“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” Does this rhyming phrase ring a bell to you when you think of weddings? Yes, traditions. Even Princess Diana kept this tradition by heart when she married Prince Charles, wore a new wedding dress made with fabric spun at a British silk farm, adorned with some antique lace, sewn with a small blue bow into the waistband, and donned on a tiara, an 18th-century heirloom of the Spencer family.
So here are other ten traditions that have stood the test of time and still deserve to find its way to modern weddings.
The White Dress
The official wedding dress color used to be red. But when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840 and decided to break the red dress tradition by wearing a white gown, future brides followed suit. Now, the white dress has come to symbolize purity, which means the bride has yet to enjoin with any other man.
Back in Roman days, brides fear that evil spirits would become jealous of her happiness and thus conceal herself with a veil to avoid their evil spells. Today, veils add a dramatic effect to a bride making her way down the aisle, especially if the couple are believers of the next tradition.
The First Look
This tradition boils down to arranged marriages where it was believed that if a bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, they would change their mind and call off the wedding. Nowadays, avoiding seeing each other gives an element of surprise to the couple and only see each other eye to eye sans the veil only during their first kiss.
The Ringing Bells
Irish brides traditionally place some small bells in their bouquets to ward off evil spirits and ensure marital bliss. While brides of today seldom follow this tradition (probably because the sound is more annoying than pleasing), some weddings in Ireland still commonly gift newlyweds with bells to remind them of their wedding vows.
The Wedding Rings
According to history, the bride’s ring symbolized that she was owned by her husband. That may be true as biblically speaking; married women are subject to their husbands. However, with the introduction to women's rights, brides are also given the privilege to put a ring on their husband’s finger – a sign that both are owned. Today, merely wearing a wedding band keeps those winking and seductive eyes from giving you a look.
Do you know that the origin of this tradition was not flowers but – what? – Herbs and spices? Greek brides carry them to (again) keep evil spirits away. And how those evil spirits loathe the smell of those herbs and spices. Today, brides are free to choose their favorite flowers to accentuate their beautiful wedding gowns.
Bridesmaids of the past wore identical dresses as the bride’s to confuse the evil spirits or any man who is planning to snatch her from her wedding. By wearing matching dresses, they would get confused who the real bride is. Today’s bridesmaids are there to attend to the bride on and before the wedding so the latter can keep her focus on the more critical role of getting married.
The Best Man
They aren’t called the best for anything. In ancient times, the best man was tasked to make sure the bride, especially those whose fathers do not approve of the marriage, does not escape during the ceremony. The best man must be the most reliable and most able man who could use any weapon to secure the bride. Wow, such a far cry from what best men of today are expected to do: make sure the wedding bands are safe.
To seal a marriage, an ancient Roman groom would smash a barley cake over his bride’s head. In England, couples kiss over a tall stack of cake. They say this brings good fortune for the newlyweds.
The Garter and Garter Toss
Before it became a wedding game of toss and catch, with the man who catches it believed to be the next groom, the garter was worn by the bride on one of her legs and was only removed when the couple are already in their nuptial bedchambers. After the deed is done, the groom goes to the waiting family and friends outside to show them the sheets, stockings and the garter as proof that their love has been consummated.