The Origins of Wedding Traditions

The Origins of Wedding Traditions

Wedding traditions and activities are almost synonymous with the wedding itself. If you’ve attended a wedding and been single, you’ve probably been forced to participate in the bouquet or garter toss. You may have also shelled out some extra dollar bills to get some personal time with the bride or groom during the “Money Dance,” in which guests pin money onto the bride or groom in order to earn a dance with them and offer money for their honeymoon. But do we know how these obligatory activities began? It’s important to know where we came from in order to really appreciate what all the hustle and bustle of planning a wedding is about, and here are some of the origins of some popular wedding traditions:

• Bouquet Toss: The bride’s bouquet isn’t just something pretty to look at; in the olden days, the bouquet was typically made of strong herbs like thyme and garlic in order to ward off evil spirits and stinky, hygienically-challenged guests. Furthermore, it was widely believed that a bride was especially lucky on her wedding day, so guests often clamored for something personal (like pieces of her
• Bridesmaids: If you’ve been bestowed with the honor of being a bridesmaid, part of your duties in the olden days was to wear similar dresses in order to confuse evil spirits or ex-boyfriends. In today’s fashion, a bridesmaid’s job is to help compliment the beauty of the bride, and their dress can always be altered in the unlikely event she’ll wear it again.dress) to take home as good luck charms. Rather than end up half-naked in a tattered dress on her wedding day, a bride would toss her bouquet to guests as a good luck souvenir.• Garter: Originally, brides would toss a garter instead of a bouquet at their wedding reception. This custom changed in the 14th century after brides tired of fending off drunken men (or that weird cousin in the family) who tried to remove the garter themselves.• Money Dance: When arranged marriages were common, a groom customarily collected a dowry after he and his bride “sealed the deal” and produced offspring. Thus the money dance guaranteed the couple would have some dough to begin their life together. In addition, often times gifts of pottery, livestock, and garden plants were also given.

• Tossing Rice: There was a commonly-held belief that newlyweds brought good luck, so guests would shower them with nuts and grains to guarantee them a bountiful harvest and many children to work the land. Now that child labor laws are in effect and most venues do not permit the throwing of rice, blowing of bubbles for the bride and groom is a way to carry on this tradition and wish them happiness as a married couple.

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