While some wedding traditions are arguably on their way to being out of fashion (it seems like every year fewer brides make time for a garter toss) there’s good reason why some of these tried-and-true wedding staples are still around: They’re steeped in history. And while your version of the tradition might look different than the original, the sentiment and meaning is still the same.
The Wedding Cake The sweetest part of the wedding day dates back to ancient Greece, when couples shared crushed sesame cakes to ensure fertility, and the concept evolved into the confection we know and love today. And while the wedding cake can have many different looks – from a three-tier buttercream cake to a cupcake tower or even a stack of doughnuts – the idea behind it is still intact. In other words, sharing something sweet together on your wedding day with each other and your guests is a symbol of your union, and that will never go out of style.
The Bridal Shower Bridal showers are just as steeped in history as the details of the actual wedding day. This tradition began three centuries ago in Holland. If the father didn’t approve of his daughter’s fiance and refused to give her a proper dowry, the girl’s friends would come to her rescue, showering her with gifts so that she would have a dowry and could marry the man of her choosing. Today, bridal showers are thrown by the bride’s friends and family as a show of love and support for the bride and her transition into married life. Today’s pre-wedding parties are leaving behind the formalities, which means couples are changing the traditional party format to fit their style and preferences.
Not Seeing Each Other There are so many options – from a classic white ball gown to an edgy and mod jumpsuit – that will make a bride look stunning on her wedding day. But it’s more about the anticipation of the couple seeing each other for the very first time on the day they’ve chosen to commit, than it is about just the dress. You’ve spent a lot of time choosing every detail of how you’ll look, from your dress to the shoes and your makeup, and you want to make it a romantic moment where you soak it all in. Doing a first look makes for a great photo shoot and creates an intimate moment together before you meet up with family and friends. It doesn’t matter if the big reveal happens on the ceremony aisle or the day before – it’s about the feeling you have in that moment, and for a lot of couples that’s very emotional.
Holding the Bouquet Brides throughout history have carried or worn flowers on their wedding day. In some cultures, it was thought that carrying a bouquet of flowers would help ward off evil spirits, and in ancient Rome, brides carried bunches of herbs to symbolise fidelity and fertility. Even if you’re not into the meaning behind the flowers, carrying a bouquet is a no brainer to add pretty fresh decor, colour and scent to your wedding, not to mention they can be arranged to fit any wedding style. Fresh flowers aren’t the only option available to couples: Paper and flower bouquets are a hot alternative to fresh blooms, and since they’re nonperishable, it means you can keep your bouquet forever (and even pass it down to future brides).
The Rings Circles have been a symbol associated with everlasting love since the time of ancient Egypt (it’s believed the pharaohs of Egypt first used the circle, a shape with no beginning or end, as a symbol of eternity), but wearing a ring as a public pledge to honour the marriage contract didn’t become customary until Roman times. The earliest rings were made of simple iron, but gold rings set with gems became fashionable by medieval days. The point isn’t for couples to have the biggest, flashiest diamond ring; it’s the physical symbol of commitment that won’t go the way of the shoulder-padded wedding dress. For some couples, that doesn’t mean a ring – it could be any piece of jewellery or something different altogether – but it’s the idea of keeping part of your loved one close by at all times that’s here to stay.