In this day and age of personalizing even the most sacred of traditions, it’s important to know where our traditions come from in the first place. As you learn more about the background and history of a particular wedding tradition, you may find it important to keep in your wedding- or to do without. Either way, the wedding experts at Rose Hill Weddings are eager to share the origins of some of the more common traditions you’ll find at weddings. You can decide how you’d like to include or update these to suit your style.
The Bridal Bouquet
The original bridal bouquets were comprised of herbs, garlic and grains to ward off evil spirits that might try to sabotage the wedding or bring bad luck to the happy couple. Eventually, the kitchen ingredients were substituted for flowers, allowing brides everywhere to feature their favorite colors or a particular bloom that holds special meaning to them. Today, brides get creative with their bouquet, carrying any manner of creative floral designs as they walk down the aisle to their future.
Surrounding yourself with your sisters and college roommates seems like a logical choice- after all, this is your tribe. You want them by your side on such an eventful day. However, this tradition dates back to Ancient Rome when bridesmaids would dress the same as the bride to confuse evil spirits, giving the bride and groom a chance to start their marriage off on the right foot without being cursed. Today, we update the look-alike bridesmaid tradition by allowing for variations on the style of dress but keeping the color the same. This allows for tradition to shine through with a modern twist (your bridesmaids will be grateful, too!).
The Sweet Flower Girl
The sweetness of a young girl dropping rose petals along the aisle before the bride walks was not always the intent of this tradition. In Ancient Rome, young girls would walk the aisle before the bride with sheaths of wheat to invite well-being and good fortune to the newlyweds. Eventually the sheaths of wheat were replaced with flowers, and the petals that are dropped before the bride’s entrance. Today many brides still follow this tradition, though it can be altered to add special meaning to your day, or removed altogether if you like.
The Little Ring Bearer
In Victorian times, it was the responsibility of a pageboy to carry the rings and prayer book down the aisle during a wedding ceremony. During this era, the rings began to be presented on a small pillow, a luxury item at the time. This conveyed wealth and prosperity for the newlyweds as well as their families. Today we still use a small pillow for presenting the rings, though this can be adapted for a modern spin. Some couples choose to simply give the responsibility to the best man, while others include their pet dog or other creative way to walk the rings down the aisle.
The Groom’s Boutonniere
While today’s boutonnieres are a symbol of unity between the bride and groom, as well as the bridesmaids and groomsmen, the beginning of boutonnieres dates back to medieval times when women would give their love a flower before he left for war. The flower usually matched her clothing and the men would wear the flower proudly in their lapel to show they were supported by a woman at home as they marched into battle. Now the flower men wear for their wedding tend to match the flowers in the bride’s bouquet, though it can definitely be redefined and modernized to suit his sense of style or celebrate his favorite hobbies.
The idea of keeping ancient traditions alive is a noble one, yet it’s important to recognize changes and the modernization that occurs with traditions over time. Many traditions can be updated to suit your specific style, and others might be worth keeping. You may also choose to maintain certain traditions that were honored in your parents’ and grandparents’ weddings, keeping family traditions alive. At the end of the day, your wedding should feel like yours. All of the choices you make will lead to a unique look and feel that expresses your own style and personality. For more insight about wedding traditions, talk to the wedding professionals at Rose Hill Weddings. We’ll be glad to share our expertise and knowledge with you as you decide which traditions to keep and which to modernize.