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Wedding Traditions and Their Origins

Oh, how far we’ve come…

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Bridesmaids’ Dresses

Wedding Traditions and Their OriginsIn old times, the tradition was to dress the bridesmaids exactly in the same manner as the bride, in the hope that any evil spirit trying to target the bride would be confused on seeing so many lookalikes. It is also possible that this was done to ensure that the bride didn’t become a target of a jealous or spurned suitor (who would be as confused as the evil spirit seeing so many women dressed identically with veils covering their faces).

Today of course, the bridesmaid’s dresses are quite different from the bride and come in a variety of colors – although some unkind people do say that they’re deliberately designed to be ugly, so as to avoid giving any competition to the bride.

It’s customary to throw rice at the newlyweds as a symbol of happiness and prosperity. Rice is also symbolic of a life giving seed and it is thrown at the couple in the hope that will have many children.

Wedding Traditions and Their Origins

Giving Away the Bride

In old times, the daughter was quite literally the property of the father. Marriages were very often based not on love but on financial and other considerations. The groom would have to pay a ‘bride price’ to the father of the bride. This ancient tradition of giving the bride away indicated that all fatherly obligations had been fulfilled and that the ownership of the bride was being passed from the father to the husband. Of course, the tradition has evolved over the years and today the father is usually the person who walks his daughter down the aisle. The modern version of this ritual celebrates the loving bond between the father and the daughter, and represents a father’s blessings and good wishes to his daughter.

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Originally from Denver and now living in NYC, Angie has been writing since she was small. She lives in the Flatiron district with her partner Tanya and their mutt Sparky (always adopt!) In her spare time she loves to paint (mostly abstract) and talk to random people on the street to find out what's interesting to them.

Reader Discussion: 2 Comments

  1. Bernie Lundy

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Well written!

  2. Joanne Samonte

    I used to hear wedding guests (and wedding planners / coordinators) jokingly say that a veil covers the bride’s face especially if she is a virgin (well, I guess, sex after marriage is their issue here). And they would add, so if you’re no longer a virgin, do not be a hypocrite by covering your face with a veil during your wedding day.
    Through this really INFORMATIVE article I was informed of how different wedding traditions came about, and now if I hear people joke around different wedding traditions especially the tradition of wedding a veil, I can inform them by saying, ‘No! Wedding veils were used in the ancient times so as not to disappoint the groom………”
    And I can also share other wedding traditions’ origins I found here 🙂 Thanks Urbanette! Really a great one!

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