Everyone has heard of "Something old, something new...Something borrowed, and something blue" right? Have you ever wondered where that tradition started? We decided to look for the origins of a few popular wedding traditions.
"Something old, something new...Something borrowed, and something blue"
The "old" was usually a personal gift from mother to daughter, a symbolic piece of wisdom for married life. The "new" symbolized the new family being formed by the marriage. "Borrowing" is especially important since it is to come from a happily married woman, thereby lending the bride some of her own marital bliss. "Blue" has two traditions, ancient Roman maidens wore blue on the borders of their robes to denote love, fidelity and modesty, while Christians associate it with the purity of the Virgin Mary.
The Bridal Shower
The Bridal Shower tradition has its roots in the 1800's. The story is told of a poor miller who fell in love with a wealthy maiden. But, the father of the maiden was against the marriage. He refused to provide a dowry for her, and a bride could not marry without a dowry. The story goes that the bride had generous friends who "showered" her with so many gifts, they could forego the missing dowry.
The Bride and the Grooms "side"
In very early days, fathers would offer daughters as peace offerings to warring tribes. Because of the hostility, the families were placed on opposite sides of the church so the ceremony could proceed without bloodshed. The ceremony united the two warring factions into one family, and the danger was resolved. Today, family members still sit on opposite sides.
The Wedding Party
During the "marriage by capture" era, close friends of the groom-to-be assisted him when he kidnapped the bride from her family. The first ushers and best men were more like a small army, fighting off the brides angry relatives as the groom rode away with her.
Bridesmaids and maids of honor became more common when weddings were planned. For several days before the marriage, a senior maid attended to the bride-to-be. This maid or matron of honor, as we know her today, ensured that the bridal wreath was made and helped the bride get dressed. All bridesmaids helped the bride decorate for the wedding feast.
For a long time, bridesmaids wore dresses much like the bride's gown, while ushers dressed in clothing that was similar to the groom's attire. This tradition began for protection against evil rather than for uniformity; if evil spirits or jealous suitors attempted to harm the newlyweds, they would be confused as to which two people were the bride and groom.
In ancient times, the Teutonic people began the practice of the honeymoon. Teutonic weddings were only held under the full moon. After the wedding, the bride and groom would drink honey wine for one full moon cycle (thirty days). This "moon" (i.e., "month") became known as the "honey moon." While the name survived, the purpose of the honeymoon changed. After the wedding, newlyweds would leave their family and friends to go and do what newlyweds are supposed to do. Today that purpose survives, only now a vacation is incorporated, usually to a romantic get-away locale.
Wedding traditions have carried on from past centuries and will continue on, but you don't have to stick to what has been done by everyone else. Traditions have to start somewhere, so there is no harm in starting your own family wedding tradition to be passed down to your future generations!