Common Wedding Traditions Unveiled

While planning your big day requires a lot of decisions, chances are you probably don’t think twice about some of the most integral parts of your wedding day. Why? Because they’re traditions.

Do you really know why brides wear white, your best friends stand with you at the alter, cakes are saved and your beautiful ring(s) sits on your fourth finger?


PC: Ruth EilEen Photography 

Bridal Bouquets

Today’s weddings are adorned with everything from greenery and wildflowers to custom arrangements and potted plants. Brides have the creative liberty to create their dream bouquets, but why carry a bouquet in the first place?  We’re all about aesthetics, but in ancient times, the purpose of a bride’s bouquet was to ward off evil spirits.  Through the 1800s brides would walk down the isle carrying herbs such as dill, garlic and rosemary – successfully derailing any evil spirits surrounding their special day and future.

Superstitious? According to our Fortune-Telling Book for Brides, most herbs continue to have a sentimental value. For example, Lavender stands for enchantment, basil represents long-lasting love, sage stands for wisdom and chives are for good luck!

Diamond Rings

     PC: Liz Cecil

 We all love diamonds, but why do they sit on our 4th finger of our left hands? And why diamonds? Prior to modern science’s understanding of the circulatory system, it was believed that your 4th finger is home to a vein going directly to your heart. In Greek, this vein was deemed ‘vena amoris,’ known as the vein of love.   Diamonds became the rock of choice in the 1940s, after gaining extreme popularity from De Beer Diamond’s campaign, “diamonds are forever.”


Bridal Parties

  PC: Kristen Leigh Conklin

Having your “bride tribe,” “MOH/Best Man,” and best friends by your side on the big day dates to an ancient roman law that stated ten witnesses must accompany the bride and groom while they say I do! Although there is no cap on today’s bridal parties – chances are the ladies will be dawning the bride’s chosen color and groomsmen will be standing in matching suits.  While this tradition helps your wedding photos look great, the origin of having a chosen bridesmaids dress/color was to protect the newlyweds from any evil spirits. The bridal party served as decoys distracting any harm or spirits and giving the bride and groom nothing but good luck for their future.


White Wedding Dress

The moment when your friends/family see you walk down the isle – white dress floating over flower petals, bouquet in tow is an image you may have imagined long before meeting Mr. Right.  Walking down the isle in a white dress dates to the 1840s, when Queen Victoria made the radical decision to wear a white-silk-satin gown when marrying Prince Albert.  Prior to Queen Victoria’s statement, brides would choose their nicest, most beautiful dress regardless of color or style. Despite our perceptions of white symbolizing purity and new beginnings, wearing a white wedding dress was simply a grandiose statement that has evolved over time into a tradition that’s seldom seen broken.

 PC: Liz Cecil

However recently, brides have been breaking from the norm and dawning gowns in shades of blush, champagne & even grey! 


Wedding Cake

 Nowadays couples are getting creative with their dessert tables, but there is likely still a wedding cake somewhere on that table. The history of a wedding cake has a few different origins, but one of our favorites comes from the medieval times, where wheat buns – symbolizing fertility and prosperity were piled high. If the bride and groom could share a kiss over the top of the bun-pile, it would give them good fortune.  The Romans had a similar superstition and would end their ceremonies by breaking wheat/barley cake over the bride’s head. Guests would then pick up the crumbs to use as confetti while bidding the couple a happy future.  


“Ladies and gentleman, Mr. & Mrs. ____ will now cut the cake.”

Aside from evolving into a great photo opportunity, cake-cutting is a tradition that hasn’t strayed far from its origin. Cutting the wedding cake together symbolizes a couple’s first “task,” and feeding each other the first bite represents how the bride and groom will continue to nourish and feed their new relationship.

“Save the top!”

 Luckily, our saran wrap and packaging has evolved quite a bit since the start of this tradition, but indulging in your wedding cake one-year later was originally meant to happen at your first child’s christening.  Nowadays, saving a piece of your wedding cake serves as a momento from your special day, regardless of if there’s a child in the picture or not.

PC: Joe Mikos

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