Wedding Traditions Explained

The Truth Behind Wedding Traditions

We’re all familiar with the typical wedding traditions; the bride must wear white; how you mustn’t, under any circumstances, see the groom the night before the wedding and the fact that the we exchange rings to symbolise the matrimony. But there do these traditions come from? And why are we still following them, especially in the 21st century where we seem to be breaking tradition in any way, shape or form that we can.

Why do we exchange rings?

Wedding rings are said to date back as far as Egyptian times. They were a superstitious bunch and were strong believers in symbolism. They believed that the circular shape of the ring symbolised how love is eternal and has no end. The ancient Egyptians also believed that your fourth finger had a vein that lead directly to the heart which is where that tradition comes from too.

Why can’t you see the groom before the big day?

Many people say that it’s bad look for the bride to see the groom before the wedding. Especially in her wedding dress. This goes back to the days of arranged marriages, which, in some countries are still commonly practiced today. In these types of scenarios, the parents have arranged the nuptials and the bride and groom literally do not meet until the wedding day, in case one isn’t attracted to the other. This is also where the veil is said to come from…to hide the bride’s face until they’re officially wed.

Why are brides “given away”?

This once again relates to older traditions where the bride was seen as property of her father. Upon giving her away to her groom, he would cease all responsibility for her and she would then be the responsibility of her new husband. In some circumstances, the father of the bride may have been offered a sum of money to wed off his daughter. 

Why do we wear white (most of the time)?

This is purely a trend that was actually started by Queen Victoria back in 1840 and was even frowned upon at the time. There were white dresses prior to this, but red was actually considered a more popular colour. Nowadays, white is also worn as a symbol of purity and innocence of the bride to be. Brides who are getting married for the second time sometimes choose to go for an off white or ivory colour because of this reason.

Why do we have a honeymoon?

In the UK, the modern concept of a honeymoon (i.e. travelling after the wedding) first became popular in the late 1700s and it was done so that members of the bride’s family who were unable to make the wedding could see her. As times began to change during the early 1800s, wealthier newlyweds would venture off to Europe shortly after their weddings as a celebration of their wedding, with the regular folk usually taking a trip to somewhere local such as the seaside. By the mid-nineties, honeymoons were common for most people and nowadays, thanks to cheaper air travel, working class newlyweds have access to exotic locations all across the globe for their honeymoon.


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