There are a LOT of traditions surrounding weddings. Even the most non-traditional couple likes to incorporate some type of tradition into their weddings. We’ve also noticed that sometimes couples struggle with what to incorporate and how. Some of this struggle comes from the couple’s family who want to incorporate some of the traditions they had when they were married 20, 30, or 40 years ago. Here are some of the more common traditions and a little bit of the history behind them.
Throwing the garter (and bridal bouquet)
This evolved as a way to actually protect the bride. In medieval France, guests would actually storm the alter trying to snag a piece of the bride’s dress, which was considered good luck. Brides would end up crying on the alter in the tattered remnants of a wedding gown. Somewhere along the line, someone decided to toss a garter as a way to appease the mob of guests looking for a good luck charm. This is also the same reason behind why the bride throws her bouquet.
Ever wonder why bridesmaids dress in the same or similar dresses? Early brides and bridesmaids dressed in similar ways in order to confuse evil spirits and protect the bride. If everyone looked the same it was harder for the bride to be detected. This is also the same reasoning behind the groomsmen dressing alike…the groom needed to be protected too.
Carrying the bride over the threshold
Back in the day when the groom would steal his bride from her tribe, he would need to carry her kicking and screaming. This act has evolved to the much more romantic gesture of welcoming a bride to their new home as a couple.
In ancient times, brides actually carried garlic and herbs, all in an effort to ward off evil spirits. Over time, this combination was replaced with the necessity of carrying flowers that masked the smell of body odor…in the 1600s it was very common for people to take baths just once a year!! The bouquet of flowers smelled better and would help alleviate the pungent smell of unbathed guests.
Marrying on the half hour
It has long been considered bad luck to get married when the hands of the clock are on their way down. It is believed that couples should get married between the half hour and the hour so that the hands are “ascending to heaven” and moving back up, otherwise your marriage will always be going downhill.
This tradition comes from Nordic couples that would go into hiding after their wedding. A family member would bring them a cup of honey wine every day for 30 days. This is where the term comes from…one moon’s worth of honey wine.
The day is yours but it means a lot to your parents and family members too!
Couples should always incorporate what they want to include but you should at least consider some of the things that your family may want to see too, whether it is a religious tradition, family tradition or an ethnic tradition. The wedding day is ultimately yours but if your family is pushing hard for a specific tradition, it can be a nice gesture to at least consider their feelings before you make the final decision.