Roman bride and groom with marriage torch (photo courtesy of VRoma)

The word for bride in Latin, nupta, comes from the verb nubo, which means to cover or veil, and is commonly used in reference to a woman's marriage to a man. A mark of modesty and virtue, the bride is always portrayed with her head veiled, looking with lowered eyes toward her husband at the joining of right hands (see the moment of iunctio dextrarum) during the ceremony (see options for the wedding ritual). Catullus lyrically captures the words and spirit of the event in his epithalamium or wedding song, Carmina 61. A marriage contract which reflects the responsibilities of both partners has been preserved from 1st century BCE Roman Egypt.
Umbricius decries the corruption of the young married woman, perceiving the messages and gifts brought to her from a lover by a go-between to be a violation of the sacred marriage bond. His condemnation is in total opposition to the treatment of this theme of adulterous dalliance in Latin love poetry.

Veiled bride received by groom (photo courtesy of VRoma)