Wedding Traditions Still Practiced In Almost Every Wedding Ceremony – and their Origin
By Eivan’s Wedding Team
Have you ever asked yourself why you have to wear a white wedding dress on your wedding day? Or toss the flower to unmarried ladies at the end of your big day? Wedding traditions are so popular that we all fit in without questions. Though they began in the ancient days, the modern world still welcomes them without a thought.
Most of these wedding traditions began in ancient Rome, Egypt and Greece. For example, who would have thought a wedding cake is a tradition? It started in the Roman tradition. The guests would break wheat cakes on top of the bride’s head as a prayer for fertility.
Let’s have some fun learning about common and rare wedding traditions across the world.
Wearing a white wedding dress
In the old days, a bride did not need to wear a white dress. Every bride wore whatever dress was available at the time of their wedding.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s were the first to wear a white wedding dress. This later became a wedding tradition for other brides that followed.
Most people believe that white color depicts purity. Yet, in biblical times, blue was the color that represented purity. The white wedding dress continues to trend even with Queen Victoria long gone.
Wearing a bridal Veil
It not an accessory to make the bride look dainty. The ancient Romans and Greeks believed wearing a veil protected the bride from evil.
These evil spirits would hover at the wedding trying to curse the newlyweds. In this Victorian era, brides continue to wear their veils to signify their worth or a sense of wealth.
Carrying a wedding bouquet
Originally, this wedding tradition was a bundle of dill, garlic or other herbs to drive away the evil spirits and to mask the bride’s odor (seriously?). Queen Victoria and Price Albert are the ones who replaced the herbs with fresh flowers.
Over time, a bridal bouquet became the most popular choice for brides worldwide. Today, the flower combinations are endless with every bride choosing their favorites.
Bouquet toss in every wedding
Wedding traditions from the 14th Century demanded that a French bride throws a garter to the crowd. This changed with civilization with the throwing of the bouquet.
The bouquet brings good luck to whoever catches it. She gets a good fortune to get married soon after.
Giving away the bride
Its a huge wedding traditions for the father of the bride to give away his daughter. In the olden days, daughters were as property. Fathers used their daughters as some form of currency to buy their way into some social class or to pay off debts.
In modern days, the meaning of daughters changed. The father of the bride continue to walk them down the aisle as a sign of blessing to the couple.
Choosing a wedding date, day and time – What day did you choose your wedding to be? Did you know according to an old rhyme the day has meaning?
- Monday brings health
- Tuesday brings wealth
- Wednesday brings the best of all
- Thursday brings crosses
- Friday brings losses
- Saturday brings no luck at all
- Sunday …. No one ever mentioned it
It was also said the couple should exchange vows as soon as the clock struck noon. How weird!
The wedding tradition was to protect the bride from competition from her fellow girls. By having all them look the same the groom could not also see anyone more beautiful than the bride. Indeed we carry the same tradition to date by ensuring our bridal party look the same.
Hen and Stag parties
Hen party dates back to 1800’s. It referred to a gathering of women. The idea originated from Ancient Greek wedding traditions. Here, weddings were in three parts. The first part was an all-female feasting dinner called the Gamos.
Today, the bride to be still gets hen night with a modern twist. In the 1960’s hen parties grew more popular aided by The Times magazine. It reported male strippers were being added to the parties. Stag parties are also ancient Greek and emerged almost the same time as hen.
These feasts were for the groom to mark an end of youth life. Today, they are more common and comes with a twist to suit the bride and groom.
The groom and bride must not see each other except at the altar
The wedding tradition goes all the way back to hindu arranged marriages. Wedding customs did not allow the couple to see each other in case they pull out before the day of the wedding. The couple only managed to get a first look while tying the knot. Today, it’s understood as bad luck to see your partner on the morning of your wedding.
The bride stands on the left side of the groom. It is a sign of protection. The groom would had the right hand free. In case any of the wedding guests wanted to steal his wife he would use the hand to fight.
Wear a ring on the fourth finger
Ancient Romans thought a vein ran straight from the left hand’s fourth finger to the heart. Roman Catholics wore their engagement rings on the right hand until 18th century. The Egyptians preferred it on the middle finger. Britons and Gauls the little finger.
Only men are to give toasts
In 1800, it was strict orders to have men give toasts during the wedding reception. They also had a special chorus of males to recite their ‘healths’ for each other.
They did this in specific order from the oldest, the groom, the best man, the groomsmen and the father of the bride. The ladies were never given an opportunity. Guess that’s why this tradition did not see the light of 21st century.
Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue
It may sound rhythmical but it was not as sweet as it sounds or as it is today. Something borrowed meant the bride was to wear a borrowed underwear (nasty). The underwear belonged to a woman who had already been pregnant to enhance fertility.
Today, it’s a simple necklace from grandma or mom. Something old represents the brides past like burying the past. The new represents the married couple‘s happy future together. And the blue is future love and fidelity that the couple will share.
Wedding rings could only have one gem – diamond
America is obsessed with diamonds. The diamonds traced back to the De Beers Jewelry company tag line “Diamonds are forever.”
Modern times have kicked in and the stone’s choices increased. It’s fine to adorn an amethyst or turquoise or even forgo the gem completely.
Newlyweds showered with rice
Rice was once a showering tool for newlyweds. It was to celebrate their pure relationship right after exchanging their nuptials. Today’s wedding traditions include confetti, glitter or sparklers showers for the new couple as they dance their way out.
Wedding cake saved up until the birth of the first baby
Remember the cake was to spell fertility to the couple. Once they cut their wedding cake, the top layer was reserved and kept in a freezer until the little one showed up.
It’s a wedding tradition to encourage the couple to have children within the first year of marriage. Today many couples save the cake for their first wedding anniversary.
Now that you know about all these wedding traditions, you can make a wiser decision
Choose what you want without any pressure from your, in-laws, best friend or the bride’s family. You can also come up with new traditions for your wedding and new home. Be you, do you, for you!