The History of 5 Wedding Traditions

January 26 2016

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Whether you have an assortment of wedding invites overtaking your refrigerator, or you are the one getting married soon, there are a variety of wedding traditions you are likely to encounter in the coming months. Some of them might seem a little strange. Others are followed mostly out of tradition, with little thought of how the tradition was started. While there are a variety of wedding traditions, here are just five, some of them with origins in potentially unexpected places.

White Wedding Dress

Although there are exceptions, traditionally most brides in the Western world wear a white wedding dress. That was not always the case. On February 10, 1840, Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, shocking people by wearing a lacy, white dress. At the time, Queen Victoria’s wedding dress color was seen as too restrained. Plus, at the time, white was considered the color of mourning, making it a highly inappropriate color for a wedding dress. Before that, women got married in a variety of colors, typically wearing simply their best dress. Within a few years of Queen Victoria’s wedding, though, many brides were wearing white.

Bridesmaids

Most wedding parties today include an assortment of bridesmaids. Modern bridesmaids assist the bride with a variety of tasks including mailing out invitations, helping guests, and making sure the wedding and reception go off without any major catastrophes, all while wearing a brightly colored dress. Originally, though, bridesmaids wore dresses similar to the bride’s and accompanied her to the groom’s village. They dressed like her for the wedding ceremony as well. By dressing alike, the bride was not easily identified as the one getting married. They did this to prevent her from being kidnapped on the way to her groom’s home or from her dowry being stolen. They also dressed the same for the wedding to ward off evil spirits and bad luck which might come to the couple. 

Something Old, Something New…

While some brides worry little about the saying, others obsessively make sure they have "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." The saying comes from an Old English rhyme, which incorporates “a sixpence in your shoe” at the end. Each item represents something positive for the bride’s future, and all are seen as good luck charms. Even the non-superstitious, though, often take part in the tradition of having these four items with them throughout the day. Old is for continuity, or basically her past as well as her future. Something new is about optimism for the future. Something borrowed is about borrowed happiness. Blue represents purity, love, and fidelity. For those brides who add the sixpence, it is for good fortune and prosperity. 

Bouquets

Although bridal bouquets now contain an assortment of beautiful flowers with wonderful scents, that was not always the case. The bouquet’s original purpose was not to be a beautiful addition to the bride’s attire. Instead, the bouquet included strong-smelling spices such as garlic and dill. The spices were to ward off evil spirits as well as the plague. The strong smell of the spices was also meant to ward off the smell of body odor.

Wedding Ring

There are several symbols associated with the wedding ring. The circular shape of the ring is a symbol of eternity, connected with the belief that marriages should last forever. The custom of wearing the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand is connected with the old Egyptian belief that the vena amoris or “vein of love” ran directly from the heart to the tip of this finger.

If you are going to be involved in a wedding soon, contact us.  Whether you need a gift for the couple or you are looking for a ring for your future spouse, we have something perfect to fulfill your needs.