History of Wedding Traditions

Weddings are steeped in ritual and tradition, even the simplest ceremony cannot avoid using ancient symbols. When planning your wedding, you may come across some of these customs and traditions, but may not be aware of the symbolism of each! Sit back and relax, lets take a peek into the history of wedding traditions…

  • ~ Why do we throw rice?
  • Throwing grains of rice at the couple symbolizes the desire for fertility. It also expresses the hope for a long life with good health, successful careers, and bountiful harvests.
  • ~ Why do we tie cans to the bridal couple’s getaway car?
  • Sounds of bells, the clinking of champagne flutes, and tin cans dragging behind the getaway car are holdovers from the desire to drive away jealous spirits that were thought to lurk at times of change!
  • ~ Why does the bride have bridesmaids?
  • This tradition began in ancient Rome; a couple was legally required to have at least ten attendants to witness the marriage contract. In other cultures, bridesmaids are used to “hide” the bride from any evil spirits who might try to cause trouble for the newlywed couple.
  • ~ Why does the groom have ushers?
  • For the same reason that a bride has bridesmaids, the ushers are used to confuse evil spirits that may be trying to harm the newlywed couple.
  • ~ Why does the bride wear a veil?
  • By concealing the brides face, a bride camouflaged herself so that evil and jealous spirits could not identify the bride. The white veil is a symbol of modesty and virginity.
  • ~ Why does the groom stand on the bride’s right side?
  • This tradition started in ancient years. Standing at the bride’s right side made it easy for the groom to grab his sword with his right hand and fend off any intruders who might try to do harm to his bride.
  • ~ Why wear a wedding ring?
  • The symbolism of the wedding ring began in early Egypt, the rings circular shape symbolizes eternal and unending love!
  • ~ Why do we have bridal showers?
  • Bridal showers became custom, with brides receiving gifts from her family members and friends to help prepare her for married life
  • ~ Why are wedding dresses white?
  • A white wedding dress symbolizes the brides modesty, like the color of the veil.
  • ~ Why is the wedding ring worn on the third finger of the brides left hand?
  • It was believed that the vein in that finger leads directly to the heart!
  • ~ Why is the wedding ceremony sealed with  kiss?
  • The kiss represents an exchange of spirits, uniting the couple in both body and spirit.
  • ~ Why does the bride carry a bouquet?
  • This ancient Roman tradition began with the belief that carrying bunches of fragrant herbs and flowers would ward off evil spirits. The ancient Greens carried ivy as a symbol of unending love. 
  • ~ Why does the bride toss her bouquet?
  • Tossing the bouquet has come to mean that the single woman who catches it will be the next to find a husband and marry. 
  • ~ Why “Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?”
  • Something old and something new symbolize continuity while making the transition to a new way of life. By borrowing something from a happily married woman, the hope is that the woman’s good fortune will rub off on the bride. The color blue is associated with purity and modesty. 

Next time you are at a wedding, shock all the guests with your knowledge of wedding traditions!! They will be amazed!

Happy Beginnings, Mike


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