There are a lot of fun and also weird traditions that we follow on our wedding day, but where did they all stem from? Here's a few of the most common traditions and their origins.
Cake cutting used to be reserved for the bride alone. Her cutting the cake symbolized the loss of her virginity. As cakes got more elaborate, the bride enlisted the help of the groom. Today, both partners cut the cake as a symbolism of their first act together as a union.
It’s unclear where the tradition of feeding (or smashing) each other cake came to be, but there has always been some sort of baked goods related tradition. Romans used to break bread over the bride’s head and guests would pick up the crumbs as a sign of good luck. Another tradition includes the bride taking a bite of pastry and then tossing the rest over her head to ensure a life of wanting nothing.
Saving the Top Layer of Cake
With the rise of elaborate cakes came leftovers. Many religious couples would save their top layer of cake not because of an anniversary tradition, but as a dessert for their first born’s christening, as it was expected that the bride would be with child within the first year.
Before we get to tossing the bouquet, where did the bouquet come from? The bouquet had a practical purpose back in the 14th century. The Bubonic Plague spread across England and brides would carry bouquets of garlic and herbs to help ward off the plague, evil spirits and bad odors. Post plague, brides started to carry flowers to help mask body odor as people did not shower regularly.
The tossing of the bouquet started in England when unmarried women would try to rip off pieces of the brides dress or flowers to try and gain some of her good luck in hopes to become the next to get married. To prevent a wedding dress rampage, the bride would throw her bouquet into the crowd and run. Charming.
The garter was once used to prevent stockings from slipping. Since the invention of elastic, the garter is more of a fashion statement than of a useful garment. Today, post bouquet toss, the groom removes the bride’s garter with his hands or teeth and tosses it to the groomsmen. This tradition has gone through a transformation since medieval times. The groomsmen were the ones to rush the bride and take her garters as a prize.
In 1477, Archduke Maximillian of Austria was believed to have commissioned the first ever diamond engagement ring for Mary of Burgundy. This sparked a trend for diamond engagement rings among European aristocracy and nobility.
The Roman’s had a custom in which a wife would wear a ring attached to small keys indicating their husband’s ownership. They wore wedding rings on the fourth finder of the left hand because they believed the vein in that finger runs directly to the heart. As a never-ending circle, the ring also symbolizes everlasting love.
A bride would often times wear a veil to ward off any evil spirits on her big day. In arranged marriages, the veil was used to obscure her face until after the ceremony so the groom wouldn’t back out if he didn’t like what he saw.
Do you plan to do any of these or other traditions on your wedding day? We’d love to know!