It’s the beginning of another week, I know it can take some time to adjust your head out of weekend mode, so here’s some easy reading for you this Monday afternoon.
Despite each bride wanting to make their wedding day unique and different, there are some traditions such as wearing a white dress that most will hold on to. But where did these traditions come from, and how have they developed over time? Here are some of the most popular wedding traditions and a little story about their origin.
Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
This tradition dates back to the Roman times when it was the law to have ten witnesses, five men and five women, at your wedding in order to decieve the evil spirits that were thought to try and sabotage happy events. The bridesmaids would dress like the bride, and the groomsmen like the groom so the evil spirits would be confused as to who was getting married.
Similarly, the bride wore a wedding veil to protect herself from evil spirits. In Roman times, the bride often wore a floor length veil in flame red. Nowadays the wedding veil is more traditionally white, and is seen as a symbol of purity, chastity and modesty.
In the case of arranged marriages, the veil also acted as a way of masking the bride’s face from her husband-to-be. When he lifted the veil, it would be the first time the married couple had seen each other’s faces.
The tradition of throwing confetti started when local seeds or grain were thrown at the newly married couple to represent the future fertility and prosperity of the couple. The type of substance that was thrown varied from country to country, with America using rice and Italy using confectionary, which is where the word confetti came from. Nowadays, the custom remains, however, the seeds have been replaced with paper confetti in different colours and shapes.
Something Old, Something New.
This stems from the old English rhyme ‘Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Silver Sixpence in your Shoe’. Family members and bridesmaids would give old, new, borrowed and blue items and a sixpence as tokens of good luck to the bride on her wedding day. The something old represents continuity of the past moving to the future, the something new represents optimisim for the future and the new life she is about to share with her husband, something borrowed represents borrowed happiness, something blue represents love, good fortune and fidelity and finally the sixpence in your shoe represents good fortune and prosperity and is traditionally placed in the bride’s left shoe.
Throwing of the bouquet.
Traditionally brides would carry garlic, fruit blossoms, herbs and grains in their bouquet to drive away evil spirits and symbolise prosperity. However, over time this has been replaced with flowers, as a sign of happiness that represented fertility and everlasting love. The tradition of throwing the bouquet originated when it was seen as lucky to get a piece of the bride’s clothing, which often resulted in the wedding dress being torn apart before the end of the wedding celebrations. In order to protect the wedding dress, the idea of throwing the bouquet came about. The bride tosses her bouquet to the single ladies, and the recipient is considered to have good fortune and will be next to wed.
White Wedding Dress
This is a recent tradition that only came about in the late 19th century. Before then, any colour dress was acceptable, with Christians often wearing blue as a sign of truth and purity, and Celtics wearing red to invoke fertility. It was only in 1840 when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in a white wedding dress that it became popular. People saw her wedding dress and thought it was a sign of wealth, class and style, and so the practice caught on.
The Wedding Ring
The wedding ring is a neverending circle which is said to represent everlasting love. The wedding ring is traditionally placed on the third finger of the left hand, this began in Roman times as they believed that the vein in that finger is the only one that runs directly to the heart.
Giving Away of the Bride
The idea of the father giving away the bride comes from the notion of arranged marriages. The bride was considered the father’s property, so it was his right to give his daughter to the groom, and usually for a price. Although nowadays, the father giving away the bride is seen as him blessing the marriage.
What traditions will you uphold on your wedding day?
Have a great week,
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