Wedding Traditions & Meanings

Article Published 01/11/2023

Wedding Day Traditions & Their Meaning

Weddings have changed over the years however still contain elements of old traditions. In the UK alone, most couples incorporate traditions into their big day without not necessarily knowing the meaning behind them, whether you wish to follow traditions or totally go against the idea, the big day is yours to plan and execute the way you want as a married couple, besides the day is about you two, love, laughter & having fun. Weddings ceremonies from all around the world will have their own traditions, religious meanings and cultures incorporated into their big day as no 2 wedding ceremonies will be the same, thats what makes wedding days so beautiful & unique.

Here are some wedding traditions that are usually followed by many couples nowadays, with a little background knowledge from ancient times:

THE ARRIVAL-British wedding traditions state that the bride stands to the right of her Father. They lead the procession, followed by the bridesmaids and pageboys afterwards, however in modern days, page boys, flower girls are often seen to go first, followed by the bridesmaids, then the bride and father enters last so the groom can see his beautiful bride at the end of the procession.

BRIDESMAIDS-Bridesmaids were used to worn off evil spirits as they were dressed similarly to the bride- to confuse the spirits the bridesmaids would dress simsilar to the bride so they could protect her and ensure her wedding day was a success. Back in biblical times, bridesmaids were not necessarily close friends or even in relation to the bride, they were actually domestic workers who catered to the bride on her wedding day- the beauty of modern day weddings is that bridesmaids are usually considered as the brides best friends, her nearest and dearest whom she wants to share her special day with.

BOUQUETS-Research shows that there are alot of theories regarding the bouquet however they were less about color, floral arrangements and style and more about function. Instead of flowers, bridesmaids carried herbs and garlic to ward off evil spirits. Back in the olden times, bathing was not considered a daily occurance therefore the bouquet of herbs would mask the smell of their own body odour. It was indeed Queen Victoria who married Prince Albert and carried a bouquet of his favourite flowers Snowdrops that kickstarted the trend of floral bouquets that have been bought into modern day weddings. Thank godness for soap & deodrant!

ENGAGEMENTS-Back in the olden days, the father of the bride would post into the local newspaper regarding the announcement of the engagement. Modern day times, announcing of an engagement is heavily announced via social media or via text messages. Some couples may opt to throw engagement parties to celebrate with their friends & family to make a night out of it!

FIRST DANCE-Modern day weddings the bride & groom will have their first dance together, this makes the most picture perfect moment for your wedding photographer to capture you dancing with your partner as a married couple for the first time. Back in the olden days, it was polite etiquette for the groom to dance with both mothers and the bride to dance with both fathers. Father/daughter dances are most popular within modern day weddings but again, these are simply traditions that do not have to be incorporated into your wedding day if you do not wish- your day, your rules!

WEDDING FAVOURS-Modern day wedding favours tend to be gifts for bridesmaids/groomsmen/parents/guests to say thank you for being part of the day and how they appreciate your part in the big day. From flowers, chocolates, jewellery or candles or a simple thank you card, wedding favours can range however it is meant to be a simple token gesture to show the couples love and appreciation for you. Back in the olden days, five wrapped almonds would be given as wedding favours, each almond represented fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness which is pretty cute in my eyes!

WEDDING DRESS-Modern day weddings, the bride is usually dressed within a white gown on their choice. There are many beautiful wedding dresses made with different styles of materials, different lengths of the dress decorated with most stunning embellishments. The tradition of a bride wearing a white dress started when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. her beautiful dress consited of white lace and satin gown which kickstarted the trends for many brides wanting to wear white also. The white dress represented purity.

WEDDING VEIL-Modern day brides opt to consider having a veil or simply do not wish to have one, this is down to personal choice. A veil was traditionally worn as a symbol of purity and modesty whilst also keeping the bride protected from evil spirits. Back to the orgin of arranged marriages, the veil was used to cover the brides face from her husband and family until the moment of marriage so the husband could not change his mind at the alter.

WEDDING CAKE-Modern wedding cakes come in all shapes,sizes, tiers and they simply look gorgeous and no doubt yummy! Back in the day, the wedding cake was actually sprinkled on the brides head or actually thrown at her to show the symbol of good luck. When a bride and groom cut into their wedding cake, they often set aside the top tier to be placed in a freezer for safekeeping. This is also a common thing that modern day couples do, freeze the top tier of their wedding cake, once their first wedding annivarsary arrives, the couple eat the cake and relive the day with beautiful memories.

FATHER WAKING DOWN AISLE-This tradition still stands today as many brides opt to have their fathers walk them down the asile. The beauty of modern day weddings is that some couples opt to scrap all traditions and have their sisters, best friends, mothers or simply walk down the aisle solo instead, the tradition nowadays is simply welcoming each other into the families, showing love and acceptance. Back in the olden days, the act of your father “giving you away” literally meant she was being transferred ownership, the bride was her fathers property until the day of marriage.

WEDDING RINGS-The wedding ring is placed on the third finger of the left hand. Ancient Romans believed that the vein within this finger ran straight to the heart- the cutest meaning behind the wedding rings, however that myth is not true yet we all still follow it nowadays- I mean the idea alone is heartwarming enough right?!

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Written by
Zenouska Miller, Client Liaison Manager