8 Wedding Traditions you should know the origins of

Have you ever wondered where some of today’s wedding traditions originated? How many will you be following?

I love traditions but many people think they are a bit outdated and choose not to include them in their ceremonies so I’ve selected a few that are, in general, still followed even in today’s weddings.

1. The Stag do

Spartans celebrated a single man's last night of freedom with a raucous party  (although, somewhat disappointingly, they watered down the wine to avoid a wedding day hangover - what a great bunch of friends).

So now when you see a Stag do on a night out and the Groom shouts “I am Sparta” you’ll know why!

2. The Engagement Ring

Pope Innocent III introduced the period of waiting between bethrothal and marriage in 1214 and engaged couples started displaying their commitment with a ring. but it wasn’t until 1477 that a diamond was included when Archduke Maximilian of Austria was the first person to put a diamond in the ring when was betrothed to Mary of Burgundy, and as a little bit of extra info Engagement and wedding rings go on the third finger of your left hand because ancient Egyptians believed the vein in that hand ran directly to the heart.

3. The white wedding dress

You may already know this if like me you’re into period dramas, the tradition of a white dress was started by none other than Queen Victoria in 1840 - before that brides just wore their best dress

4.The tiered wedding cake

Started in medieval England, guests would stack cakes higher and higher and the bridal couple would have to kiss over taller and taller piles of wedding cake, leading to the tiered confections we see today. How tall a tiered cake are having?

5 The Bridal Veil

Veils can be traced back to Roman times and symbolised the bride’s virginity, modesty and purity.  I suppose if the bride and groom hadn’t met before the wedding it was also a great way of hiding the brides face until the last moment too! That symbolism has been lost over the years but the tradition of wearing a veil has continued. Interesting note, in Roman times the veil covered the bride from head to toe and was later used as a burial shroud.

6. The bridal bouquet

The history of bouquets come from ancient times when women carried aromatic bunches of garlic, herbs and spices to ward off evil spirits. Different herbs meant different things. Sage meant wisdom, for example. Later, flowers replaced herbs and took on meanings all their own. Orange blossoms, for example, mean happiness and fertility. Ivy means fidelity; lilies mean purity. My bouquet was white roses, historically, the white rose symbolised innocence and purity - oops probably not the best choice having had three children! A great place to check the meaning of your chosen flowers is here https://www.almanac.com/content/flower-meanings-language-flowers

7. Kissing the bride

Given that it was likely the bride and groom hadn’t kissed prior to their wedding this would traditionally be their first kiss, and in Roman times kissing was a legal bond that sealed all contracts. However, though many ceremonies do include this line, the kiss is not traditionally a part of the religious ceremony, so you might not hear it in church.

8. Something Old, Something New

The saying something old, ‘something new, something borrowed and something blue, and a silver sixpence in your shoe’ is from an Old English rhyme of 1883 and is attributed to Lancashire.

The ‘something old, something new’ could refer to the bride’s passage from her old life to her new one and expresses optimism for her future, but it also thought to provide protection for the baby to come

‘something borrowed’ symbolises borrowed happiness and when borrowed from another happy bride provided good luck 

and ‘something blue’ represents purity and fidelity In fact in biblical days, both the bride and the groom wore a blue band around the bottom of their wedding attire to express their faithfulness and commitment tone another. 

Finally the ‘silver sixpence’ symbolises good fortune and prosperity for the couple, but also acted as a ward against evil done by frustrated suitors



So there you have it! I’d love to hear your thoughts and whether you or not you have traditions that you’re using for your big day.


email me at denise@denisebradyphotography.com

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