Wedding bouquets were originally made of strong herbs such as garlic and thyme, which were meant to frighten away evil spirits, and to cover the smell of people who did not bath often.
In ancient times, it was believed that a Bride was especially lucky on her wedding day. Guest would sometimes tear at her dress for a souvenir piece of good luck to take home. The Bride’s tossing of her bouquet grew from her desire to offer a good luck souvenir, and prevent guest from bothering her (and her dress!) during her reception.
When marriages were arranged by family members, the newlyweds very rarely were allowed to see one another. Family members exchanging a dowry were afraid that if the Groom didn’t like the appearance of the Bride’s face, he might refuse to marry her. This is why the “Father of the Bride” gave the Bride away to the Groom at the actual ceremony.
Only after lifting her veil just prior to the ceremony did the Groom see the Bride’s face for the first time. Early Greek and Roman Brides wore Red or Yellow veils to represent fire, and to ward off demons.
Prior to the 5th century, the ring finger was actually the index finger. Later it was believed that the third finger contained the “vein of love” that lead directly to the heart.
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue
This superstition of the Bride wearing something that fits each of these four categories originated in Europe to ward off evil spirits. Something Old: This tradition symbolized the sense of continuity while making the transition from a single person to that of a married couple. Something New: This tradition symbolized that marriage represented a transition to adulthood. Something Borrowed: This tradition symbolized the popular belief that by borrowing something from a happily married couple, good fortune would follow the newlyweds. Something Blue: In ancient Israel, blue was the border color of the Bride’s dress, symbolizing purity, constancy and fidelity.
This was made popular in the 1840’s by Queen Victoria, who chose this instead of the traditional royal “silver” wedding dress. Prior to this, Brides simply wore their best dress on their wedding day.
Tying The Knott
This comes from the days of the Roman empire when the Bride wore a girdle that was tied in knots. The Groom untied the knots prior to the consummation of their marriage.
And Finally…The Wedding Cake
Also during the days of the Roman empire, wedding cakes were baked of wheat or barley. At the reception, they were traditionally broken over the head of the new Bride by the Groom as a symbol of her fertility. Guests would then scramble for pieces of the cake, and take them home for good luck. It later became a tradition to place many small cakes on top of each other as high as possible. The newlyweds would then try to exchange a kiss over the top of the tower of cakes without knocking them down. During the reign of King Charles II of England, the baker added icing, and the modern style of wedding cake was born. It is unclear when the tradition of the newlyweds smashing wedding cake into each other’s face first began, and uncertain if such marriages are consummated later that day or evening!
Which of these traditions will make your special day even more special?