8 wedding traditions and the odd stories behind them

Sarah Carty
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer


Weddings are full of traditions and superstitions, many of which a lot of us have followed without really having any clue what they’re about.

From dressing up in a white dress, to putting on a veil, having our dad walk us down the aisle and cutting a cake at the reception – nearly every part of the day is steeped in an age-old tradition.

But it turns out there are some pretty bizarre reasons behind the things we do on the day and Elise James from Easy Weddings Australia spoke with Yahoo Lifestyle to reveal all.

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Why the bride wears white

Pinks, blacks and blues might be slowly becoming go-to colours for brides on their big day, but the majority of those getting married still wear white.

Despite the colour generally being associated with purity, this isn’t the reason why brides began wearing white in the first place.

“It’s actually from in the 1800s’ when Queen Victoria got married. She wore a white dress, which was quite different for the time,” Elise said.

“Traditionally the colour of purity is blue so that’s completely different anyway.”

It then became a symbol of wealth for people to wear white on their wedding day.

It was also a way of people saying that if they spilt something on the gown, it didn’t matter because they were wealthy enough to buy a new one.

Interestingly, it wasn’t until after the second world war that people started to wear their wedding dress one time.

“Again it’s the wealth thing. That you can afford to have a dress and not re-wear it. Queen Victoria even had her wedding dress made into something else so she could wear it again,” Elise continued.

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Why the bride wears a veil

Wearing a veil may add to the dramatic entrance you’ve always dreamed of but brides gone by used to wear them to ward off evil spirits and protect them from the evil eye.

The veil was also a way for the bride to hide her face before arranged marriages and to ensure her husband would be the first person who got to see her. when she walked down the aisle

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Why the groom doesn’t see the bride before the wedding

It’s become more of a romantic tradition, for brides and grooms to say goodbye to each other the night before their wedding and not meet again until the ceremony.

But in the past, it was all to do with the groom not being to see what the bride looked like before the big day.

“The idea was that if they saw them before the wedding, they still had time to run away and call it off,” Elise said.

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Why the bride has bridesmaids

Nowadays, brides pick bridesmaids based on who they want to have around them for one of the biggest moments of their lives.

But way back when, there was a more sinister reason for having a group of women surrounding the bride.

“Bridesmaids used to all wear similar colours to the bride to confuse evil spirits as to which one the bride was,” Elise explained.

“Because they all looked similar, the were kind of like decoys.”

The bridesmaids also acted as a posse around the bride, to protect her from jealous exes or anyone trying to steal the dowry as she came down the aisle.

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Why the newlyweds cut cake on their wedding day

It might be a great way to keep your guests’ hunger at bay, but wedding cake also has a bizarre tradition behind it.

“Before they cut the cake, the groom would break bread or the cake over the bride’s head to reflect good prosperity and fertility,” Elise explained.

Then, guests would scramble around the bride’s feet trying to pick up the crumbs so they would also be blessed with good fortune.

Another reason was because many of the brides were considered to be virgins, and the cutting of the cake symbolised the end of that.

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Why the bride throws her bouquet

Believe it or not, throwing the bouquet had nothing to do with a single woman catching it and then being the next in line to walk up the aisle.

According to Elise, it was all about creating a distraction at the reception.

Brides used to throw the bouquet so she and her groom could run off to consummate their marriage before anybody noticed they were gone.

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Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

It’s one of the traditions that seems to be dying out today, but in the past, brides rarely walked down the aisle without having something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.

The something old was supposed to symbolise the family you came from and the something new was then to reflect the new beginning you were about to have.

The bride borrowed something from another married couple, so her and her new husband would have the same luck as that couple.

Finally, the something blue came back to blue being the colour of purity.

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Why summer weddings are so popular

The sun is shining and people are in a good mood – what’s not to love about a summer wedding?

Well, in the UK, the summer is from June to August and most people in medieval times would get married in June for a pretty gross reason.

“It’s because they used to have their yearly baths in May so by June they didn’t smell bad because they’d recently been bathed,” Elise said.

It’s also a similar reason to why brides carry bouquets.

“They used to have bouquets with strong smelling flowers because they hadn’t bathed for a month and it was meant to mask the smell of everything,” Elise continued.

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