“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” ― Gustav Mahler
For this post I decided it was time to delve into the known and not-so-known Wedding traditions couples are always asking about. I'm sappy and I love most of the older Wedding Traditions, as they tend to have a more sentimental feel to them, over some of the newer Traditions, but regardless of my opinion, I want my couples to be able to pick and choose which traditions they want to uphold to create the Wedding of their dreams. I will do my best to touch on the old tradition and how it has evolved into the ones we see today! Enjoy!
Old) "Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe"
This tradition is geared towards the Bride. It derives from an Old English rhyme, which names the good-luck objects a bride should include somewhere in her wedding outfit or carry with her on her wedding day.
Something Old is more recently said to represent continuity and the couples can use this as a chance to wear a sentimental piece of jewelry or item of clothing belonging to an older relative.
However, in older times it was said to ward off the Evil Eye and protect any future children the couple might have (the Evil Eye was thought to cause infertility in the bride.) You may not wanna skip this one ladies...
Something New offers optimism for your future as a married couple, seeing as your are walking into a new chapter of your lives together, and this item can be anything that is new to you! Easy right?!
Something Borrowed is supposed to symbolize borrowed happiness; by borrowing something from a happily married friend or relative, the bride or couple ensures a little of their good fortune rubs off on them. It's all about honoring a loved one or holding onto something of sentimental value—like your grandmother’s wedding hair comb or your mother’s diamond earrings. Sentimental and a bit of a money saver!
However in the olden days, the old-fashioned superstition urged the bride to borrow the undergarments of female friend or relative with a happy marriage and healthy kids for the sake of fertility..... Eww please don't.
Something Blue symbolizes purity, love and fidelity: the three key ingredients for a healthy marriage. The traditional “something blue” was often a blue garter worn beneath the bride’s white dress, but nowadays it can be just about anything! It is was, in the olden days, meant to deflect that pesky Evil Eye along with your Something Old. Double the luck, double the protection!
A Sixpence in Your Shoe is supposed to be a wish for good fortune and prosperity. The sixpence tradition began in the late 17th century as a part of the dowry gift to the groom. As time went on, the coin became more of a good luck charm worn in the left shoe of the bride on her wedding day. This tradition is being less and less apparent as time goes on, not only because of the rarity of Sixpence currency, but the education of the tradition itself.
Old) The Carrying of the Bouquet
This tradition, again for the Bride, stems back to ancient Rome. Flowers were a common decoration at Roman weddings because they were known as symbols of new beginnings, fidelity, and fertility.
Herbs were more prominent in Middle Age bouquets than flowers, especially dill and garlic, which supposedly kept evil spirits and bad luck away.
New) Now we all know that bouquets, and boutonnieres today are designed to match the theme or color scheme of the couples' entire Wedding, but did you know that each flower has a specific meaning? With this beautiful tradition, you should choose carefully which ones to pick for your arrangements. Wouldn't want to send the wrong message! For example, when Kate married Prince William, her bouquet featured lily of the valley ("trustworthy"), myrtle ("hope and love"), and lilac ("innocence") Check out some flower meanings here.
Old) Never Seeing the Bride Before the Wedding Ceremony
During the time when arranged marriages were custom, the betrothed couple wasn’t allowed to see each other before the wedding at all. The wedding symbolized a business deal between two families (romantic, huh?), and a father would have been pleased for his daughter to marry a man from a rich, land-owning family. But he also feared that if the groom met the bride before the wedding and thought she wasn’t attractive, he’d call off the wedding, casting shame onto the bride and her family. Therefore, it became tradition that the bride and groom were only allowed to meet at the wedding ceremony so that the groom did not have the opportunity to change his mind. And that veil the bride wears? Its original purpose was also to keep the groom from finding out what the bride looked like until the last possible minute, when it was too late to back out of the transaction.
Although arranged marriages are no longer common, most brides still don’t want their groom to see them all done up before the wedding. Many believe it makes the day more exciting and memorable. What some couples have done, to calm their nerves and have a moment to themselves without breaking this tradition, is either praying or reading love letters on opposite sides of a door or wall while the photographer captures their reactions and emotions.
New) First Look
This is a more recent tradition, where some couples feel they’ll be more relaxed if they see each other for just a few minutes before the ceremony. To some, it's also easier so that you can take your formal pictures pre-ceremony when everyone is freshly done-up.
Old) The Rings
We all know about the tradition of exchanging rings, but do you know why this is a tradition that has lasted centuries?
The Western traditions of wedding rings can be traced to ancient Rome and Greece, and were first associated with the marital dowry and later with the promise of fidelity.
Historically, the wedding ring was connected to the exchange of valuables at the moment of the wedding rather than a symbol of eternal love and devotion, a sign of "earnest money". According to the 1549 edition of the Book of Common Prayer: after the words 'with this ring I thee wed' follow the words 'This gold and silver I give thee', at which point the groom was supposed to hand a leather purse filled with gold and silver coins to the bride. It is a relic of the times when marriage was a contract between families, not individual lovers.
New) Nowadays it's much more romantic and fashionable with all the different styles and options out there, as a symbol of the promise of eternal love and devotion.
Old) Wedding Cake & Cake Cutting
May seem obvious, but wedding cakes were made to bring good luck to all guests and the couple. One of the first traditions began in Ancient Rome, where a cake of wheat or barley was broken over the bride’s head to bring good fortune to the couple.
During the 16th century to the 17th century, the “bride's pie” was served at most weddings. Different from the modern sweet wedding cake, bride pie is savory. Bride pie is a pie with pastry crust and filled an assortment of oysters, lamb testicles, pine kernels, cocks' combs from Robert May's 1685 recipe (huh.... yummy?) It was considered very rude and bad luck not to eat the bride’s pie. One tradition of bride’s pie was to place a glass ring in the middle of the dessert and the maiden who found it would be the next to marry, similar to the modern tradition of catching the Flower bouquet.
Now) The modern wedding cake as we know it now, however, would originate at the 1882 wedding of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany and Princess Helena of Waldeck and Pyrmont; their wedding cake was the first to actually be completely edible (hallelujah!)
The cake cutting represents the first activity done as a couple, although historically the bride did this act alone to symbolize the loss of her virginity... Charming wouldn't you say? Nowadays, though, the timing of your cake cutting is entirely up to you and is typically done just after dinner before the dancing begins.
Old) Bouquet and Garter Toss
The history behind these two rather awkward traditions is shall we say... unfortunate. They stem from a time when bridesmaids and groomsmen would quite literally tear your dress apart to get your garter (as it meant they would be the next to marry) and would then accompany you to your bed chamber where they would encourage you to "seal the deal." What are friends for, I guess??
Eventually this led to the bride and groom tossing the bouquet and the garters that held up the bride’s stockings as a way to appease the crowd.
Not very romantic and oh so awkward.
Now) The bouquet and garter toss is still a representation of who will marry next, but it can be done in more modest, fun and goofy ways to make it more tolerable. While many couples are choosing to leave out this rather odd tradition, I'm sure more and more single guests are rejoicing (I know I am!)
While every culture is different and has their own set of unique traditions, these are the top ones when people think of a Classic Wedding. Whether or not you follow these traditions is entirely up to you and your future spouse! At least now you know where they came from, the meaning behind it, and can decide for yourselves.
Do you have any interesting, silly or unique traditions in your family?? Tell us about them in the comments below!
As always, thank you for reading our latest blog post! Until next time!