Where Did That Come From? The Origins of Wedding Traditions

There are many traditions that surround weddings. Some of them are sweet, others are a little puzzling. Have you ever wondered how they started? Here a few popular wedding traditions with unexpected origins:

Bridesmaids in matching dresses – Originally, the bride and her bridesmaids all wore similar dresses in order to confuse evil spirits (or disgruntled exes) who may want to steal the bride away. A bridesmaid’s job was to protect the bride from harm and ensure that she made it to the alter.

Bridal Veil – In ancient times, it was believed that the bride was vulnerable to evil spirits and her veil was meant to shield and protect her. Brides in ancient Rome even wore flame colored veils in an effort to startle and confuse these spirits. Veils were also used in arranged marriages to preserve the element of suspense so the groom did not get a clear view of the bride until after they were married.

Wedding Cake – The groom used to take a bite of bread and crumble the rest over the bride’s head for good luck. Their guests would then scramble to pick up the fallen crumbs to absorb the good luck. Later the tradition evolved from bread to wedding cake. The bride would push the wedding cake through her ring and give pieces to her guests to sleep with under their pillows to give them good luck.

Throwing Rice – This tradition began in Ancient Rome when guests threw rice at the newlyweds to shower the couple with fortune, prosperity and fertility. Now we send off the bride and groom in other ways such as birdseed, confetti, sparklers, or bubbles!

Groom can’t see the Bride before the ceremony – When arranged marriages were the norm, often the first time a bride and groom laid eyes on one another was at the alter. It was believed that if they saw each other before the ceremony, it may leave room for second thoughts to creep in and the marriage may not happen. Many modern couples have opted to forego this tradition and have a special “first look” moment before the ceremony. Most often it is not literally the first time they have seen each other though!




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