Here's the odd reason brides head to the left side of the altar on their wedding day.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
April 30, 2018

Think back to the past few weddings you've attended. While you may not have given it much thought at the ceremony, chances are the bride stood on the left side of the altar, while the groom assumed his spot on the right side of the altar. Sound familiar? Indeed.

But why, though? As it turns out, the practice has historical origins, and it may surprise you, and even make you a little uncomfortable: "The tradition actually stems from the old days of 'marriage by capture,' when the groom needed to leave his right hand (his fighting hand) — which he used to hold his sword — free in the event that he should need to defend his bride from other suitors who may try to wisk her off at the last minute," explains The Knot. "Pretty dramatic, huh? Today, most couples still choose to stand with the gent on the right — probably because they haven't really given it much thought."

So there you have it. Of course, certain religions may have specific standards about who stands where during the ceremony, but if you and your partner are all for it, feel free to mix it up.

Now, back to contemplating how long to make the break between the wedding ceremony and reception. Don't worry, we've got you covered for that one, too.