Did You Know….

where these wedding traditions came from??


The White Wedding Dress

These days most wedding dresses aren’t true white. May are ivory, champagne and maybe we are going back to an old tradition of wearing colored wedding dresses. Because there was a time when a bride’s wedding gown was just her Sunday best and could be any color, even black. Many also used more expensive fabrics of silk, velvet and lace to convince her groom that she came from a wealthy family. It was actually Queen Victoria (who reigned from 1837-1901) who somewhat outrageously wore white and made it fashionable. She wore a pale gown trimmed in orange blossoms for her 1840 wedding to her first cousin, Prince Albert. It was she who started the now eternal tradition of wearing white.

Giving Away the Bride

Some brides aren’t too happy with this tradition but most wouldn’t hear of doing otherwise. And even if they did there would be some very let down fathers. But years {and years} ago, fathers once used their daughters as currency {shock horror!} to possibly pay off a debt to a wealthier land owner, symbolize a sacrificial, monetary peace offering to an opposing tribe or even buy their way into a higher social status.


The Veil

{This ties into the above too} Brides were to wear a veil so the groom wouldn’t know what she looked like until it was time to lift the veil and kiss the bride at which time it was too late to back out on the ‘gift’ from the afore mentioned father.



The Wedding Party

The original duty of the best man was to serve as armed backup for the groom in case he had to resort to kidnapping his intended bride away from disapproving parents. He was called the “best” because he was meant to be the most skilled with a sword, should the need for a fight arise. So the best man stands guard next to the groom right up through the exchange of vows in case anyone should attack.

As for the bridesmaids, the girls in the olden days were chosen to trick the eye of evil spirits and jealous ex-lovers. They were the bride’s faithful attendants and would wear a dress similar to that of the bride so that during their group stroll to the church it would be impossible for any evil spirits or former lovers to spot the bride and curse or kidnap her from her intended.


Garter and Bouquet Toss

These two traditions are not only a little ridiculous now {seriously demeaning} but began with an even more horrible explanation. It used to be that after the bride and groom said, “I do,” they were to go immediately into a nearby room and consummate the marriage. To really prove that the deed was done, there would need to be witnesses. Wedding guests gathered around the bed with the women hoping to get a token of the bride’s lucky dress as it was ripped from her body {eek!} so she herself would marry well. Eventually people realized that this was all just a little disturbing so it was decided that the bride would toss her bouquet as a diversion while she made her getaway and the groom would just show a piece of bride’s undergarments {her garter of course} and then toss it back outside to the guests proving that the job was done.


Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue and a Lucky Sixpence in her Shoe

This is also an English customs dating back to Victorian times which, when all worn in combination on the wedding day would bring the bride good luck. But you knew that. here is the rest: The something old was meant to tie the bride to her family and her past, while the something new represented her new life as the property of a new family. The item borrowed was supposed to be taken from someone who was already a successfully married wife and therefore to pass on a bit of her good fortune to the new bride. The color blue stood for faithfulness, loyalty, and purity {note that is blue and not white}. The sixpence in her shoe, and a lot of you forget or maybe just don’t know that part, was meant to bring the bride and her new groom great fortune. And if that wasn’t enough, brides also carried bunches of herbs to ward off evil spirits.


The Wedding Cake

We have gotten sweeter over the years because before wedding cake was the breaking of bread over the bride’s head. The groom would take a bite of barley bread and then the remainder of the loaf was held above the newlywed bride’s head and then broken, showering her with crumbs as the grains symbolized fertility. For some reason, then the guests would pick up the crumbs from the floor to give them good luck.

This tradition evolved as cake became the preferred confection for wedding celebrations. Thank goodness. But then, guess what? Instead of scrounging for crumbs on the floor, guests would then stand in line while the bride passed tiny pieces of cake through her wedding ring to give to guests. I assume they didn’t have many pronged diamonds to ruin but in any case, this act also fell by the wayside and the tradition of giving out whole slices of cake to each guest began. These cake pieces weren’t eaten, but to be placed under their pillow at night so the ladies to dream of their future husbands.

Saving the Cake

It used to be assumed that when there was a wedding, a christening would follow shortly. So, rather than bake two cakes for the occasions, they’d just bake one big one and save a part of it to be eaten at a later date when the squealing bundle of joy arrived. Eventually folks warmed to the idea of giving the poor kid his own, newly baked cake, but the custom of saving a portion of the wedding cake far longer than it should be saved and then eating it and deluding oneself to believe that it actually tastes good is one that persists to this day.

Also along the lines is the tradition of making a christening outfit out of the wedding gown. The original Trash the Dress!


Throwing Rice

The meaning was to shower the new couple with prosperity, fertility and good fortune. Oats, grains and dried corn were used before rice. Not so long ago, rice lost its popularity when it became widely rumored that if birds ate the rice, it would expand in their stomach and kill them. This is actually not true but these days many churches won’t let you throw anything, but if they do, make sure it’s biodegradable. No one likes sweeping up.

Now there you go.


Stay Real!


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