Have you ever attended a wedding or planned your own and wondered why a certain aspect of it is included or where it originated — perhaps the bride being given away by her father, or the tossing of the bouquet?
You’re not alone if so, as British weddings are full of traditions that are so old, none of us really know where they came from or why. Yet many of us still follow these unwritten rules, clueless to their origins because they are tradition. Our parents did them at their wedding, and our grandparents did them at theirs too, and that’s just how it goes!
We’ve done some research and solved five of the top wedding mysteries of our time — take a look below to find out more.
1. Why is the bride given away by her father?
This is often a poignant moment in the wedding ceremony for the father and the daughter, which brings the importance of the day to mind.
It’s not surprising, as this tradition has been popular since the Middle Ages — however, back then the father was literally giving his daughter away to the groom in exchange for money!
The bride was seen as property, passed from a father to a husband. For this reason, some brides now choose to forego this tradition altogether as they don’t like the association with this past way of thinking.
Nowadays, the tradition is often seen as more of a thank you to the bride’s parents for all that they have done for her, and is still a popular event at a wedding.
2. Why do we wear wedding rings?
The wearing of wedding rings dates back centuries, with ancient Egypt often cited as the first time and place a ring exchange took place between couples in love.
The ring was said to symbolise infinite love, as the shape of the ring never ends.
Originally made from braided reeds or hemp, the rings were later upgraded to materials such as bone, leather or ivory.
Ancient Rome was said to begin the metal ring tradition, with Romans crafting rings from iron.
3. Why do we throw confetti over the newlyweds?
A tradition that started in ancient Rome, newlyweds would have grains such as oats or wheat thrown over them — this was said to represent future wealth and fertility.
Over time, this evolved into the confetti we know of today, which is much more colourful and also much softer on impact!
Most is now biodegradable, while some couples opt for dried flower petals instead (which are kinder to the environment and smell divine).
4. Why does the bride toss her bouquet?
In 15th century Britain, guests would grab at the bride at the end of the wedding day, trying to tear off a section of her dress, a clump of her hair, or her flowers. These items were thought to pass good luck from the bride to the new owner.
Over the years this began to be seen an uncivilised, and so the tradition evolved into the bride tossing her bouquet, then running off to a safe space.
Nowadays, the bride throws her bouquet and turns around on the spot to watch the fun and congratulate the person who catches it.
5. Why do the newlyweds cut a cake together?
This tradition started out as just the bride cutting the cake, and this was said to symbolise the loss of her virginity on the wedding night.
Over the years, however, wedding cakes became much taller and larger, and so it is said that husbands often got called in to help with the task.
Nowadays, the newlyweds cut the cake together and it is significant because it is the first task that the bride and groom undertake as a married couple.
Are you interested in all things wedding? Here are five things you didn’t know about weddings.