Top 10 wedding traditions and their origins
We're all familiar with many wedding traditions held dear by most every bride and groom we meet, but their origins -- some of them downright odd -- may surprise you. What if, for instance, instead of the bride walking down the aisle holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers, she still carried garlic? Here, you'll find 10 common wedding traditions, how they've changed over time and where they came from.
THE ENGAGEMENT RING Looking at those sparklers is always fun -- but why are they worn on the ring finger of the left hand? The most widely accepted reason is that it was thought that a vein ran only in that finger directly to the heart. This was later proved to be false -- but the sentiment behind it was sweet, and so the tradition remained.
THE BOUQUET Though the origin of the bouquet is a bit muddy, popular reasoning suggests it originated from the time of the Plague, where people -- including brides and grooms -- carried around garlic and dill in an attempt to protect themselves and stay healthy. Through the years however, it seems that brides have dropped the herbs and incorporated flowers instead. Fine by us!
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, BORROWED AND BLUE This fun little rhyme is a very popular wedding tradition -- but what does it mean? It signifies important symbols for the bride-to-be. Her "something old" is her past, and "something new" is her future (with her spouse). The "something borrowed" suggests the bride should borrow something from a person who is happily married -- so that good fortune may rub off on her. As for "something blue"? Blue is the color of love and fidelity.
BRIDESMAID DRESSES A bride wants her bridesmaids to look good, just not as good as herself. But what if tradition dictated that bridesmaids should dress exactly like the bride? It may sound crazy, but the reason here was to create look-alikes. That way, evil spirits would not be able to identify and harm the bride. Luckily, that tradition has been modified over time, and now bridesmaids wear dresses of all different colors and lengths -- phew!
THE BRIDAL VEIL A bridal veil is always a beautiful touch for a bride on her wedding day, but who thought to add a piece of lace or chiffon to conceal her face? The veil is considered a symbol of youth and virginity, and it was said to -- there might be a pattern here -- ward off evil.
A SPIDER ON YOUR WEDDING DRESS How can a spider on your wedding dress ever be good luck? According to old English folklore, finding a spider on your wedding dress is actually a good omen. Who knew that a creepy-crawly could lead to wedded bliss?
CRYING ON YOUR WEDDING DAY As long as you're wearing waterproof mascara, crying is encouraged on your wedding day. It's supposed to symbolize the bride shedding all of her tears, so she will never have to cry during her marriage. Just make sure they're happy tears, ladies!
The breaking of the glass at a wedding ceremony is to remind the couple how fragile a relationship can be.
THROWING RICE Throwing rice is a common tradition, but doesn't it strike you as odd? It's meant to shower the newly wedded couple with fertility, prosperity, and -- you guessed it -- good fortune. Although we've heard that this tradition could be harmful to birds who eat the rice, causing their stomachs to expand and possibly die, that's a myth -- so go ahead and throw that starch to the wind without caution!
THE WEDDING CAKE You know that look of fear in the bride's eyes when it comes to the cake cutting, hoping that her new husband will delicately feed her a tiny piece of cake? Well, that comes from tradition -- sort of. Originally, the groom would take a bite from a loaf of bread, and the rest of the loaf would then be broken over the bride's head. Guests would pick up the crumbs on the floor for -- drumroll please -- good luck.