What started my quest to understand wedding traditions?

I have found it sad that people simply follow traditions blindly, never understanding what those traditions mean. I also have always felt everything has more than one meaning.  I crave to understand and to know, and I love to share.

Please know I am not condemning the concept of traditions or traditional wedding. Too often I hear someone say they want a "traditional wedding". Yet, what is truly a "traditional" wedding? Traditions date back centuries; the meanings are lost and forgotten. My intent here is to share the stories behind all the forgotten traditions.

In my early twenties I worked in bridal and tuxedo shops. Even at that age I was amazed how a bride still associated white with being a virgin. I was perplexed they would feel they were required to follow various traditions. The meanings for the rituals quickly get lost in time, until people simply go with those rituals because everyone else has. They never ask why.

But, I asked and will continue to why! And I will gladly share what I find.

Something to think about, what do you remember from weddings you have attended?

If they are all alike it ends up being more of a rehearsed play vs. a special day.The most memorable weddings are the ones that break tradition. They are the events that (should) show the personality and style of a couple.  Too many weddings end up being more of a display of how much money can be blown for just one event.

Remember what the wedding is about.

It is not about recreating pages from a bridal magazine, TV show, or duplicating a celebrity wedding. It is not about anyone else except the bride and the groom. And yes I said the groom; believe it or not the wedding is not all about the bride!

Tradition Highlights:

True Tradition:

If you really want to tie yourself to true wedding tradition, the bride would be sold to the groom, for land or money. Or the bride would be kidnapped by the groom. Look at the traditions realize what they mean.

The Gown:

One of the parts I have a huge issue with... the ridiculously overpriced dress that is used for one day! I have heard the term "timeless" many times. What does that truly mean? When you think of how long the popularized white wedding gown tradition has been around it is just a speck in the timeline. Many women thought they could hand the gown down to their daughter. But styles change, not to mention sizes. What if your daughter is taller and bigger, it would be impossible to get matching fabric to make the dress work for her, if she liked it in the first place.

Cakes:

I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to a wedding and never seen this overpriced confection. The couple ends up spending a huge amount of money on something most people never end up seeing. But what if the couple opted for true tradition? It would be just a pile of baked goods. It was the French who thought it should look pretty, so they slapped icing on the pile. Personally, I am fascinated by the artistry that goes into the wedding cakes, they are incredible and impressive, but sadly even the best ones still taste like sawdust.

Tossing the Bouquet & Garter:

This is one of the most staged parts of a wedding, and staged to the point it is obvious no one has an idea why they are doing these things. At some point in time, people believed anything on the bride was considered lucky. Everyone would rip at her clothing to just have a little piece of the luck. This evolved to the bride shredding her gown, so she could throw the (shredded clothing) ribbons in order to make a safe escape. Eventually this became the garter toss, which mated with the bouquet toss.

Great Idea:

One of the nice concepts I have seen for the bouquet toss, is a break-away bouquet. It comes apart when tossed, so several people can catch a portion of the bouquet. This also helps avoid any future embarrassing YouTube video clips of the fight for the bouquet. Try using cake-charms tied to the separate bouquets (tip: include a note with the tradition with each charm). The cake-charms also can be baked into a cake with ribbons. The bridesmaids each pull a ribbon to see their fortune. In both cases the charms offer a connection to the traditions, without the couple having to follow some old forgotten tradition.

Some of the common cake-charms & their meanings:
  • EntangledHearts -Everlasting Love
  • BabyBottle - Blessed with Children.
  • Pacifier– Next to have a Baby.
  • Airplane- You'll be well traveled.
  • Ring- Married Soon.
  • Horseshoe- Lucky in Love.
  • WishingWell - Wish for True Love.
  • Frame- Happy Marriage
  • Flower- Blooming Romance
  • DollarSign - Prosperity and Wealth

Weddings can be so much fun and so memorable if you do what really truly makes you happy. Make your own traditions; make it memorable, not regrettable!