Have you ever wondered why certain wedding traditions exist? Why do brides wear white wedding gowns? Why not purple? Why do brides toss their bouquet to their bridesmaids? Why do brides even have bridesmaids?
Before wedding planning, I, myself had never questioned the origins of modern wedding traditions. I’ll never forget working with this one vendor, in particular – middle school history teacher by day, wedding photographer by night – the stories he shared changed the way I look at wedding ceremonies, forever.
Warning: some traditions are very sweet, but others are quite disturbing.
- Evolution of Bridesmaids Modern day bridesmaids are great for moral support, planning purposes, and throwing kick-a** bachelorette parties, right? Well, in olden days their list of duties were a bit more challenging. Traditionally, the bridesmaids dressed identical to the bride, in an effort to protect her from evil spirits. Talk about true friends.
- Wedding Cakes Does there really need to be a special occasion to have cake? I think not. Thanks to Ancient Rome, eating cake at weddings is a modern day tradition. The tradition started with revelers breaking a loaf of bread over a bride’s head for fertility’s sake. Back then, eating cake was said to result in more than just a food baby.
- White Wedding Gowns I’d never really given thought as to why bridal boutiques were stocked with pre-dominately white wedding gowns. Why not purple, or green? The bridesmaids get to wear colored gowns, why can’t the brides? I learned that Queen Victoria is the trend setter for white wedding gowns – in the western world, at least. Apparently, the wedding gown is symbolic of a pure heart.
- Garter & Bouquet Toss Someone other than the newly announced husband tearing off the brides clothing – creepy! In 14th century England, wedding guests disregarded the white gown and ‘purity of the heart’ by stripping down the bride of her clothing for good luck. In an effort to distract guests, the strategy of tossing the bouquet and garter was implemented. 5. Wedding Ring Placement Unlike the other traditions, that I had assumed were no-brainers, I was genuinely curious about wedding ring placement. How did this designated ring finger, indicative of marriage, originate? Well, It was once thought that a vein in the fourth finger of the left hand led directly to the heart. Deep, huh?
Some still follow these traditions, others don’t. But, I’m certainly glad that these wedding traditions have modernized the way that they have.