Weddings have long been a source of joy and hope, signaling a couple’s bright future for friends and family to celebrate.
The traditions that go along with wedding celebrations often make the day even more special. They can become an integral part of the ceremony and reception, connecting you and your loved ones to the generations of people that came before you.
The history of some of our longstanding wedding traditions is often as fascinating as the traditions themselves! Here are some of our favorites, the origins of which may surprise you!
Something Borrowed Something Blue
“Make sure you have something borrowed and something blue!”
Brides have heeded this wedding day advice for centuries, yet most are unaware that it originated as a British, Victorian-era rhyme. Following its wisdom meant the happy couple had everything they needed for a happy and successful marriage.
Here’s the rhyme in full:
“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in your shoe.”
“Something old” connects brides to their past and their family history. While a wedding is a new beginning, it is a symbol of life continuing on to the next generation. “Something old” represents the value of bringing one’s family of origin to a new marriage.
Yes, “something blue” is a bit more colorful! Superstition had it that carrying “something blue” along with “something old” would help protect brides from the curse of the “Evil Eye” that would render a bride infertile. Historically, “something blue” was typically a garter.
“Something borrowed” represents happiness and support. This wedding tradition included wearing a garment typically borrowed from another married woman, one who has had children, and so brings the same luck and fertility to the new couple.
And, finally, “a sixpence in your shoe” symbolizes a wish for the new couple’s prosperity and good fortune.
Waiting to See Each Other on the Big Day
“It’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding!”
Waiting until the ceremony to see your betrothed is a wedding tradition that dates back to when marriages were arranged by the parents of the bride and groom. Many feared that if the couple met or even saw each other before the wedding day, they might change their minds or not go through with the arrangement.
Today’s brides and grooms will sometimes choose to wait until the wedding ceremony, but more often keep their “first look” more private. It is a sweet, often emotional moment that can calm nerves and help with the logistics and timing of photography.
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Tossing the bouquet is another old English custom; originally guests would tear off parts of the bridal dress or bouquet believing it brought good fortune. Of course, the large crowds that could form made for some anxious brides. Instead, they began tossing the bouquet to the crowd and then walking the other direction (or even leaving!) to prevent harassment or injury. Today, the tossing of the bouquet is often intended for a single woman to catch, bringing her good luck in finding a partner.
Many couples opt to skip this particular tradition as it can be an awkward moment for guests. For those seeking an alternative, we often recommend a breakaway bouquet allowing for several parts to be given away or that the bride hand the bouquet to a couple married longest or most recently.
Wedding Tradition and Their Origins Tell a Story
Understanding the origin of these wedding traditions help us better appreciate why they have been long-incorporated into our ceremonies and receptions.
We encourage you to think creatively as there are many ways to both honor and celebrate your family’s traditions and those typical of a wedding day. A table filled with the wedding photos of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles or the wearing a special piece of family jewelry are just two ways to think outside the box.
Whether you want a traditional wedding, an intimate wedding, or something more unique, the wedding planners at Jodi Raphael Events can help. We have years of experience bringing peoples’ dreams to reality — we can do it for you, too.
Contact us here to get started.