12.04.2012

{wedding wednesday: wedding history}

So, raise your hand if you're wearing a veil at your wedding. Are you doing a garter toss? What about shoving cake in each other's faces? If you answered yes to any of these, can you tell me why?

This week for Wedding Wednesday, I thought it would be fun if we looked at some of the most popular wedding traditions and talk about where they came from and why we continue them today. What do you think?
Something Blue {image via}

We all know the old rhyme...
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue (and a sixpence in her shoe). 
Those of us in the United States tend to leave out that last one, but we still hold onto the rest! Apparently, each of these items is meant to bring the bride luck in one way or another. We can assume what the first three are for (old, new, and borrowed), but what about blue? What's so special about blue? Historically speaking, blue has always been an important color in weddings, and represented purity long before white did. It was also a popular color for wedding dresses, before the white dress was made popular by Queen Victoria. 

The Cake {image via}

These days, seeing a cake at a wedding is almost a guarantee. Even if they don't have a traditional tiered cake, and go for something more eclectic like pie or cupcakes, they'll often have a small cake just for cutting. 

The contemporary wedding cake has come from quite a few traditions in the past. For example, bread was broken over the head of the bride in ancient Rome to bring good fortune to the couple. Cake also used to be thrown at the bride, instead of eaten, since wheat has always been considered a symbol of fertility and fruitfulness.  And in Medieval England, the bride and groom would have to kiss over a tall cake. Doing so ensured prosperity and a long life together. 

The Bouquet {image via}

Bouquets used to be made from herbs and spices, so that evil spirits would be sent away while the bride walked down the aisle. Flowers eventually replaced the herbs (though I'd argue they're making a comeback!), with different types of flowers symbolizing different things. For example, lilies mean purity and ivy means fidelity. 

The Best Man {image via}

It's no secret that brides didn't always marry their grooms willingly. It was common in many cultures for a groom to kidnap the bride and force her into a marriage. It's suggested that the tradition of a best man came from Germany, where a groom would need to go find a bride from a neighboring village and bring her home to marry him. This often required more than one person, thus the best man. 

The Veil {image via}

Veils are somewhat controversial these days because of their traditional meaning, which is that of virginity and modesty. Obviously, a woman isn't always expected to be a virgin on her wedding day, but veils are still the most common accessory for a bride. In some cultures, brides were covered by a veil so that the groom didn't see them at all until they were husband and wife. 

The Garter {image via}

I thought that I knew what the garter symbolized at a wedding...you know...that. I was right to an extent, but I still found the rest of the story kind of interesting. 

According to Bride and Groom...
The garter from the bride comes from the ancient custom of witnesses at the marriage bed (to make sure the couple consummated the marriage); the witnesses would bring it forth as a sign of the witnessing. It became such a violation of privacy that eventually the bride would have the groom throw it to prove consummation. This is one of the oldest customs surviving wedding rituals.
Are there any traditions or customs that you find interesting? Of these, what are you incorporating into your wedding?

There are no real rules for Wedding Wednesday, I just ask that your post be wedding related it doesn’t need to be the same topic that I’m posting about. I also ask that you try to visit a few other blogs to say hi, and I would love it if you would use my button (found here). 



12 comments:

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

I didn't think I was very traditional but this post made me think differently. Things we won't be having flower girl/ring bearer, bouquet or garter toss. Still deciding on the veil all the others I plan on having.

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

I skipped the veil for a flower and we decided to skip on the garter and bouquet toss too. I think you have to do what represents the brde and groom.

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

I'm getting married next year and I still don't have the answer to any of your questions *le sigh* -.-

xx Olivia

Olivia's choice

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

I love the traditions! they make me feel connected to all the brides before me :) I'll have a sixpence in my shoe (a benefit to getting married in England) - there are a few other different traditions over there, but you'll have to wait till I post about it in the spring :P

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

that was interesting, thanks for the history lesson :)

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

Ahhh those are my shoes!! I'm STILL bitter at Style Me Pretty for not accepting my wedding to be featured.... sad day....

At any rate, I love hearing the reasons behind these kind of things!

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

My late grandfather would give a toast at the weddings and would sing a Norwegian song that is basically all about fertility (obviously, his family came over from Norway). I'm sad that he won't be at my wedding to sing the song, and no one else in the family knows the words or can find them. But, I know my dad will give a toast and give a shot out to the good ole Norwegian fertility song.

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

Also, I just realized the blue shoes in the top picture are my wedding shoes!! Except mine are purple :)

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

These traditions and customs are definitely interesting! Thanks for sharing these!

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

I love learning about wedding traditions! We didn't do a garter toss (due to a severe lack of single men...), but still did a bouquet toss. Although I was told by our DJ that both are less and less common. That makes me sad!

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

We did the bouquet and garter toss but did not want to, but my mom was a bit shocked/upset we weren't. We figured with as much as we were (to her horror) doing untraditionally, we could do something she wanted that we could care less about.

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

Love this. I'm going to have to send people to this post, often times people don't believe me when I tell them something they don't want to hear about a tradition. Perhaps they'd rather remain blissfully ignorant about things like the garter.

I got a lot of negative comments from people on my post about doing a first look and why it was tradition to wait, to see the bride at the altar. People were angry to hear that the tradition was to keep the groom from backing out in the days of arranged marriages, similar to keeping the bride veiled.