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A weekly show where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, John shares some bizarre wedding traditions!

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Hi, I'm John Green. Welcome to my salon. This is mental_floss video and did you know that...

1. In Appalachia, ladies use quilts instead of wedding bouquets to determine who'll get married next? Just before a young woman sews the last stitch, she and her friends would throw a cat on the blanket, and whoever the cat jumped on, that's who's gettin' married next.

And that's just the first of many facts about wedding traditions I'm gonna share with you today in this video presented by our friends at Allstate.


2. In Ancient Egypt, weddings weren't religious affairs, so instead of a priest, you hired movers. People got married simply by moving their stuff into another person's house. So essentially, at least according to my grandma, everybody lived in sin. 

3. During the Roman Empire, couples had bread instead of wedding cakes. And the groom would break the loaf over the bride's head to symbolize fertility, in an apparent misunderstanding of how fertility works, 'cause it's kind of a two-way street. Today's tradition of smearing cake on each other's faces is a little bit sweeter, and also less chauvinist.

4. Why do couples eat freezer-burned wedding cake on their 1-year anniversary? You know the second great blessing "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage?" People assumed that when there was a wedding, a baby would follow shortly thereafter so rather than bake two cakes, they'd just bake 1 big one and save part of it to be eaten later. Also if your wedding is anything like mine, you won't actually get to eat the cake at your wedding because you'll be too busy greeting all of your new aunts and uncles. You will not believe how many new aunts and uncles you get.

5. Early bridesmaids were dressed exactly like the bride to confuse evil spirits. It wasn't until the trendsetting Victorian era that bridesmaids began wearing dresses with shorter veils, setting them apart.

6. And speaking of veils, historians posit that some bridal veils had an ulterior purpose, covering the bride's face so that families could keep the groom from knowing what his bride looked like until the vows were already said and it was too late to back out.

7. In the 19th century, Norwegian men would make elaborate ironing boards to give to a woman as a statement of his intentions. If the lady approved of the handiwork she'd say yes. And thus would begin decades of having to "iron out" all of your arguments. Anybody? "Iron out" jokes? Nope? Nope, my bad. I apologize.

8. On the frontier on the US, the Best Man was charged with collecting RSVPs. He would ride out to meet everyone on the guest list and tell them the date and time of the wedding, and if the guest planned to attend they would pin a piece of ribbon to his shirt. When he rode back, the sight of the colored ribbons trailing behind the Best Man was supposed to bring joy to the bride. But I would argue that every ribbon is actually terrible news, because it's just another mouth you're gonna have to feed at your wedding, and you're living on the frontier, you're not made of money!

9. Right, but speaking of the Best Man, the original duty of the best man was to serve as armed back-up for the groom in case he had to resort to kidnapping his bride away from disapproving parents. The "best" part of the title was ostensibly referring to his skill with a sword. You know, a lot of weddings are still pretty weird affairs with highly prescribed gender roles, but we've come a long way.

10. Like, consider the fact that for much history, for women, weddings often were not about choice. It's said that groups like the, Huns, Goths and Visigoths took so many brides by force that they had to keep a cash of weapons stored beneath the floorboards of churches for convenience.

11. Okay, but let's move on to weddings involving free will. No country was as obsesses

10. Like consider (2:57)