Updated: Jun 25, 2022
There are many traditions steeped in our history which many brides abide by but very few actually know why. I'm going to shed some light on these traditions and superstitions that date back for centuries!
1. The Wedding Dress
Whether or not you're prone to spilling red wine down yourself or you have a little one who's constantly wiping their hands down you, it doesn't matter, the traditional wedding dress is always white but has this always been the case? Apparently not. According to numerous sources, up until 200 years ago, the traditional wedding dress was actually red and we have Queen Victoria to thank for bucking the trend. Apparently, wearing white on your wedding day symboliszes a bride's virginity and purity of her soul. It's bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her wedding dress prior to their big day and apparently this originates from a time when arranged marriages were the done thing and the couple weren't allowed to meet before they wed.
2. The Veil
Veils that cover the face and hair also symbolize a bride's virginity and purity. Brides are meant to wear the veil over their face throughout the entire ceremony until her father lifts the veil, showing his approval by giving her away or the groom lifts the veil to symbolically consummate the marriage. Nowadays, brides often choose to wear a veil but they don't feel the need to cover their face. Instead, they opt to have it pinned to their hair and have it cascading down their back. Other brides don't wear a veil at all and instead, they opt for tiaras, flower crowns or flowers in their hair. Nowadays, 50's birdcage wedding veils are also very popular.
3. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue and A Sixpence For Your Shoe!
Apparently this tradition derives from an old English rhyme. The rhyme itself hints to its origin as a sixpence is a coin made of silver and was minted in Britain between 1551 and 1971. Something old represents continuity, something new represents optimism and hope for the bride's future, something borrowed is usually an item from a happily married couple whose good luck and happiness is meant to transfer over to the new bride and something blue is a very symbolic colour that's been connected to weddings for centuries. Brides often wear blue to symbolize love, modesty, purity and fidelity. Finally, a sixpence in your shoe symbolizes good fortune, wealth, financial security and prosperity.
4. A Brides Bouquet
Many years ago, in fact, we're talking centuries ago, a bride's bouquet was formed from the wreaths worn around the heads of both the bride and groom. However, these were usually made with herbs and bulbs of garlic as it was thought that garlic would ward off any evil spirits. Nowadays, brides hold flowers because not only are they beautiful, they also have a lovely scent in comparison to cloves of garlic! Traditionally, the bride throws her bouquet backwards over her head to a group of her friends and family who are not yet married and the girl who catches it will be the next to marry ... Or so they say.
5. The Bridesmaids
Traditionally, the bride will choose a group of her closest friends and family to be her bridesmaids. Historically, bridesmaids would surround the bride to protect her from evil spirits.
6. The Best Man
The best man's job is to help the groom with every aspect of the wedding. He helps choose the grooms outfit, he organises the stag do, looks after the rings, gives a speech and much more!
7. The Stag Do
Traditionally, stag parties were planned for a convenient evening during the week before the wedding. It was an event that was organized and paid for solely by the Groom. The stag party would usually be a type of farewell dinner as it was seen as the Groom's last chance to entertain his friends as a single man. After the wedding, future dinner parties would always be hosted with his wife.
8. The Throwing of Confetti
The throwing of confetti originates from Italy and traditionally it was rice that was thrown over the bride and groom to bestow prosperity and fertility. However, rice can sting and so nowadays, paper confetti, flower petals and flowers are thrown instead.
9. The Wedding Cake
There are many reasons why nowadays we have a wedding cake. One of the first traditions began in Ancient Rome where bread was broken over the bride’s head to bring good fortune to the couple. In England, cakes were stacked as high as possible for the bride and groom to kiss over. A successful kiss meant they were guaranteed a happy life together. This is where the tiered wedding cake comes from. Wedding cakes were round and contained lots of fruit and nuts to symbolize fertility. Traditionally, the top tier was kept to enjoy at the couple's first child's christening to bring them good luck.
10. The Honeymoon
The honeymoon is a period where the newlywed couples take a break to share some private and intimate moments that helps to establish love in their relationship. The earliest mention of the term honeymoon dates back to 1546.