When you go to a wedding, there are certain things you just expect to happen. They happen at every wedding ceremony and you never really think anything of it. Have you ever wondered where these traditions like throwing the bouquet or having something old, new, borrowed, and blue got started? After a bit of research, we’ve figured it out!
Throwing the Bouquet
photo via elizabethannedesigns.com
This tradition started in England during the medieval era. It was thought that the bridal gown held good luck and happiness in life. Because people attending the wedding wanted to share in this good fortune, they would try and take parts of the bride’s gown. In order to preserve the wedding dress, the brides began throwing their bouquet and said it held all the same luck and happiness. Who ever caught the bouquet was the one who would receive this good fortune and would most likely marry next. This tradition has not changed much over time. Now of course, we hear “Single Ladies” come on over the speakers and know its time to dive for the bouquet! There have been new takes on this classic tradition but the history stays the same.
Something old, new, borrowed, and blue
photo via somethingturquoise.com
This tradition is rooted in something as simple as a rhyme for good luck. The full rhyme is “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, a silver sixpence in her shoe”. Each portion of the rhyme is supposed to symbolize something needed for good luck on a brides wedding day. Something old symbolizes the bride’s family and her history before the marriage. Something new symbolizes the bride’s future filled with happiness. Something borrowed is supposed to be borrowed from a happy wife and is meant to symbolize borrowed happiness. Something blue is meant to symbolize purity and love. The sixpence in her shoe portion of the rhyme is typically left of in today’s weddings but it is supposed to symbolize good fortune and wealth for the future of the married couple. Brides interpret these symbols differently and each have their unique ways of representing each one in their wedding.
The Bridal Party
photo via stylemepretty.com
This wedding tradition has evolved immensely over the years. Let’s start with the groomsmen. Back in the Anglo Saxon period, they were called the Bride’s Knights. Their sole job was to escort the bride safely to the wedding and back home afterwards. The best man also used to stand beside the bride in order to protect her during the ceremony. The grooms started to get a little jealous though, so the placement of the best man changed to the grooms side. The groomsmen usually consisted of the groom’s friends, which remain the same to this day. Later they became known as the bridesmen and now they are called groomsmen. Today, they still consist of the groom’s closest friends but instead of protecting the bride, they make sure the groom actually makes it down the aisle on the big day. The bridesmaid’s job has stayed fairly consistent throughout time. The maid or matron of honor was known as the senior maid and her job was to attend to the brides every need. She would stay with the bride a few days before the wedding to help her finish planning and decorate for the wedding. On the day of the wedding, the senior maid and the rest of the bridesmaids would help prepare the bride and make her look as beautiful as possible. This role has changed very slightly over the years but still has the same main purpose: to help the bride.
The Veil and Giving the Bride Away
photo via stylemepretty.com
There are several stories that are said to explain the history of the veil. The most prevalent story revolves around evil spirits. It was believed that evil spirits would be lurking around such joyous events like a wedding. The veil was originally used to shield the bride from any sort of demon or evil spirit. Also, the bridesmaids would wear similar colored dresses to the bride so the evil spirits would be confused. This also explains the tradition of the father giving away the bride. Often times, the veil would make it hard for the bride to see. The bride’s father would be there to guide her to her future husband without falling or running into anything. Both of these traditions have evolved dramatically over the years. The veil now serves as a symbol of purity and modesty. Not all brides choose to wear it over their face when walking down the aisle but some religious ceremonies still include this in the ceremony. The father giving away the bride has evolved into a symbol of him welcoming her into the groom’s new family.
Bad Luck for Groom to See Bride
photo via stylemepretty.com
Everyone knows it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony on the day of the wedding. This superstition started back when marriages were thought to be a transaction between families. On the day of the wedding, the father of the bride would be worried that if the groom saw the bride and did not like her, the transaction would fall through and he would not receive something in exchange for his daughter. They would wait until the last second to reveal the bride to the groom so it would be too late for him to back out of the marriage. Romantic right? Today, it’s more of a “wow factor” for the groom to see his soon to be wife for the first time when she’s walking down the aisle. Although not all couples abide by this tradition, most brides choose to partake in this fun surprise. Some try and work their way around this rule by putting on blindfolds or holding hands from behind a door.
Eating the Top Layer of Cake on Your Anniversary
photo via projectwedding.com
This tradition was actually started as a way to save money and resources. Couples used to save the top layer of their wedding cake and serve it at the christening of their first child. That would normally come within the first year of marriage. Today, couples normally save the same top layer but eat it on their first wedding anniversary. It is not necessarily the norm anymore to have a child within the first year of marriage so using it to celebrate your anniversary is a good alternative.