Where Exactly Do Wedding Traditions Come From?

When you think of a wedding you no doubt think similar to what most would – the dress, the cake and all the formalities we are used to. Part of being a frugal bride is stepping back and wondering if your wedding needs to tick all those boxes to be what you want. Let’s look at some of the traditions and where they actually come from.

Wearing A White Dress

If you ask a lot of people they will likely guess correctly that is symbolises virginity and it was Queen Victoria who started it when she married Prince Albert in 1840. Before that date, brides would simply choose their favourite colour or wear their Sunday best.

Wearing a Veil

The veil used to symbolise the chastity of the bride – again with the virginity stuff!

Throwing Confetti

This ‘odd-when-you-think-about-it’ tradition comes direct from Italy where they would throw petals, grain or rice at the bride and groom to encourage fertility.

Having Bridesmaids

I spoke about what it takes to be a bridesmaid here but did you know that bridesmaids originate from confusing evil spirits from singling out the bride on the wedding day. Creepy!

Having a Best Man

The best man was the best swordsman who would protect the groom. Another source I read said that they had the job of stealing the bride from her neighbouring community or disapproving family! Eh, what!?

Bridal Bouquet

In olden days, strong smelling herbs and spices were thought to ward off and drive away evil spirits, bad luck and ill health.

Groom’s Lapel Flowers

This dates back to when knights would wear his intendeds colours to display his love.


Traditionally, wedding cakes were made to bring good luck to all guests and the couple. Wedding cake was originally a luxury item, and a sign of celebration and social status. The bigger the cake, the higher the social standing. White icing was also a symbol of money and social importance in Victorian times, so a white cake was highly desired. The guests who also attended the wedding would take part by taking a piece of the broken wedding cake in hopes that they would also get good luck and fortune.

Read about getting your cake for as cheap as possible here.


The honeymoon was originally when the groom captured the bride after the wedding. There’s a lot of capturing in these traditions!

‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a lucky silver sixpence in your shoe’

This British superstition has been around since 1883. It stands for:
Something old = protection for furture babies / continuity
Something new = the future prospects
Something borrowed = borrowed happiness / good luck
Something blue = for purity, love and fidelity
Sixpence in your shoe = acted against evil by frustrated suitors.

And now you know where they all come from! All are old fashioned and you can create your wedding however you want – ignore all or cherry pick, its your wedding.


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