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Wedding Traditions: Meanings and Myths


Photo Credit: Mint Photography 

Photo Credit: Mint Photography 

The White Wedding Dress

The tradition of wearing a white wedding gown down the aisle was not always the norm for brides. Queen Victoria chose to wear a white wedding dress for her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840 to incorporate some of her favorite lace into her wedding day. Since then, brides have chosen a white gown to follow in the queen’s fashionable footsteps. Although many assumed white was chosen because the color symbolized purity, white actually signified wealth. Blue was the color associated with wholesomeness and purity.


Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

The wedding saying stemmed from an old English rhyme, dating back to 1898. The items were suggested to offer good luck to the bride on her wedding day. The article of something old was to symbolize continuity. The object that was new represented optimism for the bride’s new married future. The token that exemplified something borrowed was given to the bride from a happily married friend or family member whose happiness in their marriage carries over or rubs off on to the new bride. An item that is characterized as something blue was said to represent fidelity and love. Blue was often the color worn by brides on their wedding day before the 19th century. Each item given to the bride was combined to ensure a lifetime of happiness and fortune for the bride and her new married life on her wedding day.

Photo Credit: Jenna McElroy Photography 

Photo Credit: Jenna McElroy Photography 


Bridal Bouquets

Besides setting the white wedding dress trend, Queen Victoria also introduced the idea of carrying fresh flowers down the aisle. Before the queen’s floral arrangement, brides kept in the Greco-Roman tradition of holding pungent herbs and spices to ward away evil spirits as they walked down the aisle.


Matching Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids used to wear the same outfits as each other, as well as the bride, to confuse jealous demons who were out to get the bride-to-be. Attendees at the wedding also use to serve as protection to the bride and groom from former vengeful suitors or evil spirits who may have wanted to attack the to-be-weds.

Photo Credit: Geoff Duncan

Photo Credit: Geoff Duncan


Wedding Favors

In the 17th century, European nobility made it a tradition to present guests with edible treats, usually a box of sugary treats. Today, these parting favors can be sweet confections such as macarons completing your French inspired soiree to your favorite fast food burger to complement your laid-back barbecue reception.


Saving the Top Tier of the Wedding Cake

In the past, it was common for the newlyweds to start a family right after their marriage. The top layer of the wedding cake was saved for the christening of the couple’s first child, typically one year after the wedding.

 Are you surprised by any of the wedding traditions origins? If so, which ones? What other traditions did you partake in for your wedding? 


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