Ever wondered why Brides wear veils, carry bouquets and have to have something blue? Here are our list of top 10 wedding traditions and the meanings behind them.
1. The white dress
From 1700-1800 there was no definitive colour for wedding dresses, historically brides wore their best dress, which could be any colour or style. That is until Queen Victoria married in an ivory-white gown in 1840. White is associated with light, goodness, innocence and purity and is considered the colour of perfection. In modern times white fabric is very rarely used for wedding dresses as it is so bright and has been replaced by Ivory which most people still believe to be white.
2. The Bridal Veil
The Bridal veil is one of the oldest parts of the bridal ensemble. Dating as far back as Greek and Roman times it was originally worn to hide the bride from the evil spirits who might want to thwart her happiness.
The veil later served as a way to hide the brides face from the groom as it was seen as bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony.
3. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
According to old folklore a bride must collect five pieces of good luck from friends and family to wear on her wedding day, often heirlooms or family treasures handed down through the generations. Popular choices include an old veil handed down from ones relative, a new dress, a borrowed tiara and a blue garter.
something old represents continuity, something new offers optimism for the future, something borrowed symbolises borrowed happiness, something blue stands for purity, love and fidelity and a silver sixpence in her shoe is a wish for good fortune and prosperity.
4. Giving away the Bride
Walking down the aisle is a beautiful moment during the wedding ceremony for both fathers and daughters. Although most are shocked to learn that the true meaning which dates back to the middle ages reveals that daughters were considered to be their father’s property and therefore literally ‘sold’ to the groom. Thankfully today it no longer symbolises the sale of a daughter and we are also seeing more mothers, brothers, step fathers and family friends walking brides down the aisle.
5. Wedding Rings
Ancient Egyptians believed the circular shape was a symbol of eternity and never ending love.
They wore these wedding rings on the left finger of the left hand where they believed the ‘vena amoris’ (vein of love) began.
6. Throwing Rice
In Ancient Rome throwing grains of rice or oats at the newlyweds was thought to bring them fertility and wealth. These days we tend to use confetti or dried petals instead - which are definitely less painful.
7. The Cutting of the Cake
The cutting of the cake is the first official duty that the Bride and Groom do together.
The hand of the groom is placed over the hand of the bride when cutting the cake to symbolise his support for her.
Couples are encouraged to cut from the bottom tier to represent the growth and continuity of their relationship.
Last but not least, the bride and groom are encouraged to feed each other from the cake to symbolise their commitment to take care of one another.
8. The First Dance
Dating back to the days of Royal Balls, the first dance was seen to be the ‘opening act’ that kicked off the party.
The male guest of honour would invite the lady of the house to join him in the first dance, it has since become a long standing wedding tradition.
The style is less important than the sentiment of the couple’s first dance together as man and wife.
9. The Bridal Bouquet
During the more grisly times of the 15th century, at the end of the wedding day the guests would try and tear bits of dress, flowers and even hair off of the bride.
The belief was that by grabbing a piece of the bride’s outfit, her good luck would be passed onto them.
And so evolved the tradition where the bride would simply throw her bouquet to the single ladies and the winner that caught the bouquet would hopefully be the next one to wedd.
A similar tradition takes place amongst the men, where the groom removes the bride‘s garter and throws it to the eligible batchelors. The lucky one to catch the garter is believed to be married next.
10. The Honeymoon
A Viking tradition!
Newlyweds were sent to live in a cave for one month. Every day during 30 moons a family member would visit and bring them honeyed wine and thus the term honeymoon was born.