Tradition: The Proposal
History: Formal contract between families. Often times
the groom would send a group of friends or servants to state his
intentions. The group would not continue on the journey if on
the way they saw a monk, a nun, or a blind man. These were thought
to be omens that the marriage would be doomed. If, however, they
saw a nanny goat, a pigeon, or wolves, the union would be blessed
with a lifetime of good fortune.
Modern Twist: Today, most couples become engaged as a matter
of mutual agreement that, thankfully, has nothing to do with the
sighting of omens. However, some couples still pay homage to the
tradition by having the groom announce the engagement to the families
after the bride-to-be has already accepted the proposal.
Tradition: Diamond Engagement Ring
History: Medieval Italians believed that the diamond was
created in the Flames of Love.
Modern Twist: Today, the diamond engagement ring is a symbol
of the commitment made between two people and of their intention
to become husband and wife. It should be noted that an engagement
ring is not always a diamond. Today's rings can be of any stone
the couple finds attractive.
Tradition: The Bridal Shower
History: Originally intended to strengthen friendships
between the bride and her female friends, in the 1890's, it evolved
into an occasion for friends to present the bride-to be with small
gifts. In fact, the gifts were placed in a parasol, which was
opened above the bride's head, allowing the gifts to "shower"
down upon her.
Modern Twist: Today, showers come in all styles. It isn't
unusual for a bride to have a lingerie shower, a stock the bar
shower, a kitchen shower, etc. The style of shower can range from
traditional all female affairs to large parties or barbecues that
include both men and women. Check out our great Bridal Shower
party games at WhereBridesGo.com!
Tradition: Bridal Party
History: This tradition stems from the Anglo-Saxon tradition
of a groom using "Brides knights" to ensure that the
bride got to the wedding and got to his home after the ceremony
without being attacked and the dowry stolen. As weddings became
more elaborate affairs, the use of bridesmaids became more common.
They were responsible for helping the bride get dressed and to
help decorate for the ceremony.
Modern Twist: Today's bridal party usually consists of
very close friends and family who have a special connection to
the couple. It is not unusual for a bride to have a special male
friend be an usher or a groom's sister to be an attendant. Modern
brides thank their wedding party with small gifts of appreciation
and friendship. Wedding party gifts are available at WhereBridesGo.com.
Tradition: Giving Away of the Bride
History: During times when arranged marriages were the
norm, the bride was literally given to the groom by her father
in exchange for some form of property.
Modern Twist: Today, the act of "giving away the bride"
is used to show support the union. Many brides today chose to
have both parents escort her down the aisle, or they choose to
walk unassisted to symbolize their independence.
Tradition: The Veil
History: During ancient times, weddings were arranged without
the groom ever having seen the bride. It was thought that if the
groom saw the bride and didn't like what he saw, he might not
go through with the wedding. The veil was not lifted until after
the ceremony. The veil was also thought to ward off evil spirits
by disguising the identity of the bride.
Modern Twist: In this country it is unusual for couples
to get married without having spent a great deal of time together.
Today, the veil is a beautiful accessory that symbolizes modesty
Tradition: Wedding Dress
History: Wedding dresses were not always white. In fact,
until the 1840's, when Queen Victoria got married in a white gown,
wedding gowns traditionally blue. In Biblical times, blue symbolized
purity and fidelity-a reason that Mary, Mother of Jesus, is often
depicted in blue robes.
Modern Twist: Today, brides wear wedding gowns of all colors.
It has truly become a matter of personal preference. However,
the most popular choices are white and ivory.
Tradition: Something Old, Something New
History: A Victorian rhyme that recognizes the importance
of old friends, new beginnings, happiness, fidelity, and prosperity.
"Old" stands for old friends; "new" represents
the beginning of a new family; carrying something "borrowed"
from a happily married friend represent borrowed happiness, the
carrying of something "blue" represents purity and modesty.
The sixpence in the shoe was worn to bring prosperity to the couple.
Modern Twist: Today, many brides still follow this tradition
by incorporating treasured family heirlooms into their ceremonies
for the borrowed or old; garters are often at least in part blue,
while the wedding attire or jewelry can be the new. Many brides
put a penny in their shoe, as sixpences are not very common! Keepsake
sixpences are available at WhereBridesGo.com
Tradition: Kissing the Bride
History: In Roman times, kissing was a legal bond that
sealed all contracts.
Modern Twist: Today, the kissing of the bride signifies
that the marriage ceremony is complete and that the couple is
now husband and wife.
Tradition: The Groom's Cake
History: A rich, dense cake was presented to wedding guests
to take home as a memento of the wedding. It also was believed
that if a single woman slept with a piece of the groom's cake
under her pillow, she would dream about the man she would marry!
Modern Twist: Today, often the groom's cake is still a
rich, dark cake that is decorated to symbolize the groom's favorite
sport's team or hobby. However, unlike in the days of old, the
cake is usually consumed at the reception. Keepsake keep cake
boxes and cake favor boxes are available at WhereBridesGo.com.
Tradition: Wedding Favors
History: Because the bride and groom were believed to be
lucky, anything they touched was also seen as a good luck charm.
Small gifts were given to wedding guests to bring them good luck
throughout the year.
Modern Twist: Today wedding favors are given as a memento
of the beginning of the marriage. They can range from personalized
candies to engraved frames to bookmarks to centerpieces. Couples
still give favors to symbolically pass on the luck! A large selection
of wedding favors can be found at WhereBridesGo.com. Also visit our local vendor directory!
Tradition: Tossing of the Garter
History: In the old days, guests would follow the newly
married couple to their room on their wedding night, wait for
them to undress, and toss their stockings at them. The first to
hit the bride and groom would be the next to marry.
Modern Twist: Today, the groom removes the garter and tosses
to a group of single men. The one who catches it is believed to
be the next to get married. An updated version, involves the garter
being auctioned off with the proceeds going to the couple for
their honeymoon! Beautiful keepsake and tossing garters are available
Tradition: Tossing of the Bouquet
History: This evolved from the old tradition of tearing
a piece of the bride's dress for good luck. Single women would
tear a piece off the wedding gown to ensure finding a husband.
Modern Twist: Today the bride tosses her bouquet to a gathering
of single women. It is still believed that whoever catches the
bouquet is the next to marry. Many brides choose to have their bridal bouquets preserved, and thus
have a "disposable" bouquet ready to toss. Another modern
twist on this tradition is dedicating the bouquet to someone special.
The DJ can help you make this a very special part of your wedding.
Tradition: Jumping of the Broom
History: Historically an African American and Appalachian
tradition, a couple would have a broom placed in their path following
the ceremony that they would leap over together to signify crossing
from single life to married life.
Modern Twist: Many couples still honor this tradition by using
a decorative hand-made broom, which is then kept as a memento
of their special day. Jumping Brooms are available at WhereBridesGo.com!
Tradition: Bachelor Party
History: In 5th century Sparta, a groom and his military comrades
would gather on the eve of the wedding to feast and toast to good
Modern Twist: While not held the night before the wedding,
bachelor parties are still thrown and have been the setting for
some pretty wild times! Though not always scenes of complete debauchery,
they represent the last hurrah for the groom before he settles
down to responsible married life. Brides will often have their
own Bachelorette Party too! Check out our fun Bachelorette
Party items at WhereBridesGo.com.
History: Long ago, newly married couples would drink a
fermented wine made from mead and honey for a month ("moon")
following their wedding.
Modern Twist: Today the honeymoon is a vacation (not necessarily
a month long!) for the newly married couple that usually immediately
follows the wedding. It is a time for the couple to spend lots
of time alone following the hectic planning of the wedding. Many
couples choose very special places to commemorate their marriage.
Use our local vendor directory to help find a travel
agent or destination for your honeymoon.
Tradition: Changing the Bride's Surname
History: Because in olden times, women were treated as
property, her name was changed to signify the change in "ownership"
form father to husband. It was also believed to be bad luck to
marry someone who shared the same last initial.
Modern Twist: Thankfully, women are no longer viewed as
property. Today's brides can choose the name they wish to use.
More and more, brides are opting to keep their own names, either
for professional or personal reasons. It is even common for today's
brides (and grooms) to develop new names from a combination of
Tradition: Throwing of Birdseed
History: This is the more environmentally friendly version
of throwing rice. It was believed that rice and wheat were symbols
of fertility and prosperity. Therefore, wedding guests would throw
them at newly married couples to bring them good luck and many
Modern Twist: Today's newlyweds are toasted in much the
same way. However, today's wedding guests use birdseed, balloons,
bubbles, the ringing of bells or the releasing of doves to shower
the couple with good wishes. Wedding Rice, Bubbles, balloons,
and bells are all available at WhereBridesGo.com!