To me, the most important part of a wedding day is the promises you make to one another and the love that you share in that commitment. There is no number of traditions and personal touches which can take away from that. However many couples getting married today make up their own rules for their wedding celebrations and create their own traditions. I love this because it's so fun and personal! As a photographer I love to connect with my couples, so I love seeing parts of their personality reflected in parts of their wedding day- it's a beautiful way to celebrate your love and what makes you unique.
As you plan what's important to you on your wedding day I thought it would be interesting to learn about certain traditions that although are personalised by every couple, never seem to change!
Did you know that cakes represent fertility? Ancient Romans would bake a wheat cake and break it over the Brides head to encourage a fruitful marriage… Soon it became customary to stack these wheat cakes one on top of one another as tall as possible and challenge the bride and groom to kiss over the top of the tower without knocking it over. If they were successful the couple would enjoy a lifetime of good fortune. Also, wedding cake tastes like the best cake in the world and looks stunning, so I’m pleased this tradition has transcended through time as it has!
The Wedding Rings
The circle of your wedding ring signifies eternity because it doesn’t have a beginning or an end – How romantic is that? It dates back to ancient times when women would wear bands of Papyrus around their ankles and wrists as a sign of their eternal love. This was until the Romans introduced bands made from iron and from then we went on to make bands of all types. Diamonds were used as another representation of eternity due to their reputation of being the hardest and most long lasting gems on earth. And, they look very sparkly and lovely!
A tradition that I also love the history of is the placement of the ring on the fourth finger. Surprise, surprise, this came from the Romans too, who believed that it was the finger that contained the vein that connects to the heart. Super sweet.
In Ancient Rome it was believed that flowers signified new beginnings, faithfulness and fertility. The bride would carry garlands of flowers and herbs on her wedding day to signify the start of her new life built on trust and loyalty with her partner. So, not only do they look beautiful but they also represent something beautiful too.
To the Left, to the Left...
Traditionally the bride always stands to the left of the groom so that the groom can protect her with his left arm and use his right to fight, known a long time ago as his sword hand. During the time in the ceremony when the congregation were asked if there were any objections, it was expected that possible suitors would attempt to steal the bride and therefore the groom would need to be able to protect her and fight them off! Thankfully I have never had to witness any brides being stolen, but I'm sure there have been some jealous suiters watching from a far!
There are two parts to wearing a veil if you look back in history. Reason 1 dates back to Rome, of course, where a bride would walk down the aisle with a veil over her face in order to disguise herself from any evil spirits who wanted to thwart her happiness. Reason 2 dates back to when marriage was often arranged and much more of a business transaction. The bride would be required to wear a veil to hide her face until the groom had committed to the marriage in order to prevent him from pulling out… gees! After a while, they went drastically out of style until Queen Victorias’s wedding when she wore one and ever since, so has almost everyone else. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I LOVE a veil, but if it’s not your cup of tea then that’s fine! There are plenty of other beautiful accessories and hairstyles to adorn your head instead. I love how bridal fashion has evolved and is about the bride feeling the most beautiful she’s ever felt.
I found those facts really interesting when I was researching this blog... I hope you did too and you found them useful when you're thinking about your wedding day and what's important to you and your partner!