- Monday, March 9, 2015

Notes from an Intern: Wedding Traditions

From intern Brittany:
Throwing your own wedding or attending someone else’s are a part of everyone’s lives. We’ve all see the classic traditions and landmark events that occur and surround a wedding; things like bridesmaid dresses, the bouquet toss, giving away a bride and so on, but the question is, do we know where these staples originated from or why we do them? The history, superstition and folklore behind some of these traditions might surprise you! 

Here are five different traditions I just learned about that I find fascinating and would like to share:

Bridesmaid dresses
Does anyone know why we wear them? To make sure the bride is the most beautiful woman of the big day! That’s what you’re going to say, am I right? Not so much… Dating back from the earliest traditions, bridesmaids originally dressed identically to the bride! Isn’t that crazy? The thought behind it was so the bride had lookalikes so they can confuse any evil or malevolent spirits that intended harm to the bride. During Victorian times, bridesmaids started to sport shorter veils to differentiate themselves from the bride and when the fear of evil spirits died down in society, commercial dyed become more readily available, giving birth to the colored bridesmaid dress. 

Photo: allforfashiondesign.com
The Ring Finger
Why do we wear our engagement rings and wedding bands on the left ring finger? Anybody know? I didn’t. The ancient Romans believed that it contained the “vein of love,” the vein that ran directly to the heart. So romantic. 

The Wedding Toast
This is a French tradition. According to legend, bread would be placed in the bottom of the newlyweds drinking glasses and they would drink as fast as they can. Whoever would get to their toast first and be crowned the winner, were said to rule their household. Ladies Drink up! 

Bouquet Toss
This has English roots.  Female guests would rip and tear at the brides dress and flowers to obtain a take home souvenir of some of the brides’ good luck.  To escape the crowd of guest picking at her dress and flowers, she would toss her bouquet and run away during the reception!

Photo: tossthebouquetsale.com
The Honeymoon
Why it’s the romantic getaway after our wedding called a honeymoon? The name comes from the tradition that stems from both the from Norse and Ancient Teutonic people (or Germans) which doesn’t have anything really to do with a vacation, but what was drank after the wedding.

In both Norse tradition and the practices of the Teutonic people, the bride and groom went into hiding after their wedding for thirty days. During that time period in Norse tradition, a cup of honey wine was brought to the newlyweds by a family member or friend, by the end of the 30 days of consumption their “honeymoon” ended and the Teutonic drank honey wine for one moon cycle (thirty days,) this “moon” became known as the “honeymoon.”

Being a girl who loves history or just someone who likes cool and interesting facts this is right up my alley. Who would have thought the customs, events and traditions revolving a wedding had such diverse backgrounds to them, that and how each of these practices evolved in meaning and why we do the things we do. Its fun to think, don’t you think? 



*Sources:

10 Wedding Traditions With Surprising Origins
by Rebecca Fairley Raney 

Wedding Traditions & Folklore

Wedding Lore and Traditions

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