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  • Writer's pictureThe Bushnell Event Center

Fun Wedding Traditions and Their Origins

Weddings are rich with traditions that add depth, meaning, and joy to the celebration. Each tradition carries a unique significance and a fascinating history that connects modern ceremonies with centuries of cultural practices. Here are eight fun wedding traditions, what they mean, and how they started.

Throwing Rice

Meaning: Throwing rice at the newlyweds as they leave the ceremony is a symbolic gesture meant to bestow fertility, prosperity, and good fortune. It allows guests to offer their blessings and hopes for the couple’s future filled with abundance and joy.

Origin: This practice dates back to ancient Roman times when wheat or oats were thrown at the couple to encourage fertility. Over the centuries, rice became the more common choice due to its abundance and affordability, transforming this tradition into a festive farewell for the newlyweds.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Meaning: The saying "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" is a time-honored tradition that is believed to bring good luck to the bride. "Something old" represents continuity with the past, "something new" signifies optimism for the future, "something borrowed" symbolizes borrowed happiness, and "something blue" stands for purity, love, and fidelity.

Origin: This tradition originated in Victorian England, where each item was thought to bring different blessings to the bride. The color blue has been associated with weddings since ancient times, symbolizing purity and fidelity, and was often seen in the form of blue garters worn by brides.

Wedding Cake Cutting

Meaning: The cutting of the wedding cake by the bride and groom is a poignant moment that signifies their first joint task as a married couple and their commitment to support and care for each other.

Origin: The tradition of wedding cakes dates back to ancient Rome, where bread was broken over the bride's head to bring good fortune. The modern multi-tiered cake emerged in the 17th century, evolving into the grand centerpiece we recognize today. The act of cutting the cake together has since become a symbol of unity and partnership.

Bouquet Toss

Meaning: The bouquet toss is a playful tradition where the bride throws her bouquet over her shoulder into a group of unmarried women. The belief is that the woman who catches the bouquet will be the next to marry.

Origin: This custom began in England, where women would attempt to tear pieces of the bride’s dress and flowers for good luck. To avoid the commotion, the bride would toss her bouquet to the crowd as a distraction. Over time, this evolved into the more orderly and symbolic bouquet toss seen at weddings today.

Wedding Rings

Meaning: Exchanging wedding rings symbolizes eternal love and commitment. The circular shape of the ring represents infinity, with no beginning or end, signifying an unending bond.

Origin: The tradition of exchanging rings dates back to ancient Egypt, where the circle was a symbol of eternity. The Romans adopted this practice, which eventually became a standard part of Christian wedding ceremonies. Rings were placed on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was believed that a vein in this finger ran directly to the heart.

First Dance

Meaning: The first dance is a romantic and cherished moment for the newlyweds, symbolizing their first steps together as a married couple and the beginning of their shared life journey.

Origin: The tradition of the first dance started in Europe during royal balls, where the guest of honor, often a noble or the couple themselves, would lead the first dance to open the event. This tradition was adopted into weddings, highlighting the newlyweds and giving them a special moment of prominence.

Jumping the Broom

Meaning: Jumping the broom is a vibrant tradition symbolizing the sweeping away of the old and the welcoming of the new. It represents the couple’s new beginning and their commitment to each other.

Origin: This tradition has roots in African culture and was adopted by African American slaves who were often not allowed to legally marry. Jumping the broom became a way to publicly signify their union and has been revived in modern times to honor and celebrate cultural heritage.

Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold

Meaning: Carrying the bride over the threshold is a tradition that symbolizes the groom protecting his bride from evil spirits that might be lurking in their new home.

Origin: This practice dates back to ancient Roman times. Romans believed that evil spirits lurked at the threshold of a new home, and by carrying the bride over it, the groom protected her from these spirits. This gesture has continued as a romantic custom in modern weddings.

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