Your wedding day is an event you dream about your whole life. The dress, the flowers, the venue, your dad walking you down the aisle, seeing which single friend of yours will catch the bouquet.... wait what?! Why do we throw our beautiful flowers in the air to a mob of single women? You paid good money for those flowers!! How does that signify who's getting married next? Did you plant magical seeds in that bouquet? Is the phone number of her MR RIGHT neatly written on a rustic burlap and lace tag, tied to the bouquet with ribbon?
Have you ever really looked at the traditions we follow, and wonder why? Are we following wedding day special events we no longer believe in? Why is the bride's dress white? Why can't the groom see the bride before the ceremony? Why is there a wedding party? No, it's not so we can treat our friends to an unlimited supply of booze and potential single mates.
Seriously, why are we doing these things on the most planned and dreamed about day of a womans life!? I'm going to break down 6 of the most popular traditions that may have an unknown and/or strange meaning. Keep reading ya'll. Its about to get good.
1. The White Dress
A wedding dress is a women's biggest decision on her wedding, besides the person she's marrying! Color, style and ceremonial importance of the gown can depend on the religion and culture of the wedding participants. Most brides choose a dress of white to symbolize purity of the soul. It doesn’t matter if you know, deep in your heart, that you are embarrassingly clumsy and WILL drop something on all that pristine white satin. The modern choice is white, however white has evolved into many options these days: ivory, off white, champagne, etc, etc etc. Just only 200 years ago though, the choice of color was red! It wasn't until Queen Victoria rebelliously choose a white lacy wedding dress in 1840, that it became the fashionable choice. My advice: Wear whatever color you like, brides-to-be. Be yourself, and do you!
2. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.
I have to wear something old and stinky? Something that's not mine? And something that doesn't match my colors? Why?
The meaning behind "Something Old": Stay connected to your family and where you came from. Okay, this is kind of sweet. Wear your grandmothers ring, or your mother's bracelet.
The meaning behind "Something New": Signifies Good Fortune in your life. We could all use a little good fortune, right?! Your dress counts. Done and done.
The meaning behind: "Something Borrowed": To remember that your friends will always be there to support you. Queue the music: I get by with a little help from my friends! Right!?
The meaning behind: "Something Blue": A symbol of faithfulness and loyalty. Makes sense I suppose, but what if blue isn't my color? Hide something in your bouquet like a blue charm.
3. Unifying the Bridesmaids Outfits.
Why do your girls all have to wear the same dress, in the same color, and carry the same flowers? Traditionally they even dressed the same as the bride! Wait, I thought you weren't supposed to wear white to a wedding unless you're the bride?! Its true! In ancient times, bridesmaids dressed exactly like the bride, in hopes to confuse evil spirits hovering over their wedding. Now thankfully, brides are getting creative and letting their bridesmaids dress to fit their personal style and body type.
4. Not seeing each other before the ceremony
As a wedding photographer, I don't like this one. The earlier you two see each other, the more photo opportunities we can create during the day. Plus, the "First Look" is a seriously beautiful moment. But this is a modern revision to this ancient tradition. Believe it or not, this is a tradition to keep the groom committed to the marriage up until the last minute so he can't back out! Especially in arranged marriages, the fear is that the groom will see the bride before the ceremony and not go through with the marriage. The veil comes into play at this point. To buy more time throughout the ceremony without seeing the bride, the veil remains covering the brides face until the official kiss, so there's no way the groom can decline! Different religions have their revisions to this tradition and you'll see this even in modern times. In my opinion, this is the day to show the brides beauty, happiness and love to everyone - so don't cover her up!
5. Wedding Flowers + Throwing the Bouquet
Wedding flowers are some of my favorite details of the wedding day. They are meticulously arranged, based on color, size and smell of each particular stem. In ancient times, they were not only a decoration, but a shield. The origin of this tradition is a little blurred…. One of the reasons that brides carried bouquets was born out of the ‘necessity’ of covering odor, trying to smell pretty on that special day. Bathing was not an every day thing back then! Another old and popular custom for carrying a bouquet, was to ward of evil spirits. Usually these bouquets were made from very pungent herbs, spices and yes, garlic could be involved. I am thinking that you could kill two birds with one stone with a garlic bouquet; evil spirits and evil odor could be knocked out with one bouquet! Oh the old days!
The second part of this tradition is throwing the bouquet. In ancient times, it was tradition for wedding guests to rip off a part of the brides dress, as an offering of herself and good fortune to her guests. Can you imagine?! I'd be so pissed to have my dress ruined! So it evolved, that the bride outsmart her guest by giving an alternate offering of herself and allowing herself to keep her clothing intact: she starting throwing her garter and bouquet in lieu of pieces of her dress. The tossing of the bridal bouquet is a custom that roots in England and was believed to be a non destructive way for the bride to pass along her good fortune to others. The lucky one who catches the bouquet/garter carries the good fortune and is supposedly in route to finding their life partner.
6. Throwing Confetti or Rice at the Bride and Groom.
Ouch - that hurts! Throwing things at people isn't usually a very nice thing to do, but on your wedding day its great! This tradition can be traced back to ancient times and symbolizes wishing the marriage to be as abundant and fruitful as the grain. It also sends good vibes your way, in the hopes you'll be as fertile as the seeds thrown at you. In this day though, not everyone wants kids, so be careful if you have this tradition at your wedding, and you may end up with a baby bump!