We have all heard them – those famous wedding traditions believed to bring the best of luck on the wedding day. Our mothers swear by them and our grandparents insist on adding them to our ceremony. But why do we still hold on to these traditions? Whether we are superstitious or want to honour their wishes, these traditions have found a permanent place in most weddings.
Pick Up Your Brides…
…and keep them safe! You heard me, grooms. Carrying your wife across the threshold is believed to protect her from evil spirits lurking in the house.
Put A Ring On It
Wonder why we always wear the engagement and wedding rings on the fourth finger of the left hand? It was once believed that there was a vein in that finger that led directly to the heart.
Dress As White As Snow
Historically, brides would wear their best dresses to the wedding. This lasted until 1840 when Queen Victoria chose a white gown for her wedding, an unusual selection for that time period, and thus started the Western tradition of brides wearing white.
Beneath The Veil
Today, the veil is worn as primarily as a fashion piece, but historically, Ancient Greeks and Romans believed the veil would disguise a bride and protect her from evil on her wedding day.
The phrase “Something old, Something new” has a specific meaning other than being a traditional rhyme. “Something old” symbolizes continuity with the past; “Something new” is representative of hope and good fortune for the future; “Something borrowed”, which comes from a married woman, is to lend the new bride luck and joy; and “Something blue” is a symbol of purity, fidelity and love.
The tradition of a wedding cake comes from ancient Rome, where guests would break a loaf of bread over a bride’s head for fertility. The tier cake only became popular when a game emerged which challenged the bride and groom to kiss over the cake without knocking it over.
All The Single Ladies
Today’s fun tradition of tossing the bouquet has a bit of a dark past. In England, women used to rip pieces of the bride’s dress because it was thought to bring them good luck. The only way the bride could escape was to run quickly and throw her bouquet. This tradition evolved into the adage that she who catches the bouquet will be the next to marry!
Daddy’s Little Girl
Giving away the bride is a tradition that originates in the days of arranged marriages. The father, who had possession of his daughter, would give her away to the one he chose. Nowadays it is more of a symbol of father or mother giving away their child.
The bridal party came about in early times to fool – yes, you guessed it – evil spirits who might want to curse the bride on her wedding day. The friends of the bride dressed in similar fashion in order to confuse any evil that was present. Now the primary purpose of these ladies is to tackle a greater evil: the stress of planning a wedding!
I Got You, Babe
Have you ever wondered why the bride and groom stand on specific sides during Christian ceremonies? Traditionally, the bride stood on the left so that the groom had his right hand free to grab his sword, just in case any last-minute suitors came to steal his bride at the altar.
by Sarah Zoschke