25 Fascinating Wedding Traditions

Have you ever wondered the purpose of all those deeply instilled wedding traditions? Why is the bride requiring something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue? Why does the groom toss the garter into a crowd of men, and why is a wedding cake so important?

Nearly every aspect of a wedding has some sort of significance behind it, and I have taken the liberty to dig around and find the origins behind some of the most popular wedding traditions to help give you a little perspective.

traditions

In no particular order…

Tying The Knot

This comes from the days of the Roman empire when the Bride wore a girdle that was tied in knots. The Groom untied the knots prior to the consummation of their marriage.

Bouquet Toss

In ancient times, it was believed that a Bride was especially lucky on her wedding day. Guests would sometimes tear at her dress for a souvenir piece of good luck to take home. The Bride’s tossing of her bouquet grew from her desire to offer a good luck souvenir, and prevent guests from bothering her (and her dress!) during her reception.toss

Wedding Toast

It is said that this tradition first began in France, where bread would be placed in the bottom of two drinking glasses for the newlyweds. They would then drink as fast as they could to be the first person to get to the toast. According to legend, the winner would rule their household!toast

Bridal Shower

Back in the days when weddings were arranged by family members, it is said that a poor Dutchman fell in love with a girl whose father refused her a dowry. Their friends showered her with enough gifts to help them start a household. According to another story, the first “Bridal Shower” occurred at the end of the 19th century. At a party, the Bride’s friends placed small gifts inside a parasol and opened it over the Bride’s head. When she opened the parasol, she was “showered” with presents!

Seeing Each Other Before the Wedding

This superstition dates back to the time of arranged marriages, when people believed that if the couple saw each other before the ceremony, it would give them a chance to change their minds about the wedding. Today, however, many couples choose to meet up and even have portrait sessions before saying their “I dos.”

Bridal Veil

When marriages were arranged by family members, the newlyweds very rarely were allowed to see one another. Family members exchanging a dowry were afraid that if the Groom didn’t like the appearance of the Bride’s face, he might refuse to marry her. This is why the Father of the Bride “gave the Bride away” to the Groom at the actual wedding ceremony. Only after lifting her veil just prior to the ceremony did the Groom see the Bride’s face for the first time! Early Greek and Roman Brides wore red or yellow veils to represent fire, and to ward off demons.

veil

Carrying The Bride Over The Threshold

When a Groom used to steal his Bride from her tribe, he was forced to carry her kicking and screaming. This act of thievery has evolved into a more romantic gesture, welcoming the Bride into her new home.

Garter

Brides originally tossed a garter, rather than a bouquet, at a wedding reception. In the 14th century, this custom changed after Brides became tired of fighting off drunken men who tried to remove the garter themselves! According to one legend, the garter toss in England evolved from an earlier tradition of “flinging the stocking”. On their wedding night, guests would follow the Bride and Groom to their bedroom, wait until they undressed, steal their stockings, and then “fling” them at the couple! The first person to hit the Bride or Groom on the head would supposedly be the next person to marry.

Breaking of Glass

In Italy, many newlyweds smash a vase or glass at their wedding, and they put a lot of muscle into it, too. The tradition says that however many pieces the glassware breaks into will symbolize how many years they’ll be happily married.

breaking-glass

Engagements

The modern engagement is rooted in the Medieval customs of publishing the banns and handfasting. The handfasting ceremony usually took place when the couple was very young, often many years before the actual wedding. It was this ceremony, not the wedding, that produced the exchange of vows which are now part of the Anglican wedding ceremony (where the couple vows to marry and be faithful). This was also time for bride price and dowry to be exchanged. The ceremony was sealed with a drink and a kiss. (Wet bargains were considered more binding than dry ones; if the kiss did not take place, and the parties later decided to back out, they both had to return any betrothal gifts. If the kiss did take place the man had to return all but the woman only half).

 Diamond Engagement Rings

Although engagement rings have been popular through the ages, it wasn’t until Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented a diamond to Mary of Burgundy in 1477 that the tradition of offering the most enduring gem on Earth took hold. These days, the majority of brides receive diamond engagement rings.

 Sixpence in Your Shoe

What is a sixpence? The sixpence was a a British form of currency worth a 40th of sterling, or six pence.  In England, the first sixpences were struck in the reign Edward VI in 1951 and continued until they were obsolete in 1971.

What does the sixpence have to do with weddings?

In a nutshell, the sixpence tradition began in the late 17th century as a part of the dowry gift to the groom.  As time went on, the coin became more of a good luck charm worn in the left shoe of the bride on her wedding day.

sixpence-in-shoe

Bridesmaids

The bride’s maid is another tradition we owe to the Anglo-Saxons. Before Christianity, when Druids ruled the Britain, it was believed that evil spirits, jealous of the happiness of the couple, would try to make mischief with them. To confuse the spirits, brides, (the most common target), and their grooms surrounded themselves with close friends. All members of the “wedding party” were dressed identical to the bride and groom to insure that the jealous ones could not pick them out.

With Christianity, the belief in evil spirits faded, but the custom did not. Medieval brides surrounded themselves with unmarried friends, the senior one attending her for several days beforehand to help make the decorations for the wedding feast and the floral garlands with which the bride and groom would be crowned with after the blessing in church.

The Month of June

Weddings in June are not a new thing. June is still the most popular month to marry, followed by August, July, May, and September. The goddess Juno was the protector of women in all aspects of life, but especially in marriage and childbearing, so a wedding in Juno’s month was considered most auspicious.

The idea of June weddings also comes from the Celtic calendar. On the Cross-Quarter Day of Beltane, or May Day (May 1), young couples would pair off to court for 3 months and then be wed on the next Cross-Quarter Day (Lammas Day, August 1). Youths being impatient, the waiting period was shortened to mid-June, and the popularity of June weddings was ensured.

Knives as Wedding Gifts

According to folklore, a knife signifies a broken relationship and is bad luck to give as a wedding gift. If knives are on your registry, just give the gift giver a penny. That way it’s a purchase, not a gift.

Money Dance

According to one custom, when arranged marriages were common, the Groom collected a dowry only after his marriage was consummated. The money dance insured that the couple would have some money before they left their wedding reception. According to another wedding tradition, the people of the village gave gifts of pottery, livestock, and garden plants to the newlyweds because the Bride and Groom had no money to acquire these items until they had children, after which a dowry was exchanged.

money-dance

 Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

This superstition of the Bride wearing something that fits each of these four categories originated in Europe to ward off evil spirits. Something Old: This tradition symbolized the sense of continuity while making the transition from a single person to that of a married couple. Something New: This tradition symbolized that marriage represented a transition to adulthood. Something Borrowed: This tradition symbolized the popular belief that by borrowing something from a happily married couple, good fortune would follow the newlyweds. Something Blue: In ancient Israel, blue was the border color of the Bride’s dress, symbolizing purity, constancy and fidelity.

Ring Finger

Prior to the 5th century, the ring finger was actually the index finger. Later, it was believed that the third finger contained the “vein of love” that led directly to the heart.

Church Weddings

Britain gradually converted to Christianity after Rome pulled out in 410 AD. One of the first things it took on was the wedding. While Roman upper classes had long been married by priests with nuptial sacrifices to the gods, the common people had not. With the involvement of the Church came marriage by purchase. The modern practice of the bride and groom exchanging wedding gifts and whose family pays for what is rooted in the ancient customs of bride price and dowry. After the families were agreed on the price, goods were exchanged at the handfasting, with the local priests among the witnesses.

In the beginning, couples only went to the Church to have the union blessed. But they soon took over the whole operation. From witnesses, they moved to the blessing of the ring and the joining of hands, soon they turned a business arrangement into a full religious affair. The Archbishop of Canterbury ordered that all weddings be publicly announced for three Lord’s days, marriages should be celebrated in the church, with reverence, in daylight, in the face of the congregation. Priests were to use the threat of excommunication to prevent secret engagements and weddings. Any priests caught knowingly performing an illegal wedding would be punished.

Originally, the ceremony itself was performed on the steps of the church, with everyone moving inside for Mass. Until the reign of Edward the VI, this was how it was done. For everyone. Many reasons have been put forward for this from the indecency of granting permission for a man and woman to sleep together inside the church, to the last minute bargaining that went on just before the ceremony, to the more possible theory that it was a last ditch effort to keep weddings out of the clutches of the clergy. It didn’t work.

church-wedding

Wedding Cake

Also during the days of the Roman empire, wedding cakes were baked of wheat or barley. At the reception, they were traditionally broken over the head of the new Bride by the Groom as a symbol of her fertility. Guests would then scramble for pieces of the cake, and take them home for good luck. It later became a tradition to place many small cakes on top of each other as high as possible.

The newlyweds would then try to exchange a kiss over the top of the tower of cakes without knocking them down. During the reign of King Charles II of England, the baker added icing, and the modern style of wedding cake was born. It is unclear when the tradition of the newlyweds smashing wedding cake into each other’s face first began, and uncertain if such marriages are consummated later that day or evening!

Tossing Rice

By believing that newlyweds brought good luck, guests used to shower them with nuts and grains to insure a bountiful harvest, and many children to work the land. During years of a poor harvest, rice was tossed instead.

This tradition continues today with rice or birdseed (where permitted), or bubbles to wish the Bride and Groom much happiness. Incidentally, it is not true that birds eating rice thrown after a wedding ceremony will cause their stomachs to enlarge and eventually explode.

This myth may have simply evolved from church and synagogue employees weary from cleaning up after every wedding ceremony!

Tuxedo

Until the 20th century, the Groom simply wore his “Sunday best” on his wedding day. It is said that President Teddy Roosevelt popularized the modern tuxedo.

Wedding Ring

According to some historians, the first recorded marriage rings date back to the days when early man tied plaited circlets around the Bride’s wrists and ankles to keep her spirit from running away.

Approximately 3,000 BC, Egyptians originated the phrase “without beginning, without end” in describing the significance of the wedding ring. These rings were made of woven hemp which constantly wore out and needed replacement. Although Romans originally used iron, gold is now used as a symbol of all that is pure. Diamonds were first used by Italians, who believed that it was created from the flames of love.

In some European cultures, the wedding ring is worn on the right hand. In other cultures, an engagement ring is worn on the left hand, and the wedding ring is worn on the right hand.

White Wedding Dress

This was made popular in the 1840’s by Queen Victoria, who chose this instead of the traditional royal “silver” wedding dress. Prior to this, Brides simply wore their best dress on their wedding day.

Honeymoons

Weren’t always so luxurious. Ancient Norse bridal couples went into hiding after the wedding, and a family member would bring them a cup of honey wine for 30 days—or one moon—which is how the term “honeymoon” originated.

These are just some of the more popular traditions that are always so interesting and intriguing to me.

Are you including wedding traditions not found on this list? I’d love to hear about them.

Please leave a comment and share your traditions.

mj

Wedding Day Disasters: Your Guide to Prevent, Prepare, and Persevere

There is no absolutely foolproof way to have a wedding day devoid of any disaster whatsoever, no matter how meticulously you plan.

With so much depending on people—including our favorite unpredictable friend, Mother Nature—you can pretty much plan on something either falling through completely, or some detail getting dinged enough to demand immediate attention.

However, there are ways to prepare, to prevent as best you can, and to cultivate a mindset so that when (not if) disasters arise, you’ll handle them with dignity, grace, and as small a headache as possible!

Whether it’s unexpected weather, noisy children at the ceremony, or missing bridal party members, this list will get you through to help you prevent, prepare for, and persevere through almost any surprise your wedding day throws you!

Beauty and the Wedding: What else could go wrong?

The key to avoiding beauty disasters is to run through everything at least a week before the wedding. If possible, book a practice hair and make-up appointment and take pictures in case another cosmetologist has to step in because your regular gal gets sick.

wedding-disaster

 

Try your dress on 14 days before to see if there’s anything serious that needs altering. Then try it on every single day for the 4 days before your wedding “just in case.” Yes, that sounds excessive but here’s why:

Wedding jitters can take a toll on your weight, but if you put the dress on every day—just enough to button or zip it at the smallest point—if one day it feels a little snug, you’ll know to do a water fast or salads-only for a couple of days, no worries!

Tip: If you don’t want to try on the entire dress itself, then at least slip into the corset, fitted slip, or whatever under-layer of the dress fits most snugly against your body.

On Your Wedding Day: It’s raining, it’s pouring!

A few days before your wedding, do your research. Check for any storms or other disturbances that may be coming your way, then get prepared.

Rent a tent, borrow golf umbrellas to keep you and your wedding party dry, and lay a tarp on the ground where the tent will be.

raining

Add a hair dryer—or at least a battery operated personal fan—to your bridal emergency kit to dry off your hair.

You might also consider more hairspray than already planned if it looks like the wind plans to pick up.

The Ceremony: Who is making all that noise?!

It’s no secret that children will get tired of sitting around for the entire ceremony and probably cause unwanted noise and distraction.

crying-flower-girl

To try and help this, consider providing your ring bearer and flower girl with toys to take down the aisle. For example, instead of flowers, have the flower girl carry a teddy bear and give the ring bearer a stuffed car or truck with the rings tied to it instead of a pillow.

It will look adorable and will keep them occupied while you say your I do’s.

Additionally, before the ceremony begins, assign someone to be in charge of tactfully calling the parents’ attention to any noticeable misbehavior.

It’s Showtime but: Where is everybody?

empty-pews

No matter how well you schedule the day’s events, there are still human beings involved, so your day may not go off without at least one minor personnel glitch.

A majority of these people will be in your wedding party, and despite repeated reminders, it’s possible that one or more will be late to the ceremony.

So the day before your wedding, remind everybody one more time exactly what time they are expected to be at the location and if necessary, subtly suggest a time to leave home.

Ask one of your bridesmaids or another helper to take responsibility for checking everyone in as early as possible before you walk down the aisle.

If all efforts fail and they’re still nowhere to be seen, either have someone walk unaccompanied, or have a group of three walk together.

 The Reception: Where are you, people?

It’s standard wedding etiquette now that maps and directions be provided with the invitations.

Make sure to include noticeable landmarks, especially if your reception venue is some distance from the ceremony.

Take a test drive between the two locations a few days before the big day to make sure there are no roadblocks or detours. If so, print up an alternate route and make sure each guest is offered one, both with the ceremony program and again by someone assigned to stand near the ceremony exit and make sure everyone understands and has a copy of the new plan.

direction-to-reception

In spite of all this and technology, guests may still lose their way and trickle into your dinner as they will.

To maintain a little more order, you can opt for a shuttle service of some kind. Economy options also include subtly arranging convoy parties, carpooling, and providing guests with a “reminder” set of directions just as they leave the ceremony.

 At the Reception: We’re out of food?!

Your wedding day may be your day, but you also want your guests to leave smiling as well. The best and easiest way to make them happy is to serve good food, and plenty of it.

There are a number of ways to handle this depending on the style you choose.

If it’s a sit-down plated dinner, let your guests choose between two—but no more than three—options and indicate as such on the RSVP card. Common practice is to offer 2 options from the standard selections of beef, chicken, fish, and occasionally pork or ham, then have a vegetarian entree “by special request.”

If you decide to serve a buffet, plan a wide assortment of dishes that will cater to everyone’s taste.

No matter the style of service, discuss different contingency plans with your food supplier.

If no standard options are available, make your own suggestions. Propose having extra food on location to cater to particularly hearty appetites or unexpected mouths to feed.

food-truck

Look for restaurants near your reception area that might quickly provide catering-size portions in a hurry.

Whatever happens on your wedding day, hang in there, hang onto your smile, and remember there is a solution to every problem.

 

Let nothing—but nothing—hold you back from enjoying your wedding day!

they-lived-happily-ever-after

 

Brides, do you have wedding day disaster prevention tips?

Comment below. We’d love to hear them

mj

 

14 Unique Ways to Personalize Your Wedding Ceremony

The marriage ceremony has been an important feature across nearly every culture, religion, generation, and society.

wedding-vows

We have thousands of important moments that happen throughout our lives, but this one is regarded as one so critical, we acknowledge its special status by sharing it with others.

There’s always a new and different way for you to make your wedding ceremony yours.

The ceremony should reflect the bride and groom’s passions and character.

vows-outdoors

  1. Write your own vows.
  2. Turn the celebrant around and face the guests instead of facing away from the guests.
  3. Have your guests sit or stand in a circle around you as you are married.
  4. Have a ring warming. (What’s a ring warming you ask? There are different versions of this, but generally the rings are placed in a small bag and are passed around to each guest prior to the ring exchange. Each guest blesses the rings or says a prayer).
  5. Bridesmaids could carry something other than flowers, if flowers aren’t a special object in your life. Perhaps candles, or a book, or a ceremonial symbol.
  6. Have a man of honor or a best girl.
  7. Honor your cultures with a prayer, poem or song from your heritage.
  8. Hold the ceremony in a place that’s special to you both, perhaps underwater or in a certain restaurant.
  9. Hire a professional to sing a song of your choosing.
  10. Choose a processional song that is very special to both of you.
  11. Have your closest friends and family marry you. Involve all of them in the ceremony, not just as groomsmen or bridesmaids, but ask them to perform a ceremonial aspect of the ceremony or sing a song, perhaps even a poem or a scripture reading.
  12. Go without an official bridal party and tell everyone invited that they are your bridal party.
  13. Exit the ceremony to spend a few moments in private together, instead of walking into the crowd of guests.
  14. Ask the celebrant to identify guests subtly or secretly in the message. It might be a nice way of subtly honoring them.

vows2

How are you planning on personalizing your ceremony?

Please leave comments to share.

mj

Wedding Planning for Brides

Congratulations! You’ve been engaged and now you are on the journey to planning the day of your dreams.

You have purchased the latest bridal magazines from your local grocery store or book store and have spent hours pinning hundreds of wedding ideas on Pinterest, but now you don’t know what the next step is.

wedding magazines

From beautiful wedding gowns to great DIY reception decorating tips, you’re mind has been spun into oblivion!!!! And let’s not forget the multitudes of Free Printable checklists, planners and calendars.

There are lots of tips and ideas of what you need to do to plan your wedding, but you’re still not sure how to begin the process, not to mention handling the stress of it all.

You don’t want to become the dreaded. . . BRIDEZILLA  {eeek}

Psssst…WANT TO KNOW A SECRET?

The key is to procrastinate start organizing and planning earlier than later.

bride planning a wedding

Yes, I know, it’s take a huge amount of planning.

Are you overwhelmed at the fact that you will be responsible for finding all the vendors?

wedding vendors

Some categories include Bakery, Ceremony Site, Catering, Florist, Music, Reception, Photography, Transportation and much more.

 stressed out bride.jpg

At first, it’s very exciting and you think “I Got This”, but then you realize it hits you in the face. You don’t know the first thing about organizing all the details or even what “all the details” are.

 There are many wedding planning books out in the market, even online courses laying out how to plan your wedding, but it’s still not helping.


Years ago, I planned my own wedding.

I had no idea what to do or what to do first, so I know how you feel. As a matter of fact I’ve “been there done that” and bought the shirt.

I spent hours teaching myself and found it came naturally and was able to plan the day of my dreams with my soulmate (ahhhhh). It’s a day I’ll never forget.


Because I have a natural talent for being organized {actually, obsessed with organization}, I was able to break it all out and get it planned. I enjoyed the process and my wedding day was the absolute best!

 So what does that mean for you?

keep calm

Keep reading…I have the solution.

I have developed a comprehensive online courses,

Just for you!

Whether you need a little bit of guidance to know you are on the right track, all the way to planning your entire wedding.

The courses will have audio, video and presentation formats, making them comprehensive to all brides.

At the end of each unit you will have to complete an assignment. This assignment will test your knowledge on the unit covered. What you learn will be applied to your actual wedding planning, so the results are immediate and are yours.

At the end of the workshop, you will become empowered with knowledge and confidence to plan the wedding of your dreams.

Go to my online school today!

Enroll in courses designed to learn at your own pace

Be sure to check out the FREE introductory course

 www.mjteachesit.com

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