Western wedding traditions - where did they come from?
If you’ve been spending hours and hours planning out your wedding, staring at blog after blog, sleep deprivation starts kicking in, and your mind has started wandering to those random thoughts and questions that pop into your head late at night, you might be wondering - why do we even have a bridal party? Do I need to have a white dress? To stop your late night wondering, we thought we’d demystify some of the classic wedding traditions - and it might get you thinking about whether to include them, or take a modern day twist!
THE BRIDAL PARTY
There’s something so wonderful about being surrounded by a group of your closest friends, or perhaps your siblings, as you say your vows on your wedding day - and, not to mention, it’s a great reason to get a bit glam with your besties, and don epic hairdos, makeup and sparkling dresses!
But the truth behind the bridal party might blow your mind - historically, bridesmaids would wear dresses similar to the bride’s, to confuse her exes and outsmart evil spirits. Eek! These girls would be responsible for protecting the bride on her way to the groom. Similarly, the groomsmen were there to protect - and to stop the bride escaping if she tried. The selection of a best man usually depended on his skills with a sword, in case it was needed. In some traditions, the best man was also the next in line to marry the bride should the groom not turn up. Reconsidering your bridal party lineup?
THE WHITE DRESS
Most people think of the white wedding dress as being symbolic of purity and virginity - but pre-1800s, most brides opted for colourful, and wore red dresses instead! Even back in ancient Rome, brides donned veils of deep yellow, symbolic of light and warmth; in Ancient Athenian weddings, brides wore long violet robes. The classic white wedding dress wasn’t made popular until Queen Victoria’s wedding in the mid 19th century. What colour would you opt for - classic white, or something different?
This one used to symbolise ownership of the bride - but has evolved (alongside women’s rights) over time, and now has a pretty gorgeous meaning! The ring finger was believed to contain a vein, called the vena amoris, that lead directly to the heart - and although science has debunked this myth, it’s still a lovely gesture!
Everyone’s favourite part of the evening - the cake! But it wasn’t always a three tiered stack of sugary, frosting-covered goodness that took the table on the wedding day. The origins of wedding cake actually began in ancient Rome - weddings would end with the groom breaking a loaf of barley over the bride’s head (to symbolise fertility, obviously!). And all the crumbs that fell to the floor? Guests would rush around to pick up the crumbs, in the hopes of tagging onto their good luck.
Who would've thought!