Ever wonder where all those wedding traditions come from? Depending on where you live, weddings you attend will all have different types of things going on. Some will be in churches, some at the beach; some will even play The Chicken Dance at the reception.
Typical weddings in the United States are loosely based on the Italian’s structure. If the couple and couple’s families are religious, they start out their ceremony in a church or somewhere where a priest or pastor can unite them and a usual mass is performed. If it is the bride’s first marriage, she must wear white. This is usually called a white wedding, and originated from Victorian England, and symbolized purity. In Italy, wedding invitations are to this day still engraved and addressed by hand to show the importance of the occasion.
One interesting tradition that many brides must wear is “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a lucky sixpence in her shoe” symbolizing the unity of both families, fidelity, virginity, and financial security. This is also a Victorian-era tradition, but is now a part of many weddings celebrated in many countries.
Christians believe that marriage is one of the Seven Sacraments and it is encouraged for couples to get married, that is why is it sometimes referred to as “Holy Matrimony”. And as far as Christian weddings go, Catholics believe it is morally wrong to divorce and if done, neither of the couple may remarry in the church.
The term “cocktail hour” comes from Italian tradition. At the start of a reception, the bridal party and all the guests are separated for an hour and served cocktails. Nowadays, this hour is typically used for taking pictures and getting things ready. As soon as the hour is over, the bride and groom and rest of the bridal party enter and perform their first dance. At one point, no gifts were given. Instead, everyone brought the newlyweds an envelope of money and received a wedding favor in return.
In ancient Celtic times, the bride and groom to be married would tie their hands together (called “Handfasting”). This is where the phrase “typing the knot” came from. It’s rarely still used today, mainly in families that celebrate a pagan lifestyle.
And then there are the popular traditions such as rice. Rice is thrown to wish the newlyweds prosperity in their pantry. Then there’s the cake cutting ceremony where the bride and groom often smear cake on each other’s faces. And then there’s the part where the bride tosses her bouquet and the groom tosses his bride’s garter. Whoever catches the bouquet and garter is said to be the next in line to be married.
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