As most of you know, I am a non traditional wedding planner. I plan weddings for my amazing couples who choose to make their own traditions. It doesn’t mean that couples won’t have some wedding traditions, it just means they won’t let traditions dictate how their wedding day will be. I work with couples who want to celebrate their love story and only keep traditions that resonate with them! If this sounds like you then please do get in touch because you’re EXACTLY the kind of couple I LOVE to work with. If you’re still not sure where you stand on wedding traditions then keep reading!
Let’s start with the most popular wedding traditions and I will explain the brief history behind them. It’s really interesting to see why and how wedding traditions became what they are today and it will hopefully help you decide which ones you want to keep and which ones you want to ditch!
1) WEARING A WHITE DRESS
2) BEING GIVEN AWAY/WALKED DOWN THE AISLE
For a lot of parents this is a tradition they look forward to, walking their children down the aisle. However, this tradition is from the Middle ages, when daughters were considered their father’s property, and they would be “sold” to the groom!
3) WEDDING CAKE
Wedding cakes have their roots in Ancient Rome, when marriage ceremonies ended in scone-like wheat or barley cake broken over the bride’s head for luck and fertility. I know – what a lucky lady! Luckily we’ve moved on from that tradition. And in the Medieval days, the English started stacking spiced buns, scones, and cookies as high as possible and the couple would try to kiss over it. The story goes that if the couple kissed without toppling the whole thing over then they would have good fortune. Cake didn’t come into fashion until the 18th Century!
4) FIRST DANCE
The first dance comes from the days when we had Royal Balls, the host – usually the man of the house, would host the first dance to kick off the party. In weddings, the father of the bride would traditionally be considered the host and would dance with the bride first followed by the groom.
5) WEDDING FAVOURS
The very first wedding favours were known as ‘bonbonnieres’ and were gifts given to guests as they are today. The meaning behind a wedding favour is that it is a symbol of good luck.
The original meaning of the wedding speech or toast is to wish the new couple health and good luck in their marriage. Guests are then invited by the speech maker to raise their glasses and to drink to the happy couple’s health, wealth and happiness.
7) RECEIVING LINE
It is usually where the couple and their parents will stand in a line and greet guests as they enter the wedding meal before they sit down. The receiving line is an opportunity for the couple and their parents to say hello to each guest, as well as to thank them for attending. This is the most tedious and time wasting tradition in my opinion!
8) WEDDING RINGS
The circular shape symbolises eternity, which actually comes from Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians wore wedding rings on the left finger of the left hand, which is where they believed the ‘vena amoris’ (the vein of love) began, leading all the way to the heart.
9) BOUQUET TOSS
This has been a wedding tradition for hundreds of years, where touching the bride supposedly brought good luck to guests. For that reason, people would attempt to grab and tear a piece of the bride’s outfit in hope it would pass some of her good luck on to them. However, the guests could get out of control so a tradition evolved where the bride would simply toss her bouquet of flowers instead.
10) OLD, BLUE, BORROWED AND NEW
This tradition is actually based on an old rhyme “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” These are actually objects for good luck for a Bride on her wedding day. The something old was to ward off the evil eye. The something new refers to the optimism of the future. The something borrowed is for good luck which would be from a happily married relative. The something blue was also meant to deflect the Evil Eye, the colour blue stands for love, purity and fidelity—three key qualities for a solid marriage. The sixpence, traditionally was given from the father of the bride who would present her with the sixpence, just before she walks down the aisle as a gift of good luck.
Traditions are great and they’re part of our history, but nearly all of them have been adapted over the years. They’re also influenced by changing trends so don’t feel like you HAVE to have them. Make sure you choose the traditions that align with your values. Which wedding traditions are you keeping and which ones are you ditching, tell me in the comments below!
If you’re wanting to plan a non traditional wedding and plan a wedding your way, but need some help then just get in touch