Wedding traditions are as old or new as the couple wants them to be.Here are seven common examples of bridal traditions:
- Exchanging vows. This centuries-old tradition avows his and her commitment to each other. The ring exchange can be personally written by the couple, or borrowed in full or in part from the familiar vows first written by the Anglican church in the 1500s: “I take thee to be my lawfully wedded…”
- The bouquet. Originally considered a symbol of happiness, bridal wreaths, garlands and bouquets were made of herbs to thwart evil spirits. Over time, herbs were replaced by flowers. Today, the single woman who catches the tossed bouquet at the reception is said to be the next to be married.
- Something blue. The old saying “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe” dates back to Victorian times in England. The saying symbolizes purity, fidelity and love, and the silver coin in the shoe is a good-luck token to bring the couple wealth.
- The rings. The engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because ancient Romans believed that a vein connected that finger directly to the heart. A sapphire in the wedding ring means marital happiness.
- The groomsmen. Back when bridal capture was a popular way to “settle down,” the groom would bring along several of his strongest friends to help fend off the bride’s family members who tried to keep her from being taken. Those buff boys were the world’s first groomsmen. These days, a groomsman’s toughest job is planning the bachelor party.
- Breaking of the glass. The highlight of a Jewish wedding is to shout “Mazel Tof” as the bride and groom step on the glass together to signify the fragility of human relationships and to act as a poignant reminder that marriage changes the lives of the couple forever.
- The threshold. According to ancient tradition, the groom would pick up and carry his bride into the bedroom to protect her from evil spirits. In the old days, the bride would often resist and not give in to her new husband’s intentions.