We know there are so many wedding traditions out there. What do they mean and where did they come from? Here are a few explanations of some of the biggest wedding traditions.
“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”
We’ve all heard the phrase our entire lives. It actually dates back to English superstition in the Victorian age, which was said to bring the bride good luck.
Something old represents the bride’s family and the past. Common examples include family heirlooms, such as jewelry or clothing, as part of the wedding day attire. Something new signifies the future and good fortune in the bride’s new life. The wedding gown is commonly selected as the something new, or you can consider the jewelry, shoes, etc. Something borrowed historically came from an already successfully married woman. Today, brides typically borrow from friends or family members to symbolize borrowed happiness. Something blue stands for fidelity, purity and love and can be creatively incorporated into the bride’s attire in many ways.
Ceremony Reveal vs. First Look Reveal
Many couples subscribe to the old tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other before walking down the aisle. It adds an element of surprise and delight to the ceremony. Some couples are now breaking with that tradition by doing First Look photos before the ceremony. It’s a beautiful way to capture the moment the couple sees each other for the first time alone rather than in front of the whole ceremony. It also allows photos to be taken when the wedding party looks the most fresh!
Picking Sides at the Ceremony
Traditionally, the right arm was considered the sword arm of fighting men. If a man had to protect his bride from family members or desirous men, he would hold her with his left hand, and fight off attackers with his right arm. Some ceremonies today have exceptions for religious reasons or break with tradition for other personal reasons where they inform guests to “choose a seat, not a side.”
So why do we exchange rings and why do we place them specifically on the left fourth finger? According to the Romans, the left fourth finger has a vein that goes directly to your heart, so this “ring finger” holds the symbol of your love. It’s a circle for the obvious reason that it has no end and therefore you are joined together forever.
Bouquet and Garter Toss
Both the bouquet and garter tosses serve a similar purpose from history. In the middle ages, wedding guests would tear at the bride’s dress for a souvenir piece of good luck to take home. Now, the bride's tossing of her bouquet acts as a way to engage the guests, offer a good luck souvenir, and prevent them from ruining her dress! The groom removes the garter to offer another good luck souvenir to the male guests, though traditionally the male guests would try to pull the garter off themselves.
Save the Cake!
Why do newlyweds preserve the top tier of their wedding cake? It’s common for many couples to freeze part of their cake to celebrate their one year anniversary or the christening of a child. It’s another good luck superstition, or simply a way to remind yourselves about the celebratory occasion. P.S. It will NOT taste good! Ask your baker if they make an anniversary cake and serve that tradition up on wedding day to your guests!
It’s up to you to decide which of these traditions to incorporate into your special day or even start some new traditions! Geny’s offers planning services to help navigate you through it all. Set up your consultation now.