9 Common Wedding Traditions and The History Behind Them

white and brown polka dot textile

Have you ever wondered why we do what we do at weddings? Why does the bride throw her bouquet? Where did we get the idea to exchange rings? The answers might surprise you! 

Keep reading to learn the history behind some of the most common wedding traditions:

The Wedding Dress

white lace wedding dress

The tradition of wearing a white dress is a relatively modern practice. All around the world bridal gowns often reflect the traditions of their culture; throughout history, brides would wear gowns of expensive fabric, which were usually bold in color. It wasn’t until 1840 when Queen Victoria wore a white gown on her wedding day that the white wedding dress we know today became popular in the West. 

The Veil

woman wearing wedding veil

Originally utilized in arranged marriages, the veil was used to conceal the bride’s identity until the moment she met her groom at the altar, to ensure the groom wouldn’t back out before the wedding. Now, veils are used as a style piece for brides to personalize their bridal look.

The Bouquet

woman holding beige-petaled flower bouquet

Walking down the aisle with a bouquet of flowers dates back to the time of ancient Greeks and Romans, who believed carrying fragrant herbs and spices on your wedding day kept bad luck at bay. The flowers were used to symbolize a new beginning and a hope of fertility, happiness, and fidelity. Brides still carry on this tradition today, as flowers are a key part of the bridal look.

Wedding flowers are often sentimental and many brides opt to preserve their wedding flowers.

Bridesmaids

bridesmaids wearing gray gowns

Also rooted in superstition, a bride and her attendants would all dress similarly to confuse and distract evil spirits trying to spoil the bride’s happiness. 

The Best Man

In 16th century Scotland, men would usually marry within their small village. But when there were not enough brides to go around a groom would enlist the best warrior he knew to help kidnap a bride from a nearby village. The responsibility of the “best man” was to protect the groom from angry family members of the bride and make sure she didn’t run away.

Makes being in charge of the rings seem easy now, huh?

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

person holding black stilettos

This seemingly unrelated list of objects that brides carry or wear down the aisle is based on an Old English Rhyme that dates back to the 19th-century. The exact meaning of these items is unclear, but the most popular theory is that the “something old” represents a tie to the past, “something new” symbolizes the beginning of a new life with your spouse, “something borrowed” from a happily married couple is believed to bring good luck and even fertility to the newlyweds, and the color blue stands for love, purity, and fidelity. 

Nowadays there are so many ways brides can creatively incorporate this tradition into their wedding day. 

The Cake

yellow petaled flower

Wedding cakes have their roots in Ancient Rome when marriage ceremonies would end with the groom breaking a wheat or barley scone over the bride’s head for good luck and fertility. The newlyweds would then eat a few crumbs as the first unified act as a couple. The tradition eventually evolved into the beautiful sugary tiered cake you see at almost every wedding. 

The Rings

person holding copper rings during daytime

The placement of the ring on the fourth finger came from the Egyptians who believed that it was the finger that contained the vein that connects to the heart. Scientists have since proved that that idea is incorrect. Nevertheless, we still wear rings as a symbol that our love is all for our spouse.

Bouquet Toss

The tradition of the bouquet toss as we know it today began in England. Prior to the 1800s, it was considered good luck to touch a bride on her wedding day. Young single girls would rush the bride just to touch her in the hopes of being blessed with her good fortune so they too would be married soon. Some girls even went so far as to try and rip off a piece of the wedding dress to take home. To escape this mob of desperate women the bride would throw her wedding bouquet in one direction and run away in the other. Over time the bouquet toss has evolved into a fun way for a bride to share the spotlight with her single friends.

 

Whatever traditions you decide to incorporate on your wedding day, remember that it’s all about you and your new spouse. And Avanté is here to support your choices and bring your ideas to life. 

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