Wedding Traditions: Why We Do These Strange Wedding Customs

Wedding Traditions: Why We Do These Strange Wedding Customs

Why do we have bridesmaids and a best man? Why are the bouquet and garter thrown? There are many wedding customs that we implement just because they’re tradition. But where do they come from? Although still commonplace today, the superstitious origins behind these weddings traditions may surprise you.

These women haven’t always been chosen simply to support the bride during the wedding procession or to make for better photo opts. Originally, they were dressed similarly to the bride to confuse evil spirits and her former loves. Bridesmaids were also expected to help protect the bride and intervene with those who might try to steal her dowry as she traveled to the groom’s village. Wearing matching dresses, carrying a bouquet and smiling doesn’t seem so tough now.

The Best Man
This position hasn’t necessarily been held by a best friend or brother in the past. Runaway brides or unapproving fathers aren’t new things, so the best man was once chosen based on his strength and ability to ensure that the wedding happened … regardless. Luckily these days, he only has to worry about carrying the rings and getting the groom to the ceremony on time.

The Wedding Cake
Have you ever had some wedding cake that you thought wasn’t very good? Earlier tradition was that the groom would take a bite of bread, and sprinkle the crumbs over the bride’s head for good luck. The guests would then eat the crumbs around her feet to gain some of the good luck. Bet that slice of wedding cake doesn’t sound so bad anymore!

The Cake Topper
Speaking of the wedding cake, why do we save the top layer of the cake? Most of us are familiar with the rhyme, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.” It was assumed that a baby would be conceived and/or born in the first year of marriage, so the top of the wedding cake would then be used to celebrate the announcement of a baby. And here we thought we were just expected to eat frost bitten cake because it was our 1st anniversary.

The Bouquet & Garter Toss
To the chagrin of many singles, they are called out to catch the bouquet and garter at a wedding. This tradition, as annoying as it may seem, originally was created as a diversion. Couples were not expected to wait until the honeymoon to consummate their marriage. They would often “do the deed” right after exchanging vows. The bouquet toss was used as a distraction so that the bride and the groom could … umm … handle business. Tossing the garter goes along the same lines, as eager guests waited outside of the bedchamber for proof. And we thought fighting over a bunch of flowers was embarrassing.

Customary or not, these wedding traditions are yours to choose or not to choose. After all, it is YOUR DAY and you get to call the shots.

At Hidden River Events, we are here to support whatever decisions you make for your nuptials and to make the day distinctly yours.