Wedding Traditions – 7 Common Wedding Customs Explained

Traditions and customs, modern weddings have tons of ’em: Flowers, rice, something old, something blue, you know the drill. Have you ever thought about how all these wedding traditions originated or what they actually mean? Here’s the meaning behind some of the most popular wedding customs and rituals.

1. Wedding Tradition: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Lucky Sixpence in Her Shoe

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This popular rhyme originated in the Victorian area. Something Old – represents the link to the bride’s old life and her family. Something New – signifies the couple’s new life together as well as their hope for the future. Something Borrowed – originates from the idea that borrowing something from a happily married woman will impart similar happiness to the new bride. Something Blue – represents fidelity, love, and purity. Lucky Sixpence in her Shoe – signifies wealth, both financial wealth and a wealth of happiness.

2. Wedding Tradition – Bride and Groom Not Seeing Each Other Before the Ceremony

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This tradition stems from the early days of arranged marriages – when the bride and groom’s first meeting occurred at the wedding. The two were kept from seeing each other to prevent the groom from bolting should he not like the look of his new bride.

3. Wedding Tradition – Bridal Bouquet

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The first bridal bouquet did not consist of wedding flowers. Instead, wedding bouquets were originally made of strong herbs such as thyme and garlic meant to ward off evil spirits.

4. Wedding Tradition – Throwing Rice

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As rice is considered a “life giving” seed, it is thought that by throwing it on the couple they will be bestowed with fertility and have many children.

5. Wedding Tradition – Bridal Shower

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Tradition states that the first bridal shower was given to a poor couple in Holland who was denied the bridal dowry because of the groom’s lowly miller status. The miller’s friends gathered to “shower” the bride with items she’d need to make a new home and enter into marriage.

6. Wedding Tradition – Getaway Car – Cans Tied To The Bumper

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One wedding tradition of the Middle Ages was to ward off evil spirits by banging pots and making a lot of noise after the ceremony. This custom has been replaced by tying tin cans to the bumper of the car transporting the bride and groom.

7. Wedding Tradition – Garter Toss

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Garter-throwing derives from an English ritual called “flinging the stocking.” Guests would playfully invade the bridal chamber and grab the bride’s stockings, and then they took turns sitting at the foot of the bed flinging the stockings over the heads of the couple. Whoever’s stocking landed on the bride’s or the groom’s nose would be the next to wed.

Looking for more? Learn the meaning behind even more wedding traditions here.


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