Revealed: The Reasons Behind Wedding Traditions - Peter Rowland
10 January 2014

Revealed: The Reasons Behind Wedding Traditions

Did You Know…  

Many brides and grooms still follow wedding day traditions often without the knowledge as to why they’re doing them. Well, we’re pleased to let you in on some old school secrets. Of course many traditions have now taken on new meanings and are done a little differently these days but we can tell you there was some reasoning behind it all.   Tossing the Bridal Bouquet   The old bridal bouquet toss is a tradition that started back in the UK where women used to try and rip off pieces of the bride’s dress and flowers in the hope they could retain some of her good fortune in marriage. To escape from the crowds of frantic women, the bride would toss her bouquet, diverting the women’s attention to run away. Today the bouquet is tossed to single women with the belief that whoever catches it will be next to marry.  

Giving Away the Bride

A father giving his daughter away on her wedding day goes back to the days of arranged marriages. Daughters in those times were considered their father’s “property”. It was the father’s right to give his daughter to the groom, usually for a price. Nowadays this is seen as the father giving his blessing to his daughter’s marriage.  

The Wedding Ring

Wearing a wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand goes back centuries to Roman times. The Romans believed that the vein in that particular finger runs directly to the heart. The wedding ring has long been seen as a symbol eternal love.  

The Best Man

Hundreds of years ago a man would kidnap a woman with the intention of marrying her. The best man would be prepared to fight for the groom if the family of the bride came to rescue her. This remains today, and the best man, like the maid/matron of honour is usually a sibling or best friend of the groom. Today, their role is obviously somewhat different to that mentioned above.  

Bride on Groom’s Left

In old England times, Grooms often had to defend their brides. She would stand to the left of her groom so that his right arm was free to quickly reach for his sword if needed.  

The Tiered Wedding Cake

The wedding cake is one of the oldest traditions when the wedding cake was originally just an offering of fruit, nuts and honey to the Gods. It was thought the Gods would bless the marriage and grant good luck and happiness to the couple. As time passed the fruit and nuts turned to cakes and guests would bring small cakes to a wedding and stack them on top of each other. Eventually a French baker created a cake that involved small cakes layered on top of each other, known today as a tiered cake.

Wedding Bouquet

There are thought to be two reasons why this was done, the first to mask the smell of body odours. Yes, you read correctly! Back in the 15th century people bathed very infrequently, just once or twice a year in fact. Brides carried fragrant bunches of flowers in order to try and smell a little more impressive for their grooms.   The second theory is that during the times of the Plague, it is thought people held garlic, dill and other herbs over their mouths and noses in bit to avoid catching the disease. Survivors of the epidemic sought comfort in anything they thought could help them avoid falling ill. The herbs also represented renewal. Over time of course, brides sought more attractive and fragrant flowers to their bouquets and are now selected to match the bridesmaids dresses and/or colour scheme of the wedding.  

The Bridal Veil

The bridal veil has long been a symbol of youth, modesty, and virginity and was used to ward off evil.  

Bridesmaids

The bridal party is a tradition that has been around for centuries, its original purpose to fool evil spirits. The bride’s attendants dressed similarly to her in order to confuse any dangerous spirits that might be about. Today bridesmaids are there to support the bride in the stressful times during the wedding.  

And something for your bridesmaids to consider next time you go shopping for their dresses – the earliest traditions suggest the bridesmaids dressed exactly like the bride in order to confuse the spirits and avoid them being fixated on the bride. That custom began to give way in the Victorian ages to bridesmaids dressing in white dresses but short veils, to emphasise the bride’s extravagant veil and train.

RELATED ARTICLES / TOAST
4 December 2015
Melbourne Museum – Rachel & Rick
Rachel and Rick met, as if by fate, in the "happiest place on earth" at Disneyland. The couple ...
31 July 2015
Rippon Lea – Catherine & Alex
Everything about Catherine and Alex's wedding day was elegant. The ceremony was held by the lak...
30 October 2015
Mt Duneed Estate – Uyen & Mayur
We all dream of a romantic movie-esque meeting for the love of our lives but not many of us ar...