Where did the most popular wedding traditions come from?

Although today’s modern brides and grooms love to do things a little differently, most weddings stay true to tradition. However loosely or closely you intend to follow tradition at your upcoming nuptials, it’s safe to say that there are some very weird and wonderful customs out there. Wedding day customs can impact all parts of your wedding, from what your guests give you as a gift – find out more about gifting customs from around the world – to what you wear to your wedding and the day’s running order.

In this blog post, we take a closer look at the most popular wedding traditions still adhered to by couples today and reveal more about how they all began.

The white wedding dress

More and more brides are experimenting with colour to create a truly standout look for their wedding day. Regardless of how daring these outfits and accessories are, most stick with white when it comes to the colour of their wedding gown. White hasn’t always been the go-to colour, however. It wasn’t until the wedding of Queen Victoria and Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840 that this now classic colour was really popularised.

Before the royal wedding that started it all, brides wearing white was unheard of. Choosing white was actually seen as inappropriate and impractical, with brides opting for easy to wear and to clean deep yellows, light reds, violets and even black. The bridesmaids’ attire was also different back then. Bridesmaids would wear outfits similar to the bride to confuse and distract evil spirits out to ruin the wedding day.

The wedding veil

The wedding gown isn’t the only part of the bridal ensemble that’s become a deep rooted tradition. The wedding veil carries its own meaning. Originating from Roman times, the veil was thought to protect the bride from evil spirits who may be envious of the happiness that the union will bring. According to the Ancient Romans, these evil spirits would do everything in their power to prevent the bride and groom from tying the knot. These days, however, the veil is less of a force field against evil, more of a fabulous bridal accessory.

The wedding ring

Selecting your rings is an important part of wedding preparations and an age old tradition that plays a vital role in every wedding day. The oldest recorded ring exchange is said to come from Ancient Egypt, with couples from some 4,800 years ago braiding plant material to use as wedding bands. The tradition of wedding rings being worn by brides and grooms on the left ring finger began much later.

The Romans believed that wearing a ring on the left ring finger gave a direct connection to the heart via a vein known as the ‘Vena Amoris’, which translates as the ‘Vein of Love’. The shape of the wedding ring also has romantic connotations, with the complete circle representing everlasting love.

That confetti scene

No wedding album would be complete without the iconic confetti picture. But why exactly is throwing confetti on newlyweds featured in almost every wedding celebration? Marie Claire explains the origins of and the meaning behind this wedding tradition:

“Sugar-coated almonds – called ‘confetti’ – are given to wedding guests or the couple. They are all thrown at the couple. A tradition dating back to Roman times, the almonds are a thank you to guests representing health and happiness, but are usually replaced by scraps of paper in modern times.”

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