Origins of 6 wedding traditions

Origins of 6 wedding traditions

  1. A white wedding dress
  2. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
  3. The wedding bouquet
  4. The veil
  5. Bridesmaids and groomsmen
  6. The honeymoon

  1. A white wedding dress

This is something you need to blame Queen Victoria for – she set the fashion by commissioning a white wedding dress.  Up until then it was the custom for the bride to wear her best dress, or if she had enough money, have a new best dress made which would then be used for special occasions in her married life.  Sometimes it would be cut and reused as Christening gowns or handed down to a daughter for her wedding day.  White was not the traditional colour of purity as we often think – that was blue as shown in many pictures of the Virgin Mary.


  1. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

Another Victorian tradition. These items were and still are considered symbolic of a change in life status.

  • Something old symbolising the bride’s previous family life – possibly a piece of jewellery or clothing
  • Something new symbolising the new life ahead, and often the wedding dress is recognised as something new
  • Something borrowed – often from a friend, the maid of honour or other close relation to symbolise borrowed happiness, and the importance of that friendship
  • Something blue to represent purity and often taking the form of the garter which the bride is wearing or a ribbon, or any other discreetly hidden item of clothing!


  1. The Wedding bouquet

And another Victorian tradition.  Wedding bouquets were originally made of scented herbs such as rosemary, garlic, dill and other aromatic plants or those which had the power to ward off evil.  Victoria decided to order fresh flowers for her bouquet, including orange blossom and yet another tradition was born.


  1. The Veil

This is a much older tradition which was developed by the Victorians to display wealth – becoming longer, fuller and more ornate.  The original reason behind the veil dates back to Ancient Greek and Roman times when brides wore veils to hide their faces and thus protect themselves from evil spirits who wanted to disrupt the wedding.


  1. Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

People wearing similar clothing to the bride and groom at a wedding were present to act as decoys to ward off those evil spirits who wished the happy couple bad luck.  By dressing these supporters in a similar way, the spirits would become confused and not be able to curse the wedding & future marriage.  This is an ancient Roman tradition and not Victorian.


  1. The Honeymoon

This tradition has its roots in Nordic culture – the Vikings and Danes.  After a wedding the couple would literally go into hiding after the wedding for thirty days – one cycle of the moon or, as we now know it, a month.  During that time, they would entrust a family member with their whereabouts who would come and feed them honey or honey wine (mead) for that period.  After the month was over, they would return to the rest of the tribe and move into their home together as man and wife.  The term honeymoon derives from honey month and has nothing to do with the Victorians!