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Wedding Traditions

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Incorporating wedding traditions into your big day is fun! It's a way to celebrate and recognize the historical significance of marriage. But where do these traditions come from and how can we update them for modern society? Maybe this will help!

Tradition: The Proposal
History: Formal contract between families. Often times the groom would send a group of friends or servants to state his intentions. The group would not continue on the journey if on the way they saw a monk, a nun, or a blind man. These were thought to be omens that the marriage would be doomed. If, however, they saw a nanny goat, a pigeon, or wolves, the union would be blessed with a lifetime of good fortune.

Modern Twist: Today, most couples become engaged as a matter of mutual agreement that, thankfully, has nothing to do with the sighting of omens. However, some couples still pay homage to the tradition by having the groom announce the engagement to the families after the bride-to-be has already accepted the proposal.

Tradition: Diamond Engagement Ring
History: Medieval Italians believed that the diamond was created in the Flames of Love.

Modern Twist: Today, the diamond engagement ring is a symbol of the commitment made between two people and of their intention to become husband and wife. It should be noted that an engagement ring is not always a diamond. Today's rings can be of any stone the couple finds attractive.

Tradition: The Bridal Shower
History: Originally intended to strengthen friendships between the bride and her female friends, in the 1890's, it evolved into an occasion for friends to present the bride-to be with small gifts. In fact, the gifts were placed in a parasol, which was opened above the bride's head, allowing the gifts to "shower" down upon her.

Modern Twist: Today, showers come in all styles. It isn't unusual for a bride to have a lingerie shower, a stock the bar shower, a kitchen shower, etc. The style of shower can range from traditional all female affairs to large parties or barbecues that include both men and women. Check out our great Bridal Shower party games at!

Tradition: Bridal Party
History: This tradition stems from the Anglo-Saxon tradition of a groom using "Brides knights" to ensure that the bride got to the wedding and got to his home after the ceremony without being attacked and the dowry stolen. As weddings became more elaborate affairs, the use of bridesmaids became more common. They were responsible for helping the bride get dressed and to help decorate for the ceremony.

Modern Twist: Today's bridal party usually consists of very close friends and family who have a special connection to the couple. It is not unusual for a bride to have a special male friend be an usher or a groom's sister to be an attendant. Modern brides thank their wedding party with small gifts of appreciation and friendship. Wedding party gifts are available at

Tradition: Giving Away of the Bride
History: During times when arranged marriages were the norm, the bride was literally given to the groom by her father in exchange for some form of property.

Modern Twist: Today, the act of "giving away the bride" is used to show support the union. Many brides today chose to have both parents escort her down the aisle, or they choose to walk unassisted to symbolize their independence.

Tradition: The Veil
History: During ancient times, weddings were arranged without the groom ever having seen the bride. It was thought that if the groom saw the bride and didn't like what he saw, he might not go through with the wedding. The veil was not lifted until after the ceremony. The veil was also thought to ward off evil spirits by disguising the identity of the bride.

Modern Twist: In this country it is unusual for couples to get married without having spent a great deal of time together. Today, the veil is a beautiful accessory that symbolizes modesty and purity.

Tradition: Wedding Dress
History: Wedding dresses were not always white. In fact, until the 1840's, when Queen Victoria got married in a white gown, wedding gowns traditionally blue. In Biblical times, blue symbolized purity and fidelity-a reason that Mary, Mother of Jesus, is often depicted in blue robes.

Modern Twist: Today, brides wear wedding gowns of all colors. It has truly become a matter of personal preference. However, the most popular choices are white and ivory.

Tradition: Something Old, Something New
History: A Victorian rhyme that recognizes the importance of old friends, new beginnings, happiness, fidelity, and prosperity. "Old" stands for old friends; "new" represents the beginning of a new family; carrying something "borrowed" from a happily married friend represent borrowed happiness, the carrying of something "blue" represents purity and modesty. The sixpence in the shoe was worn to bring prosperity to the couple.

Modern Twist: Today, many brides still follow this tradition by incorporating treasured family heirlooms into their ceremonies for the borrowed or old; garters are often at least in part blue, while the wedding attire or jewelry can be the new. Many brides put a penny in their shoe, as sixpences are not very common! Keepsake sixpences are available at

Tradition: Kissing the Bride
History: In Roman times, kissing was a legal bond that sealed all contracts.

Modern Twist: Today, the kissing of the bride signifies that the marriage ceremony is complete and that the couple is now husband and wife.

Tradition: The Groom's Cake
History: A rich, dense cake was presented to wedding guests to take home as a memento of the wedding. It also was believed that if a single woman slept with a piece of the groom's cake under her pillow, she would dream about the man she would marry!

Modern Twist: Today, often the groom's cake is still a rich, dark cake that is decorated to symbolize the groom's favorite sport's team or hobby. However, unlike in the days of old, the cake is usually consumed at the reception. Keepsake keep cake boxes and cake favor boxes are available at

Tradition: Wedding Favors
History: Because the bride and groom were believed to be lucky, anything they touched was also seen as a good luck charm. Small gifts were given to wedding guests to bring them good luck throughout the year.

Modern Twist: Today wedding favors are given as a memento of the beginning of the marriage. They can range from personalized candies to engraved frames to bookmarks to centerpieces. Couples still give favors to symbolically pass on the luck! A large selection of wedding favors can be found at Also visit our local vendor directory!

Tradition: Tossing of the Garter
History: In the old days, guests would follow the newly married couple to their room on their wedding night, wait for them to undress, and toss their stockings at them. The first to hit the bride and groom would be the next to marry.

Modern Twist: Today, the groom removes the garter and tosses to a group of single men. The one who catches it is believed to be the next to get married. An updated version, involves the garter being auctioned off with the proceeds going to the couple for their honeymoon! Beautiful keepsake and tossing garters are available at

Tradition: Tossing of the Bouquet
History: This evolved from the old tradition of tearing a piece of the bride's dress for good luck. Single women would tear a piece off the wedding gown to ensure finding a husband.

Modern Twist: Today the bride tosses her bouquet to a gathering of single women. It is still believed that whoever catches the bouquet is the next to marry. Many brides choose to have their bridal bouquets preserved, and thus have a "disposable" bouquet ready to toss. Another modern twist on this tradition is dedicating the bouquet to someone special. The DJ can help you make this a very special part of your wedding.

Tradition: Jumping of the Broom
History: Historically an African American and Appalachian tradition, a couple would have a broom placed in their path following the ceremony that they would leap over together to signify crossing from single life to married life.

Modern Twist: Many couples still honor this tradition by using a decorative hand-made broom, which is then kept as a memento of their special day. Jumping Brooms are available at!

Tradition: Bachelor Party
History: In 5th century Sparta, a groom and his military comrades would gather on the eve of the wedding to feast and toast to good fortune.

Modern Twist: While not held the night before the wedding, bachelor parties are still thrown and have been the setting for some pretty wild times! Though not always scenes of complete debauchery, they represent the last hurrah for the groom before he settles down to responsible married life. Brides will often have their own Bachelorette Party too! Check out our fun Bachelorette Party items at

Tradition: Honeymoon
History: Long ago, newly married couples would drink a fermented wine made from mead and honey for a month ("moon") following their wedding.

Modern Twist: Today the honeymoon is a vacation (not necessarily a month long!) for the newly married couple that usually immediately follows the wedding. It is a time for the couple to spend lots of time alone following the hectic planning of the wedding. Many couples choose very special places to commemorate their marriage. Use our local vendor directory to help find a travel agent or destination for your honeymoon.

Tradition: Changing the Bride's Surname
History: Because in olden times, women were treated as property, her name was changed to signify the change in "ownership" form father to husband. It was also believed to be bad luck to marry someone who shared the same last initial.

Modern Twist: Thankfully, women are no longer viewed as property. Today's brides can choose the name they wish to use. More and more, brides are opting to keep their own names, either for professional or personal reasons. It is even common for today's brides (and grooms) to develop new names from a combination of both names!

Tradition: Throwing of Birdseed
History: This is the more environmentally friendly version of throwing rice. It was believed that rice and wheat were symbols of fertility and prosperity. Therefore, wedding guests would throw them at newly married couples to bring them good luck and many children.

Modern Twist: Today's newlyweds are toasted in much the same way. However, today's wedding guests use birdseed, balloons, bubbles, the ringing of bells or the releasing of doves to shower the couple with good wishes. Wedding Rice, Bubbles, balloons, and bells are all available at!


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