Wedding Tradition Origins

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words by // Eve Green


Many wedding traditions span centuries. We’ve compiled some of the most common customs and how these special traditions came to be. Here’s a short and sweet history lesson for those who want to know!

Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

To this day, many brides honor the old rhyme of having Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue on their wedding day. According to The Knot, “It derives from the Old English rhyme, "Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe" — which names the four good-luck objects (plus a sixpence to bring prosperity) a bride should include somewhere in her wedding outfit or carry with her on her wedding day.”

Veil

Veils are a stunning accessory to the wedding gown and remain popular to this day. The tradition of brides wearing veils as they walk down the aisle is commonly thought to be a superstitious belief that it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. Long ago, the veil was also thought to ward away evil spirits, and in cases of arranged marriages, it hid the bride’s face from the groom so he couldn’t back out of the wedding if he wasn’t pleased with her appearance. Fast forward to 2019, and we’re so glad veils are simply an ethereal addition that elevates any bridal look.

White Wedding Dress

Almost 180 years ago, Queen Victoria changed wedding history forever by popularizing white wedding gowns. She made quite an impression on her wedding day when she wore white, chosen to accent the delicate lace on her gown. Vanity Fair states, “Until that point, most women wore bright, colorful dresses on their wedding day that could be recycled for other occasions. When women did wear bridal white, before Queen Victoria, the color was seen as an indicator of wealth — denoting that the bride’s family could afford to have the dress cleaned.” Victoria requested no one else attending the wedding wear white, another wedding attire tradition that has carried on to the modern day.

Bouquet & Garter Toss

Today, the garter toss is a fun and lighthearted wedding tradition, but it is a far cry from its origins. Back in medieval times, immediately following the wedding ceremony crowds chased after the bride and groom with the intention of tearing off a piece of the newlyweds’ clothing for good luck. In an effort to appease the rowdy, and sometimes violent mob, the bride and groom would toss the garter and bouquet at the wedding goers to placate them.

Wedding traditions have fascinating and even bizarre origins. Some couples may opt to include many traditional aspects in their wedding, while others may forgo custom altogether for a more unique and non-traditional wedding. Which time-honored customs will you include in your wedding?