Wedding Wednesday: Wedding Traditions and where they come from

Wedding Traditions are funny old things, some still play a huge part in our wedding day and some are just down right odd! But where did these wedding traditions come from???
I have been collecting wedding traditions for a while now, just picking them up and as and when I find them, so i thought it was about time that I shared them with you………………some seem pretty straight forward, while quite a few of them seem to be about warding off evil spirits or kidnapping the bride in one form or another!! very odd!!

wedding traditions

Wedding Traditions and where they come from

• The term bride comes from the Teutonic word for a cook.

• Originally, bridesmaids were dressed similarly to the bride, including the veil, in order to confuse evil spirits so the bridal couple would not be plagued on their wedding day

• The saying something old, ‘something new, something borrowed and something blue, and a silver sixpence in your shoe’ is from an Old English rhyme.
The ‘something old, something new’ refers to the bride’s passage from her old life to her new one and expresses optimism for her future.
‘something borrowed’ symbolizes borrowed happiness (usually from a recent bride or married woman) and ‘something blue’ represents purity and fidelity
In fact in biblical days, both the bride and the groom wore a blue band around the bottom of their wedding attire to express their faithfulness and commitment tone another. Finally the ‘silver sixpence’ symbolizes good fortune and prosperity for the couple.

• The giving of engagement rings is a very old tradition, and they were originally made of glass! It was later that the early Egyptians started to put them on the 4th finger as they believed that a vein ran from this finger straight to the heart. This is a tradition that the majority of couples stick to.

wedding traditions photo credit: www.anniepeelphotography.com

• A lot of couples tend to get married on a Saturday, for obvious reasons, but those of you who are superstitious may reconsider with these on the day meanings: Monday – for wealth. Tuesday – for health. Wednesday – for the best day of all. Thursday – for losses. Friday – for crosses. Saturday – for no luck at all. Also the Romans believed that if you marry in the month of June your marriage will be blessed by Juno, the Queen of the Gods and protector of married life. So. If you want to be a happy marriage, het married on a Wednesday in June.

• Giving your guests a small gift, or ‘’favour’’, has been traditional as weddings for hundreds of years. In the seventeenth century ay high society weddings, scarves, gloves or jewellery were often given. As sweets became more widespread and popular this later developed into 5 sugared almonds -which symbolize health, wealth, fertility, happiness and long life. Couples now often give things as miniature alcohol, chocolates, candles ect ect.

• Traditionally, having groomsmen present comes from the days when men would literally kidnap their brides. The groomsmen would serve as a defensive line when the bride’s family tried to retrieve her. They defend the groom and his intended both on their flight from the family and at the service in case the family tried to intervene and prevent the wedding.

• It is speculated that the tradition of wearing a veil came from one of two possibilities: it is a throw-back to the time when the groom would throw a blanket over the head of the woman of his choice when her captured her and carted her off, or when marriages were arranged, the bride’s face would be covered until the ceremony was complete, so it would be too late for the groom to run off if he didn’t like the look of his bride.

wedding traditions photo credit: www.stormysloane.com

• The Victorians believed that certain flowers signified certain meanings and couples may look at these meanings as a starting point for their choices. Forget-me-not’s = true love. Roses = love and purity. Orchids = rare beauty. Ivy = fidelity & wedded love. Peony = happiness. Daisy = loyalty. Amaryllis = beauty. Snowdrops = hope.

• It is said that whoever makes the first purchase after the wedding will wear the trousers throughout the marriage.

• “Married in white, you will have chosen all right.
Married in grey, you will go far away.
Married in black, you will wish yourself back.
Married in red, you’ll wish yourself dead.
Married in blue, you will always be true.
Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl.
Married in green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow.
Married in brown, you’ll live out of town.
Married in pink, your spirits will sink.”

• The white wedding dress–Not only does white symbolize purity and virginity, but it was also thought to ward off evil spirits.

• The throwing of rice is an interesting ritual as it is essentially a ritual of fertility. Rice is a seed and it doesn’t take a far stretch of the imagination to see just what showering handfuls of white seed on a newlywed couple is symbolic of.

• Wedding toasts were originally a French custom. Bread was placed in a wine glass and passed around to the guests. The first person to reach the bread was expected to enjoy good luck.

• The tradition of having both bridesmaids and ushers present during a ceremony derives from the Roman law that mandated there be ten witnesses present at the ceremony for the purpose of fooling the evil spirits who were believed to cause mischief. The bridesmaids and groomsmen would be dressed in clothing matching identical to the bride and groom, thus keeping the evil spirits from figuring out who was actually getting married.

wedding tradtions photo credit www.claireharrison.com

• According to an old legend, the month in which you marry may have some bearing on the fate of the marriage: ” Married when the year is new, he’ll be loving, kind and true; When February birds do mate, you wed nor dread your fate; If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you’ll know; Marry in April when you can, joy for Maiden and for Man; Marry in the month of May, and you’ll surely rue the day; Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you will go; Those who in July do wed, must labor for their daily bred; Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see; Marry in September’s shrine, your living will be rich and fine; If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry; If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember; When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last”.

• The honeymoon was Originally when the groom “kidnapped” his bride he would take her into hiding. Usually, by the time the bride’s family found her, she would already be pregnant and a price for her would then be negotiated

If you know of any other traditions that I haven’t mentioned, feel free to leave them in the comments section. Thank you xxx

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    A really really interesting post!! I thought this was particularly amusing “It is said that whoever makes the first purchase after the wedding will wear the trousers throughout the marriage” – as I am confident that when I get married that will most definitely be me, always spending!! x

      Anette Hall

      So interesting are the different traditions and superstitions. Weddings are so special and should be celebrated forever otherwise important memories and feelings get just fade away easily. I wed in August and everything went to plan apart from rain. Dress fitted, venue and reception perfect, make-up, hair and nails, men’s suits, photographer, car, all sorted, beautiful cake, and church, friendly vicar, I wish we could have the day again.

    Sarah Spangle

    The traditional ‘cutting of the cake ceremony’ symbolises the first task that bride and groom perform jointly as husband and wife. After the cake cutting ceremony, it was traditional that the couple proceed to feed one other from the first slice. This provides another lovely piece of symbolism, the mutual commitment of bride and groom to provide for one another. This tradition has kind of fallen out of favour here in the UK but is still practised in the USA.

    The giving or sharing the cake amongst guests dates back to the 17th century. Unmarried people would take the cake home and sleep with the slice of cake under their pillow in order to dream of their future spouses.

    In Victorian times, the couple would put ‘cake pulls’ or charms in the bottom tier of their wedding cake. The silver charms were tied to stain ribbons and each bridesmaid (who were traditionally unmarried) would pull a ribbon to discover her charm and learn its special significance. Each charm would represent something different. For example anchors would represent a stable life and a heart would represent that their future love would be true.

    Claire Weir

    Hi Kelly,

    Great post, my highly superstitious mum wouldn’t let me wear pearls on my wedding day as they symbolise tears! We all cried buckets anyway :-)

      Yuley Burrow

      Bad luck for the groom to see the wedding dress before the start of the ceremony. This tradition came from the country of India ?? years before arranged marriage was a tradition, by the way, this is a country where arranged marriage is still quite common.


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