Roman Wedding Customs

During Ancient Roman times, people were married for life, and there was no way to get out of the marriage except through death.

There was no such thing as a divorce.

Selecting a Partner

The Romans would take their time to find the right partner for their son and daughter.  The father of the son was to make sure that their children had someone suitable to marry.

They would look around the area and try to find the perfect match for their children, and then the families would enter into a contract so that they could decide if the couple should be married or not.


In Ancient Rome, the people were not allowed to marry more than one person at a time.  Also, both of the people getting married had to be adults.


Many marriages in Ancient Rome were chosen because of politics.  When someone was married, they would join both families, and so if there were politics that were popular in the family, they would want their children to marry into a political family.


The Ancient Romans needed to marry people that were not in their families.  You were not allowed to marry anyone that was your third or fourth cousin.


If you could afford to buy a ring for your bride, you would do this during the time of engagement, and the groom would buy this for the woman so that everyone would know that she was taken.

The woman would wear this ring on the third finger of her left hand, and the people believed that this finger would go straight to the bride’s heart, and so wearing the ring would allow her to fall deeper in love with the groom.

Wedding Clothes

Women would find a dress to get married in.  This dress would be a unique dress, and it would have a special belt that would have a tie in it.

The tie would be a knot that was custom because it was called the “Knot of Hercules.”  On the day of the wedding, the husband would untie the knot, and that would mean that they were married.

The bride would also wear flowers in her hair and a veil of fabric over her head.


The Ancient Romans would have a wedding banquet that would happen in the bride’s house.  This banquet would be given to the bride and groom by the mom and the dad of the bride.

Here, there would be a huge dinner and wine to celebrate.  There would also be dancing and fun.

After the Wedding

After the wedding, the groom would carry the bride from her family’s home to her new home, and this would be the final stage of their marriage custom.


Another ritual that would happen during a wedding custom of Ancient Rome is when the bride would give her bulla to her father, and she would never wear it again.  A bulla is a locket that is given to the bride when she is born.

When she gives away the bulla to her dad, this is her telling him goodbye and that she is ready to move on and to get married.


The bride will give away all of her toys and her dolls before she gets married because this shows that she is no longer a child but that she has grown to a woman.  This is a symbol for the bride that she is ready to leave home and to go to the home of her husband.


When the wedding is taking place, the woman has to repeat sayings that the priest says to her husband.  When she repeats these things, she is allowing her husband to marry her.

The priest will bless the marriage in the temple, and then the couple will be married.

Facts About Roman Wedding Customs:

  • If the father of the house is dead, the oldest living male living in the home will be the one to pick a groom for the bride.
  • Most of the time, a marriage is arranged before the bride is old enough to be married.
  • The bride can prove that a chosen mate has a bad character and then refuse that they are a real match.
  • Most women in Ancient Rome are married in their early twenties.
  • The bride is given to the husband by being passed from the hand of the father to the groom.
  • Usually, when there was a free marriage, it meant that two people that were soldiers or non-citizens could marry each other.
  • In affluent homes, the bride and groom would sometimes give each other a gift before being married.

What Did You Learn?

  1. What are some impressive Ancient Roman wedding ceremonies?  One interesting thing is that the bride’s father is the one that chooses who the bride is going to marry.  Another exciting thing is that the bride can refuse to marry someone if the match is not perfect.
  2. When do most Ancient Roman women get married? Most Ancient Roman women get married in their early twenties.
  3. Do they celebrate a wedding?   The bride’s family gives the bride and groom a special banquet to celebrate the wedding.
  4. Did Ancient Romans divorce?   Ancient Romans were married until death.
  5. What would the bride give away before her wedding? The bride will give away her dolls and toys before her wedding so she can show people that she is grown and ready to go to her marriage.