People have been getting married forever, so of course some time honoured traditions have grown over the course of hundreds of years. Some of them are perfectly valid, some of them are rooted in beautiful meaning… and some of them aren’t. I think it’s important to know why we observe these traditions sp we can make more informed choices about our own wedding celebrations, so today I’m sharing four wedding traditions with weird or irrelevant origins that lots of people still uphold today – that I personally will NOT be upholding when my own wedding day comes. Hit play on the video above, or read on!
1. It’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony.
It’s 1654 and a young couple is getting married tomorrow. Her future husband can’t stand the suspense so he sneaks into her parents house and… makes a break for it. The wedding is cancelled, on account of the runaway groom’s complaint on seeing his future wife for the first time – she was too ugly to look at every day for the rest of his life. Such was the fate of many arranged marriages.
This situation is so far removed from modern weddings where couples usually date for years and frequently live together before tying the knot that it amazes me we stick to it at all – but it’s become folklore, and not many people know about the origins of the superstition. I totally agree that the moment you first see each other on your wedding day is so important but I also think it’s something that can be made even more special in private – a ‘first look’ or ‘first sight’ allows you to see each other, hug, cry, REACT with total honesty, without the pressure of all your guests’ eyes on you. It’s a great chance to relieve the nerves, because now you’re doing this TOGETHER, and you’ll still get to experience all the emotion of the walk down the aisle because that’s another moment all of its own.
As a side note, I once captured a lovely couple who got ready together for their big day, and it was the most romantic thing ever. It also kept them both completely calm. Something to consider!
2. The garter and bouquet toss
Since it’s apparently all about luck in the wedding game, guests used to seek out luck by… tearing off the happy couple’s clothes?! Yep, this is a weird one. In medieval England and France guests would follow the couple into the bedroom and demand the bride’s garter or undergarments as proof that the couple had consummated their marriage, which over time evolved into guests tearing at the bride’s clothing to for ‘luck’. Ick. The groom would chuck the garter preemptively, and the poor bride would have to throw her bouquet as a diversion and make a run for it. I’m glad we’ve relocated this tradition to the reception and toned it down a little (or a lot) but if you find this one a bit cringey, you’re well within your rights to skip it.
3. Diamond engagement rings
Diamonds weren’t always an engagement ring staple – but when an American jeweller used the slogan ‘a Diamond is Forever’ in a 1948 ad campaign to boost their slumping sales, they started the tradition that we see as normal now. Beautiful as they are, diamonds are EXPENSIVE – and they aren’t always ethically sourced. I’ve noticed the beginning of a movement away from the diamond in the past few months but lots of ladies still prefer the elegance and symbolism of the ‘girls’ best friend’.
4. Matching bridesmaids dresses
Did it ever strike you as odd that women want to sink into the ground if they show up to an event in the same dress as someone else, but it’s perfectly normal for bridesmaids on the wedding day? These days it’s a way to visually indicate that your girls are your nearest and dearest, and to keep some symmetry in bridal party photos, but originally the girls wore the exact same dress as the bride – to act as diversions should evil spirits try to interfere in the wedding proceedings. It’s becoming more common these days to match the colour or colour family of your girls’ gowns but not the dress style, and I’m a big fan of this method. The colours still look great together in photos, but each bridesmaid can be comfortable in her dress and flatter her figure. Plus they’ll be a LOT more likely to get more wears from their dress if they got to choose the style themselves, which will make for a grateful bridesmaid for sure.
Did you know about the origins of these traditions? Are you a fan of tradition, or more of a trailblazer? Let me know in the comments!