Brides have always worn white, right? Not so. In ancient times brides
wore bright colored wedding dresses to signify their joy. White for
western brides didn’t become fashionable until Queen Victoria wore it at
her wedding to signify her status. White dresses never did signify
purity until the Christian churches put that label on them. So feel free
to add a little color to your wedding outfit.
Wedding bands made of hemp or braided grass were the earliest rings.
They eventually fell out of favor, replaced by durable metals until
about the 15th century when diamonds came upon the scene, to signify a
valuable strong commitment, a tradition which most modern couples choose
When grooms would “capture” their brides and or were afraid of evil
spirits they would cover the woman’s head to keep her from being
Bridesmaids’ dresses are all identical. Where did this practice
originate? Long ago the brides friends wore the same exact outfit as the
bride to confuse the evil spirits who wanted to destroy her happiness;.
It also helped to prevent the bride from being kidnapped by a rival suitor.
The receiving line developed from the ancient belief, that on their
wedding day, the bride and groom brought good luck to everyone they
touched. Modern couples often pass on this and prefer to “make the
rounds” greeting their guests during the wedding dinner.
In ancient Rome a marriage was not legal until the couple kissed. The
kiss was considered a legal bond necessary to seal all contracts. This
is thought to be the origin of the present day custom of banging a spoon
against a glass until the newlyweds kiss.
Will you have your dad walk you down the aisle? Do you know where this
custom originated? Long ago, a woman was considered her father’s
property until she married, and their she was her husband’s property. At
the wedding the Dad would literally “give her away,” transferring
ownership to the husband. Now brides often have their fathers or both
parents accompany them, and have the officiant ask “Who supports this
couple in marriage?” The parents answer “We do.”
There is no need to explain what the honeymoon is. But do you know where
the term originated? In ancient Ireland, when a couple married, the
parents would make sure they had a supply of a drink made from fermented
honey called mead, that would last for a full cycle of the moon. It was
believed they would be blessed with a son within a year.
Back when a bride could be forced by a captor to marry, the groom would
have to carry her against her will into her new home. The Romans thought
that it was bad luck, for a bride to trip over the threshold so to
prevent that, the groom carried her.
During the Middle Ages the length of a bride’s train indicated her rank
in court. The longer her train the closer she was to the King and Queen
and the greater her influence with them.
During the 18th and 19th centuries gloves were the traditional wedding
favor for guests.
Here are a few more unusual traditions from around the world. The Greek
bride tucks a sugar cube in her glove to “sweeten the union.” According
to Hindu beliefs rain on your wedding day is good luck.; Some western
cultures believe rain is unlucky.
In Holland it is traditional to plant a tree outside the newlyweds home
as a symbol of fertility. Finnish brides traditionally carried a
pillowcase door to door, collecting gifts. An older married man went
with her, symbolizing a long marriage.
Korean brides wear red and yellow outfits for their weddings. Danish
brides and grooms used to confound the evil spirits by cross-dressing.
Egyptian parents traditionally do all the cooking for a week, so that
the couple can relax.
In many cultures including Hindu, Egyptian and Celtic, the hand of a
bride and groom are tied together as a symbol of their new bond and
commitment to the marriage. This is the origin of the expression “Tying
In Roman mythology the god Juno rules over childbirth, marriage and the
hearth. This is believed to be the reason for the popularity of June
African-American weddings often hold to the tradition of “jumping the
broom”. Slaves in the United States were not allowed to marry, so they
would exhibit their love by jumping over a broom to the beat of drums.
It now is symbol of the couple’s intention to set up a home together.
Japanese couples become man and wife when they take the first of nine
sips of sake. In Irish tradition once the bride and groom were in the
church, the guests would lock the doors to make sure the groom couldn’t
back out. It was also important that a male not a female be the first to
wish joy to the newly married bride.
There is an old English rhyme that brides have been obeying for years. “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” The
actual rhyme also included this line “and a sixpence in your shoe”.
Relatives usually offer the something old, like great grandmother’s antique cameo, or your mom’s gown. These items provide continuity from
generation to generation.
The “new” symbolizes home for the future and can include your gown or
veil , a strand of pearls, bouquet of silk flowers, or a new coin to
tuck in your shoe. The choices here are endless.
Borrowed happiness is symbolized by the something borrowed. It should be
something that brought happiness to the owner. Some possibilities are
your mother in law’s ruby brooch, your dad’s silk handkerchief, or your
parents’ wedding song.
The blue something symbolizes fidelity, love and good fortune. Often,
there is a blue ribbon on the garter. Other ideas are blue flowers,
delphiniums, or irises in your bouquet, sapphire earrings and necklace,
or even your lingerie.
You may want to consider incorporating some of these ideas into your
wedding plans. There are books and magazines that you can search for
traditions from your own ethnic or religious traditions. Perhaps you
like something you’ve heard about from another culture that you can
adapt for your wedding. If you will have children at your reception you
might want to borrow the Puerto Rican idea of pinatas, even the adults
might enjoy that one.
Article written by Martin Smith who is a
successful freelance writer providing advice for consumers
on purchasing wedding gowns and other related matters.