There are a million couples out there, all very different from the next. Some are modern, and some are traditional, and some are in between. But the majority of these couples still choose to stick with a few traditions that have held strong for generations. Where do these wedding traditions come from? We did a little digging into why some of the practices we hold dear got started in the first place.

 

1. Why The Groom Can’t See the Bride

Photo cred: Nathan Mitchell Photography

While first looks are becoming more popular, whether it’s because couples are bucking tradition or trying to streamline their photography timelines, the tradition of not seeing your fiancé before you walk down the aisle is still holding strong with many. But this particular tradition has less-than-romantic origins.

Arranged marriages used to be the norm. There was a time when it was expected for the couple to have never seen one another before the wedding at all. The deal was usually made by the bride’s father, who wanted his daughter to marry rich to help their family. However, he might worry that if the groom saw the bride before the ceremony, he might not find her attractive and could call off the wedding, (talk about a dis to the bride…) leading to serious shame for the family. So to avoid risking the family’s reputation, the tradition that the couple didn’t see each other until the ceremony was born.

 

 

2. Why We Wear Rings on Our “Ring Finger”

Photo cred: Alex Tenser Photography

The story of why the wedding and engagement ring is worn on the left hand can be traced all the way back to ancient times. The Romans believed that the vein in the ring finger (the fourth finger) on the left hand ran directly to the heart. Because of this belief, they called that vein the “vena amoris” or vein of love. So, to solidify a union based on love, they’d place the ring on that finger to signify the romance the couple shared. Pretty darn adorable! We now know, thanks to modern day science, that all of your fingers have vein connections to the heart. But we like to keep up with this sweet, if not outdated, tradition.

 

3. Southern Tradition – Bury the Bourbon

Photo cred: Christian Agha Photo

In the South, we have all sorts of unique sayings, superstitions, and traditions. Many of our couples choose to honor their southern heritage by including a few Southern traditions during their wedding planning and big day. Burying the bourbon is a tradition that, if done correctly, is supposed to ward off rain the day of the wedding. Those who swear by this Southern myth state that the bride and groom-to-be must visit their venue exactly a month before the wedding date and bury a full bottle of bourbon upside down. Yes, it has to be full and it has to be upside down.

4. Bridal Bouquets

Photo cred: Adam Barnes Fine Art Photography

The tradition of brides holding bouquets also has it’s roots in less than romantic beginnings…The most common reason we found was that brides carried flower bouquets to disguise the smell of body odor. Dating back to the 15th century, people would take yearly–yes, yearly–baths. These were usually in May, which made June a popular month for weddings! Another popular custom that dates way back in the world of bridal bouquets is carrying them to ward off evil spirits. These pungent bouquets were full of herbs and spices such as garlic, dill, and chives–a regular baked potato of a bouquet. 

 

5. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Photo cred: AnnaMarie Akins Photography

Our final wedding custom is a well known saying, one that is a bit sweeter than the others. It derives from the Old English rhyme, “Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe”–which names the four good-luck objects (plus a sixpence to bring prosperity) a bride should include somewhere in her wedding outfit or carry with her on her wedding day. 

Back in the day, including “something old” was a sure way to ward off the Evil Eye and protect any future children the couple might have. “Something new” offers optimism for the future. Incorporating “something borrowed” brings the couple good luck. By borrowing something from a happily married friend or relative, the bride or couple ensures a little of their good fortune rubs off on them. And while wearing or carrying “something blue” was also meant to deflect that pesky Evil Eye, the color blue stands for love, purity and fidelity—three key qualities for a solid marriage.

All in all, we love all the unique parts of your wedding, whether or not you decide to partake in these timeless traditions or decide to create some your own!