Wedding Tradition – Keep It Or Ditch It?

Wedding tradition forms a large part of a couple’s special day. We look at where the traditions come from and whether or not you should keep them or ditch them.

White wedding gown

The wearing of a white wedding gown became popular after the wedding of Queen Victoria in 1840 to Albert Saxe-Coburg. Her gown was made to incorporate some white lace that she owned and prized. The official wedding portrait was widely published and brides at this time chose to emulate the Queen. A wedding tradition was born!

Prior to this royal wedding it was customary for brides to wear their very best dress. A dress was not necessarily purchased solely for the wedding day. Darker colours were commonly used (with the exception of green which was thought to be unlucky). Coloured dresses could be worn again, and darker colours or patterns hid imperfections and stains. It is said that white signifies purity, however this was not the original intention.

Weddings were not always just a marriage of two people. They often were a union between two families, businesses or even countries. Therefore the bride’s family wanted to be shown in the best possible light, and as befitting to their social status (Wikipedia).

wedding tradition - white wedding gown

My grandparent’s wedding in 1932

So is this a wedding tradition to keep or ditch? As with everything this is completely a matter of personal taste. Do you want to be married in white/ecru/ivory/cream? Are you a traditional kind of couple? If the answer is no, then don’t! In an earlier post we talked about choosing colour for your wedding – why not dress in your colour of choice and have the bridesmaids in white?

Wedding veil

During the times of arranged marriages being common place the wedding veil was designed to hide the bride’s face until after the ceremony. Superstition has it that it is unlucky for the groom to see his bride before the ceremony. The Greeks and Romans believed the veil could ward off evil spirits. In some cultures the veil symbolises modesty and obedience.

wedding traditions - the veil

Does a veil fit with your style of dress? Many brides these days are ditching the veil and opting for hair accessories instead.

Being given away

Women used to be considered their father’s property – a chattel – and it was his prerogative therefore to “give her away”. Also, her veil (see above) could be fairly thick material to hide her identity from her groom before the ceremony. She therefore needed someone to guide her down the aisle to prevent her from tripping or bumping into things!

The first look/seeing your partner before the I Do’s

This wedding tradition goes back to the wearing of the veil and arranged marriages when it was unlucky to see each other before the ceremony. In the UK it is a criminal offence to force someone unwillingly into an arranged marriage. These days many couples live together and will certainly have met prior to the wedding day, rendering this wedding tradition outdated.

With so much going on during the wedding day itself it’s a good idea to get some of the photos out of the way early. This includes that first look! The time that the photos take up can be very boring for guests. So if you’re having an afternoon wedding having some photos taken earlier on helps to keep things moving after the ceremony.

wedding tradition - first look

Tiered wedding cake

We covered wedding cakes and why we have them in an earlier post, but why the tiers? In Medieval England wedding cakes were piled high for the bride and groom to kiss over. Successfully doing so was said to guarantee a prosperous life together.

Later on tiered cakes represented prosperity and were a status symbol as only wealthy families could afford it.

The top tier of a wedding cake has often been kept stored for the christening of the first child from a marriage.

wedding tradition - tiered cake

If the traditional tiered cake isn’t for you there are plenty of other options you can go for. For example cupcakes, a dessert table or even a ‘cheese cake’ – a pile of truckles of cheese!

wedding tradition - tiered cake

Throwing the bouquet

In days gone by in order to gain some of the bride’s good luck women would rip off bits of her dress or flowers from the bouquet. The bride would often throw the bouquet towards the women to distract them and effect her escape. These days it would be considered rather bad form to rip the wedding gown I suspect!

Today the bouquet is tossed towards the single women guests, the belief being that whoever catches it will be the next to get married.

This is rather an expensive wedding tradition to my mind. With bouquets costing around £75 on average do you really want to be tossing it around?! If you really want to keep this wedding tradition you could make up a cheaper posy yourself to toss.

New traditions

Why not start a wedding tradition of your own for your family? Leave me a message below letting me know what traditions you’re keeping or ditching. What new traditions will you be starting?

Take care, and happy planning!