The Oldest Wedding Traditions

Most of todays wedding customs are influenced by superstitions and folk lore. It is commonly believed that the white color has always been the most popular one, and a white wedding dress comes from the colors ancient symbolic association with virginity and purity. In reality, the meanings of colors changed throughout ages and continents, and todays wedding customs are a relatively new development.

In biblical times, most dresses were blue because blue symbolized purity; in the East the brides have traditionally worn white that was a color of mourning, which is thought to be appropriate as the bride is leaving her family of birth to join that of her husband’s, thus undergoing a symbolic death. During the civil war brides often wore purple to honor the dead, and during the World War I, many women considered it their civil duty to give up a white wedding. It was queen Victoria who really popularized the white dress tradition. While royalty typically used embroidered colorful robes for weddings, Victoria chose a white satin gown with layers of lace and a white veil. The lavish dress and the wedding between Victoria and her cousin Albert in 1840 were written up and illustrated in thousands of publications worldwide.

Another important tradition is a brides veil. The main theory refers to the days and cultures where marriages were arranged, and bride and groom didnt see one another before the wedding day. After they were married the groom would be allowed to lift the veil to see his new wife’s face. This is why its still considered bad luck for the bride to be seen by the groom before the ceremony. The veil wasn’t always white, as is the custom today, but was yellow in ancient Greece and red in ancient Rome. There is also another belief: the veil originally symbolized the bride’s virginity, innocence, and modesty, and in some cultures — submission. This symbolism has been lost over the years but the veil is still customarily worn.

The custom of Something old, Something new, Something borrowed and Something blue dates back to Victorian times. Something Old represents the link with the bride’s family and the past; it is common for brides to wear a piece of antique family jewelry or a mother’s or grandmother’s wedding gown. Something New stands for success, good luck and hopes for a bright future in the new life, the wedding gown can be also chosen as the new item. Something Borrowed is to remind the bride that friends and family will be there for her when help is needed. Something Blue represents faithfulness, loyalty, modesty and fidelity, since this a color of purity of the Virgin Mary and the most popular of all colors.

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