From Weird to Wonderful: 3 Wedding Trends with Shady Origins

posted on 15 May 2013 by The Tie The Knot Team
posted to Wedding Tips & Advice

Father and Bride

Ah weddings! A gorgeous bride wearing white is being lead down the aisle by her doting father. In the front of the church stands a nervous groom, flanked by his best men while the bridesmaids stand adorned and beautiful to the left. The bride wears white to signify joy and purity. Her father walks her down the aisle where he will romantically “give her away” to the new number one man in her life. The groomsmen? Well they are there to support their good buddy and send him off into marriage in style. And the bridesmaids are there to support the bride in every way possible. Nothing wrong with any of that, right? Well of course not! It all sounds lovely. Except that these three taken-for-granted traditions were not always such honourable traditions. In fact, they were born out of something else entirely.

Wearing White

Yes, today we consider the white dress as a symbol of purity (virginity) or more contemporarily we take it to symbolize joy. These may be true representations but white wedding dresses were not always the first choice for weddings. Traditionally brides used to simply wear their most elaborate outfit, often adorning themselves with extra silks and furs in an attempt to look as “wealthy” as possible. When Queen Victoria got married in 1840 she wore a white dress. After that peasants simply copied the Queen’s choice of wedding fashion and so white became the iconic go-to colour for brides that it is today.

Giving the Bride Away

Your dad might look at you lovingly as he receives your arm to walk you down the aisle to meet your waiting groom. He might even shed a secret tear, as fathers of the bride often do, but this particular little custom was born out of an era where daughters were not doted on so much as they were thought of as currency. In the old days women were often used to pay off debts or were given away as a peace offering to an opposing tribe. Daughters were also given away in marriage as a way to secure a higher social standing for her family.

The Wedding Party

Today our wedding parties consist of our nearest and dearest friends. That select bunch of people who have your back through thick and thin. They are your “chosen” family members. In the old days the members of the wedding party were more “functional”. The groomsmen were selected in case the groom needed help in kidnapping a bride away from a disapproving family while the bridesmaids would be dressed in clothing similar to the bridal clothing in order to act as decoys in case a jilted lover attempted to kidnap the bride or in case evil spirits had intentions of cursing the blessed couple.

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