Photo: Getty Images
By Jessica Hagy
The bouquet; the garter toss; that something blue pinned to your dress: Have you ever taken a second to consider the purpose of all of these deeply instilled wedding traditions? Probably not because you’re busy planning a wedding. But since we’re wedding fanatics that fall asleep dreaming of napkin rings and invite fonts, we took the liberty to dig around and find 10 fascinating facts about the wedding traditions we’ve all come to know.
1. Turns out it’s your “ring finger” for a reason. Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.
2. Queen Victoria is credited with starting the Western world’s white wedding dress trend in 1840 — before then, brides simply wore their best dress.
3. If your bridesmaids are less than thrilled about matching dresses, tell them they’re good luck! The tradition of matching maids dates back to Roman times, when people believed evil spirits would attend the wedding in attempt to curse the bride and groom (how rude). Bridesmaids were required to dress exactly like the bride in order to confuse the spirits and bring luck to the marriage.
4. On a similar note, brides traditionally wear veils because ancient Greeks and Romans believed they protected her from evil spirits.
5. The tradition of a bride wearing “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” comes from an Old English rhyme. Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity.
6. The tradition of a wedding cake comes from ancient Rome, where guests broke a loaf of bread over the bride’s head for fertility’s sake.
7. Ever wondered where the phrase “tying the knot” came from? In many cultures around the world — including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings — the hands of the bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple’s commitment to each other and their new bond.
8. If you thought we were over the spirit thing, think again. According to tradition, the groom carries the bride across the threshold to valiantly protect her from evil spirits lurking below.
9. June weddings are not a new thing. The Roman goddess Juno rules over marriage and childbirth, hence the popularity of June weddings.
10. Honeymoons weren’t always so luxurious. Ancient Norse bridal couples went into hiding after the wedding, and a family member would bring them a cup of honey wine for 30 days — or one moon — which is how the term “honeymoon” originated.