Weddings and traditions go hand-in-hand. You’ve all heard of the bouquet toss, the garter toss, the bride wearing a white dress, and saving the top layer of the wedding cake. But just where did those age-old wedding traditions originate anyway? Here are 7 wedding traditions for us to explore!
White Wedding Dress
Before the mid-1800s, brides actually wore red. But Queen Victoria wanted to break from that tradition and instead chose a white, lacy dress when she married Prince Albert.
In modern times, white was associated with purity, but when Victoria first donned the color for her wedding, it actually represented wealth.
Wearing a Veil
Originally, the tradition of wearing a veil was for the bride to be protected from evil, jealous spirits – and to preserve her modesty. In Ancient Greece and Rome, the veil was worn to confuse the devil and to protect the bride from the “evil eye.”
However, in some regions, dear old dad insisted that his daughter wear a veil to hide her face and to trick the groom into marrying a daughter who was, shall we say, beautiful on the inside!
The delicate headpiece was also used in arranged marriages to hide the identity of the bride until the unveiling during the ceremony.
Flower Girl & Ring Bearer
The tradition of having a flower girl and ring bearer actually represents fertility, symbolizing the biological children the couple are expected to have. They also act as good luck charms so that the couple has no problems conceiving – based on the antiquated belief that the sole purpose of marriage is to procreate.
Flowers also represent fertility, and this explains why flower girls throw the flowers during the processional. This acts as a blessing on the couple to have even more fertility!
Saving the Top Layer of Wedding Cake
It’s no secret that newlyweds save the top layer of their wedding cake and freeze it. On their first anniversary, married couples would thaw the cake and eat it together.
But did you know that saving the top layer also has to do with having a baby?
“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage.”
In times past, it was a natural assumption that the new bride would have a baby within the first year of marriage. The top layer of wedding cake saved by the newlyweds so that they wouldn’t have to spend money on another cake to celebrate the announcement of the pregnancy!
Bouquet & Garter Tosses
In Ancient Greece, the bouquet itself was originally clusters of herbs and spices – not flowers – and was believed to ward off evil spirits.
In years past, couples didn’t wait until they were alone on their honeymoon to consummate their marriage. The deed was actually done right after saying “I do.” While this was no surprise to the family members and other guests, the bouquet toss started as a way to distract the couple so they could concentrate on the task at hand. Meanwhile, all the single ladies were busy fighting over the aromatic blooms.
Likewise, the garter toss was a wedding tradition that started to prove that the groom had made the marriage “official.” Eager guests waited outside the bedchamber and received their proof when the garter was tossed out the door to them.
Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue
This wedding tradition also dates back to the Victorian era. The old, new, borrowed and blue items were thought to bring good fortune to the bride especially when worn together for the ceremony.
The “something old” item represented the connection the bride had with her family and her past. “Something new” signified the new family she was about to join and her new future. “Something borrowed” was an item to be given to the bride from a happily married couple, so that their good fortune would be passed along to the new couple. And the “something blue” item reflected the faithfulness and loyalty in the relationship between the bride and groom.
And a Silver Sixpence In Your Shoe…
But what is a “silver sixpence in your shoe?” Currently, a sixpence is worth about 50 cents of American money. This wedding tradition encouraged the bride to tuck a sixpence in her shoe for good luck.
Bride’s Father Walking Her Down the Aisle
This wedding tradition dates back to when arranged marriages were popular, representing a “giving away” of the bride. Somewhat like transferring ownership of a car! How ridiculous, right?
But back in those golden, olden days, young women were used as collateral to settle debts and arguments with neighboring tribes. This tradition also elevated the father’s status by marrying his daughter off into a wealthy family.
Today, many brides look forward to the moment their father can escort them down the aisle and are happy to honor him in this way. But new traditions are forming – both parents, stepparents, and siblings do the escorting these days.
Now, brides aren’t the only ones who walk down the aisle. For example, my wedding was outdoors and there were two brick paths that merged together and then continued as one towards the gazebo. I had all the groomsmen on one path, all the bridesmaids on the other, and they met at the junction and continued down the aisle together.
My fiancé/now husband and I did the same. So, my father escorted me on the one path and then “handed me off” to my groom for us to continue down the aisle together!
Make Your Own Traditions
I really think it is interesting to hear couples say they want to include a certain tradition in their wedding, but they really don’t know where it came from or what it symbolizes. While I am a traditional lady at heart, I encourage all my couples to embrace their own traditions and just do what makes them happy.
After all, it’s your wedding! Regardless of whether or not you follow age-old traditions or do something new and unique, at the end of the day the only thing that will matter will be that you married the love of your life!
Weddings are about celebrating love and family! Every couple is unique and special – and your wedding should tell your story! I can help you write that story and handle all the details of planning your wedding. Drop over to my Services page to learn more about how you can have a fun, unique and stress-free wedding.
As always, my enduring promise to you is to help you plan your wedding…
With Tender Loving Care,
Information Source: Southern Living