The History of Common Wedding Traditions

January 25, 2022

Have you ever wondered where wedding traditions have come from? So often, when planning or attending a wedding, we are just excited to watch the happy couple and don’t question some of the wedding norms that society has come to accept.

When it comes to weddings, we all know many long-standing traditions and are excited to be a part of them one day. For many brides, they dream of the day they get to wear their dream dress, seal their marriage with a kiss, cut and smash the cake into their groom’s face, and toss the bouquet to a group of bachelorettes. 

As wedding experts, we have searched through the history behind these traditions, so you don’t have to. Let’s take a look at these traditions and their origins.

Traditions Around Good Luck and What’s Bad Luck

We all know that it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her dress before the wedding, but why is it bad luck? Let’s find out all about those good and bad luck traditions and how they have been incorporated into the modern wedding.

  1. Saturday is an unlucky day to be married. This came from an English poem that depicts what it means to get married each day of the week. Despite this poem, Saturday is the most popular day to be wed!
  2. Being carried across the threshold. Grooms will carry their brides across the threshold after they are newlyweds to ward off evil spirits bravely, or so the superstition says.
  3. Finding a spider in your wedding dress. The English believe that spiders are good omens. An old English proverb even says: “He who would wish to thrive must let spiders run alive.”
  4. The sugar cube. According to the Greeks, you ensure that you have a sweet partnership by putting a sugar cube in your glove.

Traditions Behind the Engagement Ring

Nothing makes a soon-to-be bride more excited than the day that their boyfriend gets down on one knee. This tradition is one we take for granted, but we may also have no idea where it came from or why we observe that tradition now.

For starters, we all know that the engagement ring is worn on the fourth finger of the bride’s left hand. This comes from believing that the vein that runs from that finger goes directly to your heart—making it the ideal placement for the ring that means forever. Despite this sweet sentiment, the tradition started in ancient Rome as a sign of ownership. Originally a diamond wasn’t used, and the rings were made of ivory, bone, copper, and sometimes iron.

In 850 AD, the pope declared that the ring was no longer meant to signify ownership. Instead, the pope decreed that engagement rings were meant to show a man’s intent to marry in gold. However, it wasn’t until the 40’s when De Beers launched an advertising campaign centered around diamonds and created the tradition as we know it today. 

The process of kneeling to present the ring is likely in fitting with traditions of deference to nobility, being traced back as far as 328 BC, where Alexander the Great introduced the practice into his court.

Wedding Dress Traditions

Queen Victoria was the one who started the trend of wearing a white dress to your wedding in 1840. Before that, brides would simply wear the best clothing that they owned. So, we all have Queen Victoria to thank for the tradition that we know and love today. However, the Ancient Romans and Greeks created the completion of the wedding dress with a veil. The Greeks and Romans believed that the veil would protect the bride from evil spirits trying to sabotage the wedding day.

There are other superstitions centered around the bridal gown as well. For example, it’s thought that the material you use for your wedding dress will determine the quality of your marriage. Due to this superstition, silk is believed to be the best choice of material for a wedding dress, with satin bringing lousy luck and velvet leading to financial issues.

Along with the superstition around the material of a wedding gown is also the superstition involving the color. In western tradition, to have a good wedding dress you should choose pearl, white, or blue as your color. But if you want to “live in town” then brown is the color for you. If you want to avoid a bad marriage, steer clear of yellow, pink, green, red, or gray. 

Other cultures around the world have their own superstitions around the color of the wedding dress as well. While white is the in-vogue style of the west since Queen Elizabeth showed hers off many decades ago, other cultures all around the globe each choose the attire that evokes their heritage and style, often infusing many colors, materials, and fabrics into their garb according to local superstitions around good luck, good health, and good fortune.

Let’s Find Your Dream Wedding Dress

At Sposa Mia Bridal, our hand-curated collection of Bridal Gowns will steal your heart. With a mixture of price point and styles, we provide a unique selection of gowns and accessories that is elegant, timeless, and romantic.

Please give us a call at the boutique or take a moment to complete our appointment request form to schedule your visit. We will get back to you as quickly as possible to confirm the details!

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