Bet you and all your Girlfriends, can probably hum the well-known notes of "Here Comes the Bride".  But when it comes to today's weddings, the reality is that brides and grooms are swapping out that instantly recognizable song for tunes of Beyonce, Bruno Mars, John Legend & other faves.  And, it's not just relegated to the DJ booth: while some people still hew to tradition, other head to a luxurious island instead of a church. Choose a sapphire instead of a diamond, or even get matching outfits for the big moment. The fact is, times are changing, and weddings are far from exempt. Ever wonder where "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" came from?

We've all heard this rhyme used when someone gets married, but what does it really mean?   Wearing "something old" represents the bride's past, while the "something new" symbolizes the couple's happy future. The bride is supposed to get her "something borrowed" from someone who is happily married in the hope that some of that person's good fortune rubs off on her. "Something blue" denotes fidelity and love.

Wearing a Veil - This custom traces its roots back to Rome. Fearing evil spirits were jealous of her happiness, the bride would wear a veil down the aisle to disguise herself from them and avoid any ill will they would bring upon her.

Take Bride over the threshold - This superstition began in medieval Europe, when many believed that a bride was extra vulnerable to evil spirits through the soles of her feet. To avoid bringing in any evil spirits, the groom carried the bride into their new home.

First look (see each other before the wedding) - This superstition dates back to the time of arranged marriages, when people believed that if the couple saw each other before the ceremony, it would give them a chance to change their minds about the wedding. Today, however, many couples choose to meet up and even have portrait sessions before saying their I do's.

Garter Toss - Back in the Dark Ages, the garter was considered a hot item. It's said that family and friends would wait outside the nuptial bedchamber until they were shown evidence - sheets, stockings, a garter - that the marriage had been consummated. In time, the garter came to symbolize good luck, and rowdy guests began making a game of trying to strip the bride of that little fabric band. To distract the mob, brides began tossing it into the crowd. Today, the practice usually involves the groom throwing the garter to a group of single men; whoever catches it is believed to be the next to marry.

Cake Topper  - When Queen Victoria opted to crown her wedding cake with mini sculptures of herself and Prince Albert in 1840, the bride-and-groom cake topper was born. By the 1920s, the trend had crossed the pond to the United States, gaining popularity in the 1950s when couple figurines came to symbolize marital stability. Today, toppers aren't always cookie-cutter brides and grooms, but personalized sculptures highlighting a pair's identities, pets, or hobbies.

Wedding Ring  -  The circle represents eternity, because it doesn’t have a beginning or an end. During ancient times, women would wear rings made of papyrus around their wrists and ankles. Romans then began to substitute the material with iron, which ultimately led to the use of gold to make the first betrothal rings. The tradition of a diamond engagement ring was started by Archduke Maximilian of Austria when he proposed to Mary of Burgundy. Like circles, diamonds have long been considered as symbols of eternity because they are the hardest gems on earth. The placement of the ring on the fourth finger came from the Egyptians who believed that it was the finger that contained the vein that connects to the heart.

Tie the Knot  -  During the Roman age, a common custom was to tie the bride and groom’s hands together during the ceremony. The couple could not be released until the marriage was official. This is a tradition that’s referred to as “handfasting”, and is a common practice among various cultures around the world.

Bridal Bouquet - The first bridal bouquet was made out of aromatic bunches of herbs, garlic, and grains, which were ingredients that were believed to have the power of driving away evil spirits. Over time, the herb bouquet was gradually replaced by flowers which carry special meanings in different cultures around the world.

Groomsmen  -  The tradition of having groomsmen as part of the wedding, comes from the ancient tradition of kidnapping the bride. Before a couple could get married, a man had to employ his fellow friends or warrior companions to help him fight off other warriors and prevent the bride’s family from finding the couple. The groom’s main warrior companion would be the equivalent of the “best man” at a wedding.

Wedding Registry  -  The origin of the wedding registry dates back to 1924 at a Marshall Field’s store in Chicago. Also known as a bridal registry, it was a way for the couple to choose their fine china and silver for their big day. Soon the idea spread across the country and was popularized in the retail industry to include wedding gifts for the couple.

Bride on the Left - The bride stands to the left of the groom during the wedding ceremony so that the groom can protect her with his left arm and use his sword with the right. Traditionally, the groom would need to fight anyone who was trying to steal his wife – mostly members of her own family, since it was common for them to think she’d be “stolen”.

Honeymoon  -  The tradition of going on a honeymoon after a wedding, dates back to the 5th century when cultures represented the calendar time in moon cycles. Once married, a newlywed couple would drink an alcoholic beverage made with honey, a tradition that would take place during their first moon of marriage.

In the U.S. today, a lunchtime wedding is a great way to save some money,  since they're not as popular as night time affairs. Nowadays, brides and grooms serve all kinds of desserts at their weddings (cookies, doughnuts, pie, etc), but there's nothing more classic than a good ole' fashioned cake. Back in the day, it was very common to freeze the top tier of your wedding cake to break out and eat together on your first anniversary.  While modern weddings often involve hors d'oeuvres, full sit-down meals, dancing, open bars, and other elaborate trappings, weddings have traditionally been much simpler affairs. As late as the 1960s, couples often skipped the post-wedding reception, and if they did have one, it typically involved just cake and punch.

Traditionally in African weddings, the bride's attire is very specific: She wears a wrap skirt, a matching shawl and headpiece. The fabric color matters too! Gold symbolizes prosperity, purple symbolizes royalty and green symbolizes life.  Moroccans are down to party.  Wedding celebrations often last up to seven days, with elaborate pre-wedding ceremonies, preparation rituals and, of course, a massive days-long feast. This one might freak out your grandma, but in traditional Spanish culture, Brides wore black down the aisle to symbolize “till death do us part.”   When it comes to bridal fashion, I say wear whatever gives you Joy.

Make your wedding celebration all about You as a Couple!
  • You don’t have to include any traditional customs at all. But you should choose a few to keep peace with your Mom.  Just pick the ones you like and do them well.
  • Mix things up.  Add a few cultural traditions from the Groom's  Grandparents or from places you both visited.
  • The biggest rule of 2020 is that there are NO rules.  Make it Fun and Enjoy Yourself.

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