The Origin of 10 Common Wedding Traditions


1. Something Old, Something New…

You may have begun collecting your “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” already, but do you know why? Each piece has a special meaning. Something old represents the bride’s family and past. Something new is the bride’s future with her husband. Something borrowed is an item from someone with a good marriage to pass on the luck. And something blue stands for loyalty, purity, and faithfulness.

2. Carrying a Bouquet of Flowers

During plagues, brides carried garlic and dill bouquets to cover their faces to ward off illness and evil spirits. That tradition has, thankfully, evolved into flowers.

3. Bridesmaids Dresses

Pre-Victorian era bridesmaids dressed exactly like the bride to trick evil spirits from finding the bride and ruining her happiness. Over time, the bride’s gown evolved into a unique, standout wedding element.

4. Best Man

The best man was once the groom’s swordsman. He could help retrieve a runaway bride or fight off a bride’s family that was not happy with the marriage.

5. White Gown

Bridal gowns weren’t white until Queen Victoria of England wore a white gown when she got married in 1840. At the time, this was scandalous as white was the color worn when in mourning. Before this, brides were usually in dramatic colors with gold embroidery, jewels, and fur. If you’re wondering why Victoria chose white, it was to marry Prince Albert as a woman, not a monarch.

6. Rings

In Ancient Greece, the fourth finger on the left hand was believed to have a blood vessel that went straight to the heart. It was called vena amoris or vein of love.

7. Throwing Rice

Whether you throw rice or birdseed, it’s meant to signify rain — a sign of prosperity, fertility, and good fortune.

8. Throwing the Garter

Long ago, in England and France, wedding guests wanted a piece of the bride’s dress to keep for luck. This led to a tattered dress and a frightened bride. Throwing the garter allowed brides to have peace of mind as it appeased the guests.

9. Feeding Each Other Wedding Cake

Cutting the cake together symbolizes your first task together as a married couple. Feeding each other is a symbol of your commitment.

10. Carrying Over the Threshold

In Medieval Europe, they believed that a bride was vulnerable to evil spirits through her feet. By carrying her over the threshold, the groom would prevent the spirits from entering the house.

Which traditions will you be using in your celebration?
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