While we all participate in the “Traditional Wedding” events, do we really understand why we do them or where they originated from? Or are we used to hearing “It’s tradition!”, that we just automatically include it in our special day? While some traditions have continued to withhold its standing in the centuries of weddings, there are some traditions that are no longer viewed as important. But maybe understanding why these traditions were first started may give you a reason to add them back into your wedding day.
Bridesmaids– Bridesmaids were first asked to stand next to the Bride, in the exact same attire, in order to confuse evil spirits from fixating on the bride and bring any bad luck upon her. They felt the more they looked like the bride, the better chance they had in fooling the evil spirits that may be lurking around the couple.
Best Man– Grooms first started “choosing” their brides by stealing them from their families; the man would take along his strongest, best male friend with him to help fight off the family while trying to steal the woman. The best friend would then accompany the bride and groom up to the alter in order to protect the bride, and prevent anyone from harming her or stealing her back.
Bride’s Veil – The veil was also used to fight off evil spirits; it was originally worn in a flame color in order to scare off evil and protect the bride. The veil later became a symbol of youth, purity, modesty and respect – still continuing the hopes of warding off evil energy. The lengths of the veil started to become part of one’s status quo; the longer and thicker the veil, the more powerful the family.
Something Old, New, Borrowed, Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe – This tradition began with the Old English rhyme “Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe”, with each piece representing a form of good luck. The Something Old tends to be represented by a family object – brides use to wear their mothers or grandmothers wedding dress. Something New represents the good luck, and blessings they are placing on their future; while Something Borrowed was asked to come from a happily married woman, in hopes of passing on the good fortune and joy she had in her marriage. Something Blue is held by the bride to show her love, honor and purity for her groom, and A Sixpence in your Shoe was a wish of wealth onto the newlyweds. While most brides have forgone the sixpence in their shoe, most hold tight of this family driven tradition.
Bride on Grooms Left Side – Because men were so inclined on “stealing” their brides, they were afraid someone would try to steal her away from him; whether it be her family or another man. To protect his bride, he would place her on his left side, so he was able to draw his sword on any harm that may come her way.
Wedding Ring Placement– The Romans believed that the vein in your third finger on your left hand went directly to your heart; therefore wedding rings were placed on this finger. Not only is the circular form of the ring symbolizing the everlasting, continuous love between the couple, but the ring is protecting the vein that travels to one’s heart.
Bride’s Bouquet– The tradition of carrying the bouquet was not always the gorgeous floral arrangements they are today; the original bouquet carried was made up of garlic and dill. This traditional originated during the time of the Plague, and it was believed that holding the bouquet up to your face would help with survival. Over time, Brides started adding flowers to mask the smell of the herbs, and it was later stated that carrying a floral bouquet was a symbol of fertility.
Tossing of Bouquet – After the ceremony, women guests use to chase down the bride, trying to rip pieces from her dress and bouquet, in hopes to receive some of her good luck. At the end of the night, the bride’s dress would be ripped to shreds and she would be battered and bruised. In hopes of not being attacked, the brides started tossing their bouquet at the women and running away. The tradition then later became only for the single women guests, in belief that if they caught the bouquet they would be the next to marry.
Regardless of tradition, your wedding day is about you and your significant other starting your new life together. So choose traditions that represent you, do not use ones that you do not believe in and do not forget to start a few of your own!