Most of us know are familiar with many of the wedding traditions floating around, but do you really know the meaning behind them? You can expect your couples to be asking about ways to incorporate traditions into their celebration, so it’s important to brush up on your wedding history before you’re caught off-guard!
Wedding planning was born in the 1800s as people were hired to help a bride get ready while her family prepared the event space. Originally, this was only for royalty and upper class families, but as the role developed, it became an important aspect for all couples saying “I do.” Nowadays, planners are essential, and weddings often bring together an average of 15 vendors for an event.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common traditions …
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
We’ve all heard this one before, but oftentimes it’s said without knowing the full meaning of each component. It’s actually rather romantic when you get down to it! The “something old” represents continuity while the “something new” signifies optimism and hope for the future. “Something borrowed” is way to incorporate shared happiness from happily married couples and “something blue” embodies fidelity, love, purity and fertility. As for the sixpence in your shoe? That ensures a life of fortune for the happy couple!
It's Like Rain on Your Wedding Day
Nobody wants it to drizzle on his or her Big Day, but rumor has it that it’s good luck. Although it may sound a bit backwards, tradition states that rain strengthens the “knot” that a couple ties at the altar, whether literally or figuratively.
The white wedding dress is one of the oldest traditions, having started in 1840 by Queen Victoria. Prior to that, brides simply wore their best dresses—something brides might keep that in mind as they shop for their gown!
While veils are simply beautiful accessories these days, they originated as a way to hide the bride’s identity for arranged marriages so that the groom couldn’t see her until after he said “I do.” It also symbolizes the bride’s virginity, innocence and modesty.
Wedding Party Madness
While today’s main men and leading ladies are all about wedding-day support, they had much more devious roles in the past. The best man and groomsmen were responsible for helping the groom kidnap his bride and fight off angry relatives, while the maid of honor and bridesmaids helped to confuse and distract evil spirits and jealous suitors of the bride.
The tradition of having a wedding cake came about in ancient Rome, when partygoers would break a loaf of bread over a bride’s head for fertility’s sake. The classic tiered cake, however, emerged later from a game where the bride and groom try to kiss over an ever-higher cake without knocking it over.
While these don’t cover every wedding tradition you’ll come across, they are some of the most common beliefs and rituals. Get familiar with them before couples are asking for your opinions--you’ll be grateful to have answers for them!
Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui. She is also the creator of The Tailored Plan, a self-administered class for wedding planners to grow and improve upon their skills.