Have you ever wondered why certain customs or wedding traditions are followed at weddings? What is the significance of wearing something blue? Why does a groom carry his bride across the threshold? Or why does a bride throw her bouquet at her single girlfriends? Weddings are rooted in popular traditions and some of them go back to ancient times. Here are just a few of the most common wedding traditions and what they signify.
Wedding cakes: The idea of a wedding cake has been around since medieval times, tracing back to Ancient Rome. Only back then, cakes were made from wheat or barley and broken over a bride’s head to symbolize fertility and luck. The couple would eat a few crumbs together to symbolize their first unified act together. Today, we have wedding cakes that come in different flavours, shapes and sizes and are much sweeter!
- Shower of rice: Rice and grains have traditionally represented prosperity and fertility. At a wedding, rice was thrown on the bride and groom to symbolize that the couple was being showered with good fortune. This old wedding
- tradition has now become less popular, replaced instead with sparklers, bubbles and confetti.
Something Blue: Everyone knows the age old saying, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence in your shoe.” These items are things that the brides should either wear or have with them on their wedding day for good luck. According to Reader’s Digest, this was an old English rhyme from the 1800s. The old items as well as the something blue (which tended to be the garter) were meant to protect the bride from the Evil Eye, which was a “a malicious glare that could make the bride infertile." Today, even if brides do not follow any other traditions, many still try to find ways to incorporate something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue at their wedding.
Garter/Bouquet toss: The garter toss and the bouquet toss are two rituals that are present at most weddings. The garter is a piece of lingerie that the bride wears under her wedding dress, traditionally worn at the top of the knee. At the reception, the groom will take the garter off his bride with either his teeth or his hands and throw it out to the bachelors at the party. It is believed that the man who catches the garter will be the next to get married. This is similar to the bouquet toss. The bride will ask all the single ladies to gather. She will toss her bouquet and the lucky bachelorette who catches it is expected to be the next one to be wed.
- Rings: The exchanging of rings is part of a wedding ceremony and is a wedding tradition that symbolizes a sacred union. In some cultures, the union may also be expressed by holding of hands or tying of garments.
What is a wedding, without its traditions? These wedding traditions are only some of the many popular ones that brides and grooms follow today. But every bride is different and each family may have their own traditions as well. What are your family’s wedding traditions?