Old Wedding Customs + Traditions
Weddings are timeless celebrations filled with joy and love, and throughout history, they have been accompanied by a variety of fascinating customs and traditions. From ancient times to the not-so-distant past, couples have honored their union in unique ways that reflect their cultural heritage and beliefs. These old wedding customs served as symbols of fertility, warding off evil spirits, and bringing good luck to the newlyweds. Some examples include the exchange of wedding rings, the tossing of rice or flower petals, and the wearing of traditional attire. Exploring these old wedding traditions adds a touch of enchantment and nostalgia to modern-day ceremonies, reminding us of the enduring power and significance of love throughout the ages.
The Brides Handkerchief
The Brides handkerchief came from early farmers that believed the bride’s tears on her wedding day bought good luck and rains for their crops. The hanky can be passed down throughout generations to dab away the tears of happiness.
In ancient times when men were ready for marriage they would take a women against her will to a hiding place. While the moon went through the stages (about 30 days) he drank a brew made from honey. Hence the word honeymoon.
Why do the Attendants dress alike?
The attendants all dressed alike on the day of the wedding so that the Bride and Groom blended in. This was in fear that someone may spot them and put a curse on them.
Why does the Bride wear white?
The colour white has been a symbol of celebration, happiness, joy and purity.
Why does the Bride carry flowers?
Flowers of all types have been chosen by many due to their symbolic meaning. For example; Ancient brides carried herbs as a symbol of fidelity, Greek brides carried ivy as a symbol of never-ending love.
The Wedding Cake
In early Roman times a thin loaf was broken over the Brides head at the close of the ceremony. The wheat symbolises fertility and the guests would eat the crumbs for good luck.
Why carry the Bride across the Threshold?
In early times the Bride was carried as she would not step into the Grooms abode willingly. It has also been believed that the Groom carries the Bride to protect her from demons as she entered the Grooms home.
The throwing of rice over the couple has always been symbolic of prosperity and good luck.
Giving the Bride away?
In early times fathers would literally give their daughter away usually in exchange for monetary gain. Today it has been taken to be symbolic of support and love.
The Engagement Ring
The engagement ring was known as the betrothal ring and was used not only as a partial payment for the bride as well as a symbol of the Grooms intentions. The diamond, first found in Medieval Italy was chosen because of its hardness which symbolised enduring love.
Why the third finger-left hand?
It has been believed that there was a vein that led from that finger straight to the heart although this has now been found not to be true.
Why a Wedding ring?
The circle of the ring symbolises a never ending love.
Why does the Bride wear a veil?
The veil is traditionally white but in ancient Greece it was yellow, in Ancient Rome it was red. Traditionally it has been said it was bad luck for the Groom to see the Bride before the Ceremony. In old days of marriage the couple rarely saw each other during courtship so the lifting of the veil symbolises male dominance. If the bride lifts the veil she is showing independence.
The Bride and Groom are the first to take to the dance floor dancing to their choice of song. The Father of the Bride then cuts in and the Groom asks the Bride’s Mother to dance. The Grooms Father then cuts in to dance with the Bride and the Groom with his Mother. The Best Man will then ask for a dance with the Bride and the Groom will then dance with the Maid or Matron of Honour. The entire Bridal Party then join in on the dance floor and followed by the guests.
The Grooms Cake
The Grooms cake is a small cake served at the wedding reception. The idea is to give a piece of cake to young unmarried woman so they can take it home and place it under their pillow. The old wives tale says they will marry whomever they dream of that night.