Wedding Traditions: What does it all mean?
I don’t know about you, but I have been dreaming of a traditional white wedding since I can remember, but why? Have you ever taken a step back and wondered what all of the traditions mean? Me neither, let’s investigate…
From the bouquet to confetti, here is a quick guide to some British wedding traditions and their (sometimes bizarre) meanings:
Why do we carry a bouquet?
Stunning and deliciously scented, floral bouquets are a relatively new addition to grace the aisle. Brides have always carried a ‘bunch’ but traditionally they would carry herbs- dill, garlic, even poison ivy to keep away malicious spirits. Personally, I would rather contend with the evil spirits than carry a bunch of garlic down the aisle thank you very much.
Why do we (traditionally) wear white?
To symbolise our virginity and pure souls (of course). Also because Queen Victoria married Prince Albert donned in white in 1840, before then most brides would wear the most expensive dress they owned on their wedding day. But Victoria inspired us, and since, white has been the colour of choice. Only the wealthy could afford to wear it (aka: wash it).
Why do we have a specific ‘engagement finger’ for the ring?
The ancient Greek’s believed that there was a vein that connected this finger directly to our hearts. Which is completely romantic and we love the thought. Technically all veins go to the heart, but I won’t bore you with that one.
Why do men get down on one knee to propose?
Traditionally men get down on one knee to pop the question to show their readiness to submit to their future wive’s needs. Oh we like this tradition, this is a keeper, like eggs and Easter and roasts on a Sunday.
Why do we wear a garter?
The garter for the bride comes from the ancient custom of having witnesses at the marriage bed (to make sure the couple consummated the marriage properly); the witnesses would bring the garter to this ‘act’ as a sign of the witnessing. Overtime this changed, possibly due to the violation of privacy- but who am I to say? This is one of the oldest and (definitely weirdest) customs surviving wedding rituals, creepy!
Why do we have bridesmaids?
Not only are bridesmaids useful when it comes to choosing the dress or helping you keep your dignity after a few too many glasses of champagne, but they also help to ward of the devil- handy! A bride traditionally walked down the aisle with her beautifully dressed maids as a distraction. Just in case evil spirits or pesky wedding guests wished harm on the bride.
On this subject The Best Man also traditionally exists to help the groom- just in case someone came to try to steal the bride. Unless Ryan Gosling is going to try to kidnap me from the end of the aisle, I really hope my wedding will be free of evil spirit and kidnappings.
Which of these traditions will you be following at your wedding?