So often, in the United States, wedding traditions are carried out with little or no thought as to how or why they came to be. There’s the engagement, the dress, , the kiss, then wedded bliss. the Some of these traditions come from ethnic background, the influence of royalty, and even on old wives tales! Here is a closer look at five wedding traditions and the history that may have caused them to become standard practice.
Old, new, borrowed and blue
This tradition is often carried out today when the mother of the bride provides her daughter an object that meets each of these stipulations. For some it is a blue handkerchief to be carried inside a pocket, for others it may be a piece of jewelry with a blue stone that has been handed down from generation to generation. This interesting tradition actually started because of superstition. To wear old, new, borrowed and blue in the Victorian age was said to bring a lot of good luck to the new bride and help to ward off evil spirits.
The tradition of saving the top layer of wedding cake and is certainly not based on the fact that freezer cake lathered with an ice encrusted layer of frosting tastes great. In fact most couples that carry out this particular tradition advise other newlyweds just to enjoy the cake now, because it will taste horrible after a year of sitting in the freezer surrounded by meat, fish and an odd assortment of vegetables. Historically, the top layer of cake was saved to use as a christening cake for the baby that was expected to make its appearance within that first year.
Historically, a best man was not the person whose friendship and wisdom you valued the most. Instead, it was the man who was best with a sword. One duty of this well trained best man was to protect the groom in the event that he needed to kidnap his bride-to-be from her disapproving parents. The best man was also given the duty of guarding the door of the newlyweds throughout the night in case the bride tried to run away.
White has not always been the color most chosen for wedding dresses. Prior to Queen Victoria’s wedding most brides wore yellow, blue, red and even brown to be married in. White was a color that many did not use simply because it got dirty so easily. When Queen Victoria wore a white gown for her wedding in 1840, many took notice. Suddenly the white dress signified a family that was wealthy enough to not care if a dress was ruined by dirt, smoke or dust. Today, many assume that a white wedding dress is worn to represent purity and morality, however, the color was used in the beginning simply as a status symbol.
Today, wedding guests often shower a departing bride and groom with bubbles or flower petals. Tradition of old , oats, dried corn, and other types of grain be thrown at the departing couple to signify upcoming prosperity on the marriage. The tradition of throwing rice slowed greatly when rumor stated that birds that ate uncooked rice would die.
Some couples plan traditional wedding ceremonies and celebration with no thought to the meaning behind the surrounding events. By looking at the reasons these traditions started, many are able to pick and choose the things that they want to represent with their own modern day celebration.