Long before the German composer, Felix Mendelssohn, composed the “Wedding March” in 1842 for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Richard Wagner’s wrote the chorus “Here Comes the Bride” in 1850, it was customary to greet the husband-to-be with the words “Here comes the bridegroom”.

At least according to Noël Antoine Pluche's The History of the Heavens, written in 1740

They all watched the time when the bride-groom was ready to go, and fetch his bride from her parents house, and to carry her to his own, with all the persons who were to attend and to be admitted into the banqueting room with him. So soon as he appeared, the two chorus's of young people taking their lamps, cried aloud: here is the feast, here comes the bridegroom. … so in like manner, a wedding day was proclaimed, by adorning with flowers and foliage the doors of both the bride and bridegroom, and…

The Greek god, Hymen, meaning the “one who joins”, was the god of marriages. And the hymenaeus (also spelled hymenaios) was sang in the procession from the bride's home to that of the groom's. It was auspicious that Hymen attended the wedding, so the guests invoked his name for if he was absent during the ceremony, the marriage would be unhappy.

  • Can anyone shed further light on the origin of Here comes the bride and Here comes the bridegroom?
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    You want too much.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 30, 2018 at 22:59
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    Archibald MACLAREN (Dramatist.) - used the expression in 1817 - in Live and Hope; or the Emigrant Prevented: a musical entertainment in two acts: Sally. Sir, I once more. take the liberty to ails if you mean to put me in possession of that money i ' Fick. Yes, on the day of your marriage. ' * ~ ' Sally. Now's the time, then, for here comes the bridegroom. books.google.it/…
    – user 66974
    Jan 30, 2018 at 23:23
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    Sorry, I'm fussy this way...Wagner's melody is entitled the "Bridal Chorus" from his 1850 opera Lohengrin. In German, the piece is entitled Treulich geführt - translated into English, it means basically "faithfully guided". It's only called "Here Comes the Bride" colloquially in English-speaking countries. :-) Jan 30, 2018 at 23:33
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    @Mari-LouA - I think it is, as you can also see from comments. The expression "here comes (whatever)" is very common and "here come the bride/groom" clearly became idiomatic after the "Wedding March" was composed and finally used during marriages. Earlier usages may well be casual without any idiomatic sense (like the one I posted), so it is not really clear what you are looking for. In case I am ready to retract my CV of course
    – user 66974
    Jan 31, 2018 at 9:36
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    "Here comes the bus", "Here comes the stagecoach", "Here come the cops", "Here comes Fred" are all idiomatic, and don't need to have been "invented" somehow. People just opened their mouths and out they came. "Here comes the bride" is no different.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 31, 2018 at 13:28

4 Answers 4


In ancient Israel, the bride to be and her family and friends gathered together under a canopy to shield them from the heat of the day and waited for the groom to arrive. At some point, someone with keen eyesight would see the groom coming from afar and call out "the bridegroom comes".

  • Interesting anecdote, but do you have a source for this? Adding a reference (preferably hyperlinked) helps differentiate an authoritative answer (which we encourage and upvote) from mere personal opinion (which is strongly discouraged and may attract downvotes). For further guidance, see How to Answer. :-) Oct 18, 2020 at 0:45
  • The reference is now in another answer.
    – Andrew Leach
    Oct 18, 2020 at 8:18

Matthew 25:6

At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

This is a parable, of course, but follows Jewish wedding practices. The wedding was held at the home of the bride's parents. The bridegroom would come there and, of course, be announced because his arrival meant the wedding would begin.


Originally the to-be-married man (whom we call the bridgroom or simply the groom) was the bride's guma or brideguma, "guma" being a now-obsolete Anglo-Saxon word for "man, person, earthly being", cognate with the Latin "homo" (as in Homo sapiens). But "guma" became confused with "groom", a word of uncertain origin, meaning "servant or attendant" (and later, someone who cared for horses), so we now say "bridegroom". "Bride" is of uncertain origin, but early on meant a woman about to be, or newly, married.

  • The OED traces back "bride" to "Germanic *brûđi-z", so I'd say the origin is not uncertain. But I think the question is about the phrase as a whole, not its constituent words.
    – Laurel
    Apr 27, 2018 at 4:55

'Here comes the bride' implies that the wedding guests are gathered before the bride arrives. That everyone has been waiting for the bride, and then she shows up, usually accompanied by her father. All eyes turn towards her arrival, and 'here comes the bride'.

The Wedding March by Robert Wagner colloquially known as 'Here comes the bride' became popular when Victoria, Princess Royal, the daughter of Queen Victoria, used it for her wedding in 1858.

In modern times, the father leads his daughter, the bride, up the aisle, to 'give her away' - this is where traditionally the woman passes out of the care and control of her father, into that of her husband - and the music 'here comes the bride' usually accompanies that part of the ceremony.

In modern weddings this tradition is sometimes done away with, along with the tradition of the woman promising to 'obey' her husband (men did not traditionally promise to 'obey' the wife), because modern women may find these traditions objectionable.

So in modern weddings, bride and groom may enter together, or be found by the guests already present in some setting - so then there is no 'here comes the bride' moment of 'arrival'.

Unfortunately, marriage, and weddings have a very dark history, for women, that is glossed over and not usually acknowledged in our normal romantic thoughts of 'the happy day' and 'here comes the bride' - and even that piece of music, from Lohengrin is followed by a scene in the opera where the groom kills off 5 of the wedding guests, abandons Elsa without consummating the marriage, and leaves on a boat pulled by a swan. It sounds like a reversed nightmare wedding gone wrong, doesn't it!


Bride kidnapping is, sadly, another way in which the bride, even today, can still 'arrive'.

See the 'forced marriage' section of this wiki:


Women throughout history have been effectively, and literally, sold into marriage, by their families or father, and raped by their (forced) new husband, to a degree that may make your jaw drop, if you allow yourself to look into it. A dowry or payment was made, making women chattels who effectively 'belonged' to their husbands and did not 'exist' in society without a husband, meaning they 'had to' have one.

If this seems distant to you, in a modern western society like the UK or USA, then look at India, which still has arranged marriages and wedding dowry payments from the brides family that go not to the bride herself but to her 'new family'. 'Here comes the bride' - with her bounty.


Auctioning brides. According to Herodotus, 484–c. 425 BC, in Babylon, auctions of women for marriage were held annually. The auctions began with the woman the auctioneer considered to be the most beautiful and progressed to the least. It was considered illegal to allow a daughter to be auctioned independently, outside of the 'market'. In this case, all the young women were herded into one place, and sold - not 'here comes the bride', but 'here are the brides'. This is not by the way an isolated incident, it was commonplace, and widespread, and not just in Babylon.




  • Most of this is superfluous to the question.
    – Mary
    Oct 18, 2020 at 2:02

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