Wedding wise | Fun Wedding Trivia..!
Nowadays, there are no two weddings that are ever the same (which we love at the New Continental Hotel!) However, that’s not to say we aren’t all familiar with some long standing wedding traditions and customs. The question is…
“Do we know where they stem from and how they came to be?”
Here is a fun guide about different wedding cultures and customs from around the world that may explain to you how some of today’s long standing traditions came to be and might just make you rethink about what you wish to include on your own wedding day;
Weddings Around the world |
- In English tradition, Wednesday is considered the “best day” to marry, although Monday is for wealth and Tuesday is for health. (Saturday is the unluckiest wedding day, according to English folklore. Funny—as it’s the most popular day of the week to marry!)
- In many cultures around the world—including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings—the hands of a bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple’s commitment to each other and their new bond as a married couple (giving us the popular phrase “tying the knot”).
- For good luck, Egyptian women pinch the bride on her wedding day. Ouch!
- B Middle Eastern brides paint henna on their hands and feet to protect themselves from the evil eye.
- Throwing confetti over the bride and groom originates from Italy.
- Peas are thrown at Czech newlyweds instead of rice.
- A Swedish bride puts a silver coin from her father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe to ensure that she’ll never do without.
- In Holland, a pine tree is planted outside the newlywed’s home as a symbol of fertility and luck.
- In Egypt, the bride’s family traditionally does all the cooking for a week after the wedding, so the couple can relax.
- In Greece, they have a ‘money dance’. It starts off with the couple dancing with a handkerchief and then one by one their guest’s pin money to them – Forget gravy boats and toasters! The Greeks give the stuff you really want to take home.
- Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve are the two busiest “marriage” days in Las Vegas—elopement central!
- In South Africa, the parents of both bride and groom traditionally carried fire from their own fireplace (hearths) to light a new fire in the newlywed’s fireplace.
- In Japan, white was always the colour of choice for bridal ensembles—long before Queen Victoria popularised it in the Western world. (Queen Victoria started the Western world’s white wedding dress trend in 1840—before then, brides simply wore their best dress.)
Wedding History |
- Much of the traditional wedding ceremony as we know it is based on Ancient Roman customs, when marriages were arranged so the tradition of being given away symbolises the act of the father quite literally handing the bride over to a new owner! Usually, the bride was given away in exchange for a price of dowry.
- In the 17th century there were two cakes – a bride’s cake and a groom’s cake. The groom’s cake was dark in colour because the white of the bride’s version was not considered masculine enough.
- Queen Victoria’s wedding cake weighed a whopping 300 pounds.
- European nobility started the trend of wedding favours in the 16th century by handing out cubes or small boxes of sugar – an expensive and rare delicacy at the time.
- The honeymoon originates from when a man would capture his bride! The couple would hide from the bride’s parents before marrying and remaining hidden for a further cycle of the moon after the wedding, celebrating their union together by drinking honey wine.
- Princess Victoria established the tradition of playing Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” during her wedding processional in 1858.
- One of history’s earliest engagement rings was given to Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII. She was two-years-old at the time!!
- Wedding toasts are believed to stem from ancient times when wars raged between neighbours. Many would attempt a truce by marrying off the children of their leaders, during the celebratory feast, the bride’s father would drink from a communal pitcher to display to his guests that it was not poisoned.
- Stag parties were first held by ancient Spartan soldiers, who kissed their bachelor day’s goodbye with a raucous party.
- The tradition of having bridesmaids started in Roman times when brides would have 10 witnesses dressed identically to them. The idea being that the bridesmaids would act as decoys to evil spirits trying to harm the bride. They also served as extra protection should a rejected suitor try to kidnap her on the way to the wedding.
- The flower in the groom’s buttonhole goes back to the days when a knight would wear his ladies colours to display his love.
- Having a Best is a tradition from Anglo-Saxon England. Then, the groom would take along his most trusted and strongest friend (his ‘best’ man) to help him fight any resistance from the bride’s family.
- The bride stands to the groom’s left during a Christian ceremony, because in bygone days the groom needed his right hand free to fight off other suitors.
- Each tier of the wedding cake has its own significance; the bottom tier is for eating at the ceremony and the middle tier for distributing after the event and in the 19th Century, the top tier was saved until the first child’s christening – an event which often followed quite soon after the wedding. As the traditional recipe is a fruit cake, which has a long shelf life, it was quite safe to tuck into a slice for a few years after the big day
- About 70 percent of all brides sport the traditional diamond on the fourth finger of their left hand.
- Snake rings dotted with ruby eyes were popular wedding bands in Victorian England—the coils winding into a circle symbolised eternity.
Wedding Culture |
- The “something blue” in a bridal ensemble symbolises purity, fidelity and love.
- The tradition of a wedding cake comes from ancient Rome, where revellers broke a loaf of bread over a bride’s head for fertility’s sake.
- The bride throws her bouquet backwards over her shoulder for the group of unmarried girls to catch as its believed the girl who catches it will be the next to marry.
- Before paper confetti, people threw flowers, petals or grains of rice at the happy couple to bestow prosperity and fertility.
- The traditional haul of five sugar coated almonds as wedding favours are to represent health, wealth, happiness, fertility and a long life.
- A pearl engagement ring is said to be bad luck because its shape echoes that of a tear.
- The groom carries the bride across the threshold to bravely protect her from evil spirits lurking below
- Rain on your wedding day is actually considered good luck, according to Hindu tradition.
- The custom of tiered cakes emerged from a game where the bride and groom attempted to kiss over an ever-higher cake without knocking it over.A successful kiss – without the cakes tumbling down – meant a happy marriage.
- Aquamarine represents marital harmony and is said to ensure a long, happy marriage.
- Ancient Greeks and Romans thought the veil protected the bride from evil spirits. Brides have worn veils ever since.
Many of us feel comfortable doing ‘what is expected’ when it comes to wedding traditions. If it’s what our parents and grandparents did, it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside to carry on those same traditions. But if that’s not for you, well it’s your wedding so you can pick and choose what elements suits you for your own unique and special day!
With our fun guide, you’ll hopefully now know exactly what each part of your own big day symbolises and why these traditions are carried out.