Do you know the origins behind common wedding traditions?
Updated: Feb 17
Every bride needs her something old, something blue, something borrowed, and something new. But why? These are the origin stories behind some of the most iconic wedding traditions.
The white wedding dress became an icon after Queen Victoria’s wedding in the 1840’s, but in the early 1900’s bridesmaids often wore white dresses as well. But this wasn’t done just to upstage the bride on her big day. The traditional actually dates back to the beginning in Ancient Rome where bridesmaids were meant to be decoys in case someone tried to kidnap the bride . . . But these days, the bride is the star of the show, so rarely do bridesmaids wear white. The tradition of all the bridesmaids wearing the same dress stuck, though.
Blue items gifted to the bride were meant to ward off evil spirits - specifically ones meant to make her infertile. The color blue has long been thought to thwart evil spirits and it’s no different with weddings! The old saying “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” was meant to remind the bride of all the ways she could ensure good luck with her new union — usually in respect to fertility. Brides of the past often obtained their “something borrowed” from women who had already had children, and often the item was undergarments . . . ew.
Bridal bouquets aren’t just for pretty pictures, they keep the bad juju at bay, too! Ok, I’m sensing a theme. Evil spirits must LOVE weddings because everyone was trying real hard to get rid of that negative energy. Originally bridal bouquets consisted of herbs, mint, and marigold to ward off unwanted Caspers.
The idea of the honeymoon is originally thought to come from a scary trend in the Middle Ages — kidnapping a woman to make her your bride. Cringe. Although controversial, honeymoons may have originated from a time when women were kidnapped and forced to marry their abductor. The groom would hide the bride in another location until her family gave up looking for her. Why some shmuck thought this was acceptable, I’ll never know.
The tradition of wearing your ring on the fourth finger of your left hand dates back to the Romans, who needed a better lesson in anatomy. The Romans believed — for reasons unknown — that the vein located inside the fourth finger on the left side had a direct path to the heart . . . it doesn’t. But I guess it does make it easier to tell who is wearing nice jewelry and who is married if everyone agrees on the placement, right?
So, yeah. Those turned out to be pretty creepy . . . but don’t let that stray you from tradition! Do you have a bridal tradition in your family? Comment below.