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When wedding plans are being made we wonder if anyone gives much thought to wedding traditions? Wedding traditions are the things that we have come to expect in the course of a normal everyday wedding but do we know where they originated from, why we continue with them to this day, should we think about changing them to represent ourselves in our own ceremonies? Virtually every wedding tradition that we know, from the engagement to the honeymoon, is steeped in a rich and vast history. A person’s culture, religious beliefs and even traditions passed down from our ancestors goes into shaping marriages and has for hundreds if not thousands of years. The wedding itself is one of life’s unchanged rites, a primitive tradition in which nearly all the traditions we observe today are merely echoes of the past.
Just about every tradition we think of from the wedding veil and dress, throwing of rice, flowers, something old/something new, to bridesmaids and processionals, at one time had very specific and vitally significant meanings. Although nowadays the original meanings are often lost, we still incorporate these old world customs into weddings because they are traditional and ritualistic. As we have been helping some brides to be plan their weddings here at Liberty Ridge and of course talking about many of the traditional things involved in weddings we thought it might be of some interest and fun to explore and give a little background on wedding traditions.
The tradition of wedding flowers
Before the creation of the bountiful and beautiful wedding bouquets of today’s times, brides of long ago often carried bunches of aromatic garlic, herbs and grains to war off evil spirits as the walked down the aisle. Over time the use of fresh flowers began to take the place of those bunches, symbolizing fertility and everlasting love. There are specific flowers that have special meaning in many cultures, for example, in Hawaii the bride and groom wear leis and newlyweds in India wear floral headdresses.
The wedding dress
In biblical days, wedding attire was blue, not white, which represented purity. The bride and groom would wear a blue band around the bottom of their wedding attire, which is where the “something blue” tradition came from. The white wedding dress is believed to originate from the Greeks, they used white robes to symbolize youth, joy and purity. White wedding dresses did fall out of wedding fashion though again and was resurrected around 1499 by Anne of Brittany, who it is believed made popular again to symbolize the brides virginity.
Back in the times when life was much harder and shorter for people, husbands would often practice a superstitious ritual to ensure their wives’ spirits wouldn’t leave them too soon. They would wrap a bride’s ankles and wrists with ropes of grass in the belief that it would keep her spirit within her. As religious beliefs evolved over the years, the meaning of the bonds evolved as well along with the material used for the bonds. Today, the ring finger is the only thing that is “bound” by grooms. Grass bonds gave way to leather, then stone, then metal, and finally to what we use today – gold and silver. Today, wedding rings symbolize the love and bond between a husband and wife.
These are just a few of the wedding traditions that are used commonly and the backgrounds behind them. There are so many, we could only touch on a few in this post. Once given a little thought as to wedding traditions and the evolution of them we decided why not make another tip suggestion for our blog readers following up on the tips we have been giving to make your day the day of your dreams. So….
Create a new wedding tradition.
With all the traditional wedding activities and traditions that happen at weddings we thought maybe it is time for people to start adding their own touch to those traditions. I recently was talking to woman I know who attended her granddaughter’s very glamorous wedding in Washington, D.C. this past fall. There were a few new spins her granddaughter took with certain traditions that she thought were different but wonderful. She was certainly proud that in all the planning they were doing for the wedding that her granddaughter found ways to make the traditional wedding a little different in ways the attendees would never forget. For example, the matron of honor was not the usual best friend or former college roommate but the bride’s brother, whom she has had a very close relationship with their entire lives. The fact that the bride picked her brother for the person to stand up for her was bucking all the traditional thoughts of the “matron of honor” role but anyone who knew this brother and sister said they couldn’t imagine them doing it any different. She also put a spin on the traditional brides bouquet tossing, instead of tossing the bridal bouquet to all the single ladies in the room she had all the married ladies stand up and then sit down when the emcee called the number of years the ladies were married for. The last woman standing was the one who had been married the longest and hence was the winner of the bouquet, the bride said she did it to celebrate the same everlasting love she would have with her husband, the same was done for the garter. The last thing that she mentioned that we thought was a little different was host a breakfast for family the morning following the wedding. She said it was so nice to have a more relaxed atmosphere to celebrate the happy couple and mingle with family the morning after the wedding before everyone was on their way back home since many came from afar.
We hope this helps to give you soon to be brides some different ideas about wedding tradition and will help when planning your own weddings here on the farm!