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Wedding Traditions & the Shocking History Behind Them

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Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, throwing the bouquet, carrying the bride over the threshold - we’ve all heard of these wedding traditions, and most of us have actually participated in many of them ourselves (or at least we plan to).

But have you ever really thought about why we do all of these things?
Why do we have bridesmaids and groomsmen?
Why do we need something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?

Today we will delve deeper into some of these traditions that we often take for granted - and their history may surprise you!


Why do we have bridesmaids?


The good old bridesmaid - no they aren’t just there to look pretty beside the bride. And shockingly, they aren’t just there to provide support either. The idea of bridesmaids actually dates back to the Ancient Romans. According to ancient Roman law, 10 witnesses were required to be present at every wedding. And though bridesmaids no longer dress the same as the bride, there was once a time where they did. The purpose? To confuse her exes and outsmart evil spirits so they wouldn’t know which lady was getting married!


And what about best men?


The history of groomsmen is actually quite unromantic. And there are actually two different stories to the tradition of the best man. But either way, both stories tell of a bride by capture! Yes, you read that right. In the old days, brides were literally captured and abducted from their family. In some traditions, groomsmen were known as the “Bride’s Knight” because they helped carry her to the wedding and protect her from kidnappers. In other traditions, they were the one’s doing the kidnapping!


Why does the groom carry the bride over the threshold?


Again, this tradition dates back to a time when women were married by capture, not by choice. Once married, the woman would (obviously) not go willingly into her new husbands home. As a result, she was either dragged or carried in - and despite the horrendous nature of this tradition, it somehow still lives on today.


Why do we throw the bouquet?


The tradition of throwing the bouquet actually stems from England. After a wedding, women would try to steal the brides flowers and rip pieces from her dress to obtain some of the her good luck. In return, the bride would throw her bouquet into the crowd and run away to try to escape. Today the bride still throws the bouquet, but doesn’t have to do the running!


Why something old, something new?


The idea of something old, something new, actually stems from an English rhyme that went, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, a Sixpence in her shoe”.

While no one really knows how the tradition actually began, we do know that it is mostly related to protecting women against infertility. Old and blue items, for example, were used to protect the bride against the “Evil Eye”, a curse that could later cause infertility. And something borrowed? Well, something borrowed was usually a piece of undergarment that was passed down from a woman who was already blessed with children. The sharing of old knickers was said to pass on fertility to the new bride - we sure hope no one still shares this part of the tradition today!


Bet these traditions weren’t exactly what you thought!? And you’d be surprised the history of some of our other wedding traditions that live on today - just Google the history of the Wedding Veil - it’s history might shock you!

What other traditions are there that you know about!?
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