction, which literally swept a bride off her feet, sprang the later symbolic act of carrying the bride across the threshold of her new home. And speaking of carrying the bride over the threshold, tradition dictates that the bride must never trip and fall as she enters her new home or she will have bad luck for all the years to come.It may well be that even the honeymoon had its origin with this capture scenario. It may have served as a cooling-off period for the bride's family. It was the groom's hope that when the newlyweds returned from their honeymoon, all would be forgiven. An entirely different theory says that the honeymoon is based in Babylonia about 4,000 years ago. Tradition held that the bride's father would supply his new son-in-law with all the mead (honey beer/wine) that the young man could drink. Their calendar was lunar-based, and, as it turned out, this tradition, called the "honey month," was just about the the time it took the groom to consume his gift. Ultimately, this period of time just after the wedding became known as the honeymoon. The infamous kidnapping of the bride soon turned into a fun ritual. The bride surrounded herself with "maids" who dressed identically in a symbolic attempt to confuse the groom and his accomplices. Bridesmaids and ushers have their roots in Roman law which prescribed that ten witnesses be present at a wedding to fool evil spirits who, it was believed, were in attendance at marriages with the purpose of causing mischief and disharmony. The bridesmaids and ushers were instructed to dress identically to the bride and groom, in order to confuse the evil spirits who presumably would then not know who was really getting married.