Wedding Traditions, Why do we do the things we do?

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Ever wonder why we have the traditions we do during a wedding? Just recently I was looking up reasons behind some of our wedding customs and thought they were so much fun that I had to share a little trivia with you. Here are some questions you might not know the answers to. Some of their answers may be bizarre, but very interesting as we learn how so many came to be in the traditional American wedding. We hope you enjoy…

Why do brides carry a bouquet?

Back in the 15th century, it was believed that carrying bouquets of  strong-smelling herbs and spices would ward off evil spirits, ill health, and bad luck. Later, brides, and even grooms, wore garlands made of herbs and spices that symbolized good luck and fertility. These days the bridal bouquet has become more glamorous with brides constantly searching for the newest biggest best trend.


What is the reason behind bridesmaids wearing matching dresses?

The tradition of matching dresses dates back to Roman times again. Bridesmaids were required to dress exactly like the bride in order to confuse the spirits and bring luck to the marriage. Of course, now the bride likes to stand out, but the bridesmaid dress tradition still stands, mostly.


Anyone know how groomsmen came to be?

Back in ancient times, when brides were sometimes in little supply, a groom would rally all of his “best men,” and these men would steal a bride from the neighboring city. During the subsequent wedding, these groomsmen, sometimes known as “brides-knights,” would serve as an “army” to hold off angry unapproving family members of the bride.


Why do we have a ring bearer?

It was said that if the groom dropped the ring, the marriage was doomed to fail.


What is behind the tradition of kissing the bride?

Back in Roman times kissing was a legal bond that sealed contracts. Sometimes the bride and groom never met, or at least kissed, until the wedding day, and therefore, this was the very first kiss shared by the couple.  All of the invited guests acted as witnesses to the “contract” of them forming one family.


What is the tradition behind the wedding cake?

Once again back in Rome, guests would break a loaf of bread over the bride’s head for fertility sake. Then the guests would try and grab a few piece of the bread that fell onto the ground to collect some of the “good luck,” too. Wedding cakes have come a long way since then, and even more traditions have popped up from just this one act in a wedding.


Why do couples smash cake in each others faces?

Long ago cake did not taste as good as cakes do today. So brides and grooms would rather not eat the cake. So instead of just “breaking bread” for good luck in their shared future together, they would take a piece of the cake and smash it in their faces instead of eating it. There is also a legend where is it good luck for the bride to have the groom throw some cake on the her face. After this silly event, the bride and groom serve the rest of the cake to the guests so they could share the good luck with everyone at the wedding.


Where did the tradition of tossing the garter come from?

It was a very old tradition where guests would tear off a piece of the bride’s dress to gain some of her good luck. As you might imagine, this left the bride battered at the end of the night. Therefore  the groom began to take the bride’s garter off before they left for the night, so the guests could fight over that piece of the bride.


When did the tradition of bridal showers start?

Back in Holland there was a legend that a certain bride’s father didn’t approve of her future husband and refused to give her dowery. So the bride’s friends showered her with gifts so she would have a necessary dowery to marry the man of her choice. Once this tradition caught on, it formed in to a new tradition where even women not attached to any type of dowery were given showers.


Why do we save wedding cake to eat one year later?

Bride and Grooms were expected to have their first child one year after they got married. So they would save the top tier of their cake to be served at the christening of their first child.


When did the first diamond engagement ring become popular?

This one is fairly recent.  The diamond engagement ring didn’t become mass produced until the 1930’s. The De Beers company owned and operated most of the the newly discovered diamond mines in South Africa, so they launched a major campaign during the 1930’s promoting that an engagement ring should be made out of the strongest gemstone to symbolize a strong marriage. Hence the diamond came to symbolize “forever!”


Who made the first white wedding dress popular?

Traditionally, bride’s would simply wear the nicest dress they had or could find.  In 1840 a fashion revolution in the Western world’s view on what a bride should wear on her wedding day began when Queen Victoria wore a special long white dress on her wedding day!


We hope you enjoyed these fun facts that we shared with you today!

Written by:

Leslie Hayes

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