As you all know, weddings come with many traditions attached to them, but we don’t really know where a lot of them came from. So if you’re questioning these traditions or just want to know more, then get ready because we’re about to take you through the history of 10 common wedding traditions.
Wearing ‘something old’
The rhyme, ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ is commonly recited all over the world when brides are prepping for their big day. This rhyme is about having four things to bring luck on your wedding day. The ‘something old’ part of this rhyme though, dates even further back. Traditionally, brides would wear old shoes to bring them luck.
So you could go with tradition and pick up a pair of vintage heels, or just use the rhyme in a more modern setting.
Rain on your wedding day
Every mother or grandmother who has had a child get married in the UK, has likely said that rain on the wedding day is good luck. If you’ve been on the other end of this, you would be thinking that your mum is totally mad and she’s just saying that to make you feel better about it raining on your big day.
But your mum may actually be onto something. According to Hindu tradition, rain on your wedding day is actually considered lucky. In addition to this, the classic wedding phrase ‘tying the knot’ is again linked to Hindu tradition where a couple’s hands are tied together with string, so they’re literally ‘tying the knot’. And this then links back to the lucky rain: in this tradition rain is lucky because it’s harder to untie a wet knot, which symbolises a strong marriage.
Having a summer wedding
These days many couples get married in summer. But this little tradition didn’t start purely because the weather was better. During the 1500s, most people would take yearly baths. And this would often happen in May. So, by the time summer rolled around in June, people were still relatively fresh from their bath.
Carrying a bouquet
While we don’t thing bouquets will ever go out of fashion, there are multiple traditions surrounding them that are a bit strange.
The first relates to the yearly bath that we just mentioned. Even though you’ve only had your bath a month prior, it was still pretty easy to start to smell on the ripe side by summer. So, brides carried flowers to mask the smell.
The second bouquet tradition is about warding off evil. Back in the Roman times, Brides would gather herbs such as rosemary and garlic to carry with them under their veil. This was thought to ward off evil spirits as well as symbolise fidelity.
The ring finger
As well all know, the traditional ring finger is the neighbour to your pinky finger on your left hand. This is the finger that most people tend to wear their engagement and wedding rings on. The reason for this finger out of a possible ten choices, was because back in Egyptian times, it was believed that this finger had a vein called the vena amoris that was connected directly to your heart. This sadly isn’t true, but the idea behind it is lovely and we don’t expect people to give up this tradition anytime soon.
Wearing a veil
Veils have two traditions surrounding them. The first is that brides wore veils to protect them against evil spirits, just like the herby bouquets.
The second reason for the veil is to retain the purity of the bride. The idea was that she wasn’t supposed to be seen by another man on her wedding day, until she was wed to her husband.
Dancing barefoot at the reception
While many of us who get married these days, will naturally kick off our shoes and start dancing, this is actually an old tradition. Back in the day, if the younger sister was married before her older sister, then the older sister had to dance barefoot at the reception. This was so she wouldn’t risk never finding a husband. It’s a bit of a mad idea, but hey, who doesn’t love an excuse to dance with no shoes on?
Brides standing to the left of the groom
Before today, I personally had never realised that the bride and groom always stand on the same side (mind = blown). If you had noticed this, then you may want to know why this is a thing.
This is a Christian tradition. The idea was that the bride stood to the left of the groom so he could keep his right hand free in case he needed to quickly pull out his sword. This was so he could potentially fight off other suitors. Yet, you were obviously in quite a bit of strife if you were left-handed during this time. Firstly, how do you grab your sword without elbowing the missus? And secondly, being left-handed was a sign of witchcraft and the devil.
Getting married in the middle of the week
These days most couples get married on Saturdays. It’s a good solid day to get married where none of your pals will be at work. In English tradition it was actually believed that Wednesday was the ‘best day of all’ to get married. Monday was good for wealth and Tuesday was for health, yet Saturday didn’t have any luck at all.
The groom carrying his bride over the threshold
Traditionally it was believed that newlywed couples were more susceptible to evil spirits. This meant that the groom had to carry his wife over the threshold to protect her from said evil spirits.
This tradition also sparked a follow on tradition. When petals are thrown on the aisle at the wedding, the same idea of protecting the newlyweds applies. It’s all a little kooky and odd, but kinda cute still.