OUT WITH THE OLD
A wise philosopher once tweeted, “Traditions are just peer pressure from the dead.”–a simple, yet profound, truth. While many traditions have deep meaning and are paramount in carrying on memories and history, many others are trusted forces of habit that couples fall back on when they simply don’t know where to start. While its kind to consider your guests while planning your celebration, they will have numerous opportunities to be guests–you two, on the other hand, will likely get one shot at the wedding of your dreams. It’s perfectly fine to ditch any and all traditions and do what feels right for the two of YOU.
Something Borrowed is supposed to symbolize borrowed happiness. By borrowing something from a happily married friend or relative, the couple ensures a little of their good fortune rubs off on them. It’s all about honoring a loved one or holding onto something of sentimental value—like a sorority sister’s pin on your bouquet or your mother’s diamond earrings. Sentimental and a bit of a money saver!
However, the old-fashioned superstition urged brides to borrow the undergarments of a female friend or relative with a happy marriage and healthy kids for the sake of fertility. If you’re looking for a sign to pass on this one–there you have it.
Something blue symbolizes purity, love and fidelity: the three key ingredients thought to lead to a healthy marriage. The traditional “something blue” was often a blue garter worn beneath the bride’s white dress, but nowadays it can be just about anything. Historically, wearing something blue was meant to deflect that pesky Evil Eye along with your Something Old. Double the luck, double the protection!
If the unfashionable and patriarchal expectation of purity makes you cringe–you’re in good company.
Something new traditionally offers optimism for your future as a married couple, seeing as you are walking into a new chapter of your lives together. This item can be anything that is new to you! If you opt in to this tradition, consider that your “something new” can be an experience rather than an item.
A SIXPENCE IN YOUR SHOE
A sixpence in your shoe is supposed to be a wish for good fortune and prosperity. A sixpence, by the way, is an English coin. The sixpence tradition began in the late 17th century as a part of the dowry gift to the groom in Great Britain. As time went on, the coin became more of a good luck charm worn in the left shoe of the bride on her wedding day. This tradition is observed less and less as time goes on, not only because of the rarity of sixpence currency, but the knowledge of the tradition itself.
THE FIRST LOOK
During the time when arranged marriages were a more common custom, the betrothed couple wasn’t allowed to see each other before the wedding at all. The wedding symbolized a business deal between two families, and a father would have been pleased for his daughter to marry a man from a rich, land-owning family. But he also feared that if the groom met the bride before the wedding and thought she wasn’t attractive, he’d call off the wedding, casting shame onto the bride and her family. Therefore, it became tradition that the bride and groom were only allowed to meet at the wedding ceremony so that the groom did not have the opportunity to change his mind. And that veil the bride wears? Its original purpose was also to keep the groom from finding out what the bride really looked like until the last possible minute… romantic right?
Although arranged marriages are no longer as common, most brides still choose to wear a veil out of tradition or fear of bringing bad luck to the marriage. Others simply believe it makes the day more exciting and memorable. For those who say to heck with superstition, the new and vastly popular First Look has taken hold as a new and exciting wedding tradition.
This tradition can be traced back to ancient Rome. Flowers and other aromatic plants were a common decoration at Roman weddings because they were symbols of new beginnings, fidelity, and fertility.
Herbs were more prominent in the Middle Ages than flowers, especially dill and garlic, which supposedly warded off evil spirits and bad luck. Eventually, we reverted back to flowers and, depending on the culture, each type of flower has a specific meaning. For example, when Kate Middleton married Prince William, her bouquet featured lily of the valley (“trustworthy”), myrtle (“hope and love”), and lilac (“innocence”).
And the ugly historical truth? Bouquets were used to cover up body odor because bathing was a rare occurrence, even for the rich.
BOUQUET + GARTER TOSS
The history behind these two rather awkward traditions is shall we say… unfortunate. It stems from the 14th century, when it was customary for the bride to toss her own garter to the men. The only problem was that their new husband would often have to save them from a, very literal, mob–bridesmaids and groomsmen would tear the bride’s dress apart to get to the garter (as it meant they would be the next to marry) and would then accompany you to your bed chamber where they would encourage you to “seal the deal.” What are friends for, I guess?
Eventually, this led to the bride tossing her bouquet instead (which we all know can be equally as dangerous sometimes) and the groom tossing the garter that held up the bride’s stockings as a way to appease the crowd.
WEDDING CAKE + THE CAKE CUTTING
Historically, wedding cakes were made to bring good luck to all guests and fertility to the couple. One of the oldest traditions began in Ancient Rome, where a cake of wheat or barley was broken over the bride’s head (oh what fun) but eventually transitioned to the stacking of the cakes on top of one another as tall as they could go. The lucky couple would then have to kiss over the tower without knocking it over. If they were successful, they were said to enjoy a lifetime of good fortune together.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, the “bride’s pie” was served at most weddings. Different from the modern sweet wedding cake, bride pie was savory. Bride pie was a pie made with pastry crust and filled with an assortment of oysters, lamb testicles, pine kernels, and cocks’ combs according to Robert May’s 1685 recipe. To add insult to palate, it was considered very rude and bad luck to refuse to eat the bride’s pie.
While the first recorded white wedding dress was worn in 1406 by Princess Philippa of England–and the second being Mary Queen of Scots in 1558–the tradition did not formally start until the 1800s when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. Fun fact: it was trimmed with lace from a village called Beer to help support local makers and boost their businesses. Supporting small businesses is one tradition we can get behind.
Apart from those three trend starters, it was tradition for a bride (should she be able to afford it) to wear gold embroidery, fur, and highly saturated colors to signify her wealth. Following Queen Victoria’s white wedding debut, the wedding dress color was deemed a representation of innocence, purity, and an unsullied heart, becoming the new symbol of wealth.
It wasn’t until the economic boom after World War II, however, that the trend caught on in the United States and the rest is history. If you’re reading this before you choose your attire and have yet to be introduced to the many tints of white, brace yourself. Pure white can wash out lighter skin tones and may also appear light blue in full light.
The Western traditions of wedding rings can be traced to ancient Rome and Greece, and were first associated with the marital dowry and later with the promise of fidelity.
Historically, the wedding ring was connected to the exchange of valuables at the moment of the wedding. Rather than a symbol of eternal love and devotion, it was a sign of “earnest money”. According to the 1549 edition of the “Book of Common Prayer”, after the words ‘with this ring I thee wed’ followed the words ‘this gold and silver I give thee’, at which point the groom was supposed to hand a leather purse filled with gold and silver coins to the bride. It is a relic of the times when marriage was a contract between families, not individual lovers.
Nowadays, the tradition of exchanging rings is much more romantic and fashionable. There are numerous styles and options to symbolize your promise of eternal love and devotion.
Photographer: Grace Gatto | https://gracegatto.com/
Planners: Alison Amy | www.abridesbestmate.com + Michele Venter | www.urbaneventscolorado.com
Venue: Moss Event Venue | https://mossdenver.com/
Florist / Veil: Sky Armstrong | www.skyvanah.com
Videographer: Multiply Media | https://multiply-media.com/
Dress: 11-11 Bridal | https://11-11bridal.com/
Beauty + Accessories: Briana Altomare https://www.vagaro.com/salonbreezy
Candy: Toute Douceur Candy https://www.toutedouceurcandy.com/sweetshop
Cigar: Trinity Cigar Company https://www.trinitycigarco.com
Models: Ana Reed | @smokeybanana_ana Travis Dusenberry | @just_a_travisd
Tattoo Parlor: Smokey Banana Tattoo https://smokeybanana.com/
Couch: Hazel Grove Rentals https://www.hazelgroverentals.com/inventory