Bright smiles. Big speeches. Plenty of romance. Who doesn’t love a good wedding? Marriage is such a big part of our society that we tend not to question bridal traditions. But where do the main trends come from? Let’s explore the origins of popular wedding motifs…
Brides In White
It’s obviously tradition for the bride to wear white on her wedding day – but do you know why? You may be surprised by the answer! This trend was kickstarted by Queen Victoria when she wedded Prince Albert in an ivory gown in 1840. She’s widely credited as the first royal to influence public bridal trends, a tradition that continues to this day.
Sixpence In Her Shoe
Ever heard the “Something old” rhyme in full? If so, you’ll likely have heard the final line and wondered what on earth it means. Well, the concluding line “and a sixpence in her shoe” refers to the old practice of brides putting sixpence pieces into their left shoe. It was once believed that doing so would bring wealth and prosperity to the marriage, and it remains a tradition across Europe to this day. In Sweden, for example, brides place coins from each parent in either shoe.
Whichever style a couple opts for, weddings can be the ultimate symbol of unity for both men and women. What many people don’t realise, though, is that their story harks as far back as Ancient Egypt, where married couples first began to wear rings on their left finger. As in many cultures, the circle symbolised eternity for the Ancient Egyptians, who also believed that the left finger of the left-hand lead directly to the heart. Though this theory has been discredited, the tradition remains strong.
Planting A Tree
A number of wedding ceremonies continue to include the planting of a tree by the both bride and groom – and it’s easy to see why. After all, it’s a pleasant scene to behold. But where does this come from? It’s simple: trees are typically associated with fertility and growth – and so, newlyweds typically plant them to symbolise the start of a happy, fulfilled marriage.
Sugared Almonds On The Table
Ah, sugared almonds. They seem to feature in almost every wedding favour – and the reason why stems from their flavour. In many ways, the bittersweet taste of almonds reflects the rich tapestry of everyday life. Hailing from Italy, the sugary coating on almonds is meant to symbolise the hope that the guests hold for the newly married couple in their life together.
Weddings are steeped in tradition – and the next time you attend one, you’ll be able to share the origins of the main ones. Long may these fun customs continue!