Weddings 101: Five Wedding Traditions and Their Surprising Origins

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Over the years, we may have attended many weddings and noticed a lot of universal elements that seem present in each and every one of them. In the magical glow of the wedding venue, we have seen the groom bestow a kiss on the bride, we have seen the bride joyously throw her bouquet to a gaggle of single ladies, we have seen wedding guests showing the newly wedded couple with rice or flowers–all these and more. But, have you ever wondered where all of these came from? Where did these wedding traditions originate and what do they signify?

Well, this article has compiled a list of the most common wedding traditions and their corresponding origins as well as meanings. Here are some of the most beloved and practiced wedding traditions all over the globe:

1.) Bachelor Party

Bachelor parties have always been a bane to a bride’s existence, and more often than not, brides-to-be see this as an event to dread. It seems that most bachelor parties have been associated with night’s of drunken orgies and hiring strippers for a party. However, before it became a night dedicated to pure debauchery, this was a night where Ancient Romans would gather in a feast they dubbed as a “Bachelor Dinner.” They would then toast their comrade and kidnap the bride after that.

2.) Bridal Shower

This wedding practice is said to have been stemmed from a tradition in Holland. It was said that there was a bride whose father did not approve of her husband and refused her any dowry. As a result, her friends would all collectively shower her with gifts of any kind so that the bride would have a necessary dowry and would be able to marry the man of her choosing. Then, the woman who was not bestowed dowry by her father would be given a shower by her friends. Regardless of whether this legend is true, a bridal shower seems to have stemmed from the idea of friends and neighbors showering the bride with gifts because her father did not approve of her husband-to-be or was too poor to afford any dowry.

3.) White Wedding Dress

Today, modern weddings have brides walking the aisle in a white gown of her choice but not too long ago; a bridal dress was simply just the best dress she has in her closet–regardless of whether it was white or not. However, it was not until Queen Victoria’s wedding in the 1840’s wherein the hue of the wedding dress was vastly preferred to be white did the wedding tradition began. It was her iconic white wedding dress that started it all. Although brides still wore bridal dresses of other colors, it was her decision that inspired many brides-to-be to do the same.

4.) Wearing a veil

In the Roman times, veils were worn by Roman brides to symbolize her virginity, purity, and modesty. Although the connotation of why the bride is required to wear a veil has been lost over the years, the tradition of donning one still continues. It is also interesting to note that the Roman veil would cover the bride from head to foot. Sometimes later, it would be used as a burial shroud.

5.) Something old, new, borrowed and blue

Although this practice is mainly out of superstition, this tradition dated back to the Victorian era and was said to bring the bride good luck. The old aspect of the superstition was meant to tie the bride to her past and her family while the new would represent her new life in her new family. Brides were supposed to borrow an item from a successfully married woman in hopes of bringing that woman’s success in marriage into her own. Lastly, blue was said to symbolize purity.

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