Friday, September 21, 2012

The Origins of Four More Wedding Traditions

In an earlier post, we covered some of the origins of popular wedding traditions including why brides wear white wedding gowns, why brides look for something "old, new, borrowed, and blue" and the history of the wedding bouquet.

Photo courtesy of Kristen W.
But there are many more wedding traditions and plenty of interesting stories to explain them. So we're going to cover a few more of the most popular traditions in the United States.

Tossing the Garter and Bouquet

According to a Mental Floss article, the origins of this story are pretty creepy and involve wedding guests helping the bride and groom make things "official" by tearing and pawing at the bride's dress. In time, the bouquet and garter were tossed as distractions to help the bride escape the crowd unnoticed.

Giving Away the Bride

That same Mental Floss article explains why fathers give away brides. You might not like it, but the story behind this wedding tradition is that "fathers once used their daughters as currency to a) pay off a debt to a wealthier land owner, b) symbolize a sacrificial, monetary peace offering to an opposing tribe or c) buy their way into a higher social strata."

The Wedding Cake tells us that wedding cake has a long history. In ancient Rome the grooms smashed barley cake over the bride’s head. (We're not sure if that's better or worse than cake in the face!) Also, in medieval England unmarried wedding guests might take home a slice of cake to "tuck under their pillow."

Saving the wedding cake, according to CNN Living, was less about commemorating the one-year wedding anniversary and more about frugality. According to the article, "It used to be assumed that when there was a wedding, a christening would follow shortly. So, rather than bake two cakes for the occasions, they'd just bake one big one and save a part of it to be eaten at a later date when the squealing bundle of joy arrived."

What is your favorite wedding tradition? Do you know how it got started?

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