THE DRESS

While fashions have changed throughout the years, bridal gowns often reflect traditions and customs of times past…It wasn’t until Queen Victoria of England wore a white gown on her wedding day in 1840 that the white wedding dress we know today became popular.

THE WEDDING VEIL

Arranged marriages are often cited when discussing the origin of the wedding veil. When daughters were considered a commodity to their family, a marriage was a way of sealing agreements between families and increasing assets. A Bride and Groom would likely meet for the first time on their wedding day, at the altar. The veil was used to obscure the bride’s features, only being lifted after the marriage ceremony was completed. This was to keep the groom from backing out from the deal if he didn’t like her.

THE BOUQUET

The custom of flower bouquets has its origin in ancient times. Women carried aromatic bunches of garlic, herbs and spices to ward off evil spirits. It was also believed to be preventive measure in contracting the plague. In modern days it is generally accepted that the bride chooses a flower arrangement that she likes or matches her wedding theme.

THE BRIDESMAIDS

The tradition of bridesmaids have a similar past rooted in superstition. In the past, a bride’s attendants dressed similar to the bride to confuse and distract evil spirits trying to spoil the bride’s happiness.

THE BEST MAN

The “best” in best man once referred to the quality of a man’s swordsmanship. When weddings were used as a business transaction rather than a union of love, the groom needed a good swordsman to help either retrieve a run-away bride or fend off a bride’s angry family that may not approve of the union.

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BORROWED

AND SOMETHING BLUE

Something Old:
Represents the ties to the bride’s family and her past
Something New:
Represents a life to come with her husband
Something Borrowed:
Must be an item from someone who is in a successful marriage to pass on the “good luck.”
Something Blue:
Stands for faithfulness, loyalty and purity.

THE RING BEARER AND HIS PILLOW

The ring bearer’s pillow symbolizes the promises of the dreams you have while sleeping, coming true. A small child is typically asked to carry the pillow which symbolizes innocence, the future and new beginnings.

THE WEDDING CAKE

The wedding cake has been a component of weddings since medieval times. Originally cakes were made of wheat which was a symbol of fertility and prosperity. As a relic of once performed fertility rites, these ‘wedding cakes’ would have been thrown at the bride.
The once simple wedding cake has evolved into a multi-tiered extravaganza. The color of the cake is typically white, symbolizing purity. The joint task of the Bride and Groom cutting the cake was meant to symbolize their first joint task together

THE ENGAGEMENT RING

Engagement bands began in ancient Egypt with the circle symbolizing a never ending cycle and the space inside it as a gateway. The addition of a diamond was made popular by Sicilians who believed the stone was forged by the fires of love.
Why the fourth finger on the left hand? The placement of the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand stems from Ancient Greece. It was believed that the “ring” finger contained a vein which leads straight to the heart. This vein was known as the ‘vena amoris’

THE GARTER TOSS

This tradition originated in England and France. Guests would try to obtain a piece of the bride’s dress for good luck, which often left the bride nervous and tense throughout the entire ceremony in anticipation of her dress being ripped to shreds by the eager mob of wedding guests. To pacify the crowd and ease the bride’s mind, the groom began tossing out a piece of the bride’s wedding attire to distract the guests as the newlyweds made a quick escape from the reception.

THE THRESHOLD CARRY

This custom of carrying a bride over the threshold of their new home came from Medieval Europe with the belief that the bride was vulnerable to evil spirits through her feet. To prevent evil spirits from entering the house which may be lingering at the threshold, the groom would carry her into their new home. These days, it’s just fun!

Hope you enjoyed reading our list of Origins of Popular Wedding Traditions.

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