Wedding Traditions Both Tried and True, and New to You

Writer / Alli Donovan
Photography Provided

Weddings are all about love, and the start of a new life with your partner. Much of the fun derives from wedding traditions that many brides dream about since childhood. Many wedding traditions run much deeper and are much more complex than people might realize.

Wedding Traditions

Wedding traditions stem from many origins – English, Roman, Greek, Indian and more. But do we, as brides, understand their meaning?

Believe it or not, traditions have changed over time. However, there are simple ways to balance new and traditional wedding elements, if that’s what you choose to do.

  1. The First-Look Tradition at the Ceremony

A controversial tradition, to start off. The tradition of not seeing each other before the wedding stems from a time in certain parts of the world when brides and grooms were not permitted to see or meet one another until their wedding day.

With the progression of modern times, this tradition has transformed into a superstition, and it is supposedly bad luck for a groom to see the bride before she walks down the aisle. However, couples that follow this rule also get a beautiful tradition – seeing your soon-to-be spouse’s reaction along with the rest of your guests when you walk down the aisle.

Also, the first look has become a monumental photo moment – a very intimate photo captured between the bride and groom with no one else around. Couples enjoy spending time together, getting those photos and making memories privately before the ceremony.

  1. Wearing a Veil

It is said that wearing a wedding veil originated in Ancient Rome. The veil would disguise the bride from evil spirits that would try to ruin the wedding.

In many cultures, the veil represents a bride’s modesty. More recently, veils have come to reflect style, and allow the bride to make a statement with her dress and accessories.

  1. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Perhaps you have heard the following saying: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in her shoe.”

This rhyme originated in England. It was believed that all of these pieces were necessary to either be on the wedding dress or held during the ceremony, to bring a happy marriage to the bride and groom.

Examples include heirloom jewelry, blue hair clips or new shoes. This tradition has now extended past the bride, and grooms or members of the wedding party might incorporate one of the pieces for the day.

Each piece of the rhyme does have a distinct meaning. If brides want to incorporate this into their upcoming wedding, we have done the research on the meanings.

  • Something old: This piece represents continuity or perpetuity. This can be for your marriage, your vows, your family or simply the continuation of your love.
  • Something new: Something new offers positivity for your future lives, entering your new marriage with something you don’t already have.
  • Something borrowed: This involves bringing good luck to the newlyweds.
  • Something blue: Many in England believed that blue stood for love, purity and fidelity – three qualities that created a solid marriage.
  • A sixpence in her shoe: Many people are not aware of the meaning of the final ingredient of this old rhyme. A sixpence was a British coin that was decommissioned in 1980. It represents prosperity for couples as they start their lives together. Many couples still find a sixpence to put in their shoe, but people often substitute the coin with a penny.
  1. Writing a Letter to Your Future Spouse
Wedding Traditions

One tradition that many have incorporated into their weddings is exchanging a handwritten letter with their partner. This process allows you to sit down and put words to paper about your love, memories, your promises, and everything you are feeling as you begin your big day.

Lucky for us, provides a step-by-step guide for creating a wedding letter for your partner.

Be sure to include:

  • Your reason why you love your partner and want to spend the rest of your life with them.
  • Your hope for the day.
  • Your promise for the future.
  • Your “I fell in love” memory.
  • Your proudest moment.

The guide also recommends being genuine, including little details and keeping a running list of anything you want to include.

  1. Freezing Your Wedding Cake

This tradition originates from Great Britain. Fruitcakes were common in Great Britain for wedding cakes. Fruitcakes could be preserved well, and couples would save the top tier for their first anniversary or their child’s christening. A common reason for this tradition is the good luck it brings to couples one year later.

  1. Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold

This tradition is believed to have originated from the ancient Romans. The bride would convince her family that she was not very excited to leave her father’s home. Hence, she was dragged over the threshold to her new groom’s home.

Additionally, some people supposedly believed evil spirits were hovering at the door of their new home, so the bride was lifted over the threshold so the spirits could not enter her body.

In the present day, it is simply a fun tradition for newlyweds.

These are common traditions in American culture. Below are some traditions in other countries. You might consider adding some to your own day.

Poland: Money Dance

  • This involves male guests paying to dance with the bride. Nowadays, many female guests will pay as well.

India: Gifting Floral Garlands

  • One of the many marriage customs of India is “varmala.” This refers to the gifting of floral garlands between the bride and groom after their vows. This act is one of the most important traditions in India, as it displays the bride’s acceptance of her groom.

Italy: Throwing a Wine Glass

  • Italian weddings are known to be lavish and elaborate, guided by religious customs. Many Italian grooms uphold the tradition of throwing a wine glass at the wedding reception. Supposedly, the number of shattered glass shards will foretell the number of years the couple will remain happily wed and prosperous.

Germany: Polterabend

  • Polterabend is a German wedding tradition, and it takes place on the evening before the actual wedding. Guests are expected to bring small gifts, as well as the obligatory plate or flowerpot for throwing. The action of smashing the item is thought to bring luck to the couple.

Peru: Wedding Cake Pull

  • Forget the bouquet toss! All the single ladies at a Peruvian wedding perform the wedding cake pull. This tradition involves charms attached to ribbons that are placed between the layers of the wedding cake. Before the cake is cut by the bride and groom, each single female guest must pull one ribbon. One of the ribbons is attached to a fake wedding ring, and the
    Wedding Traditions

    tradition maintains that the single lady who pulls the ribbon with the fake ring will be the next to marry.

Whatever traditions you choose to implement in your wedding, be sure to make the most of your wedding day. Take in every second of a day that celebrates a new chapter of your life. Cheers!

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