Ah, your wedding day, perhaps the most important day of your life! Everything about it, from the ceremony to the venue to the guests, is steeped in tradition. But as you’re choosing your wedding gown, and considering colors for your bridesmaids dresses, we invite you to take a little break.
Everything from seemingly silly superstitions – like a spider in your wedding dress is good luck – to why getting married is called “tying the knot,” we’ve collected 35 totally fun – and probably not-so-well-known – facts about your upcoming nuptials.
So put down that wedding gown guide, get yourself a cup of coffee or tea, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy our little romp through time and tradition.
It’s not unusual that many, if not most people don’t know the origin of the traditions they hold near and dear when planning a wedding. Today’s’ global culture has assimilated traditions from just about every part of the world into one big event that we now call The Big Day. Check out these thought-provoking, and sometimes downright funny, traditions that inspired weddings as we know them today. And who knows? Maybe they’ll inspire you to do something fun you never thought of before!
- The English believe that finding a spider in your wedding dress brings good luck.
- Wednesday was considered the best day to marry while on Monday you marry for wealth, and Tuesday you marry for health.
- Saturday is considered the unluckiest day to marry. This is ironic since Saturday is the hands down the most popular day to get married.
- Czech tradition calls guests to throw peas at the newlyweds instead of rice.
- Swedish brides put a silver coin from her father – and a gold coin from her mother – in each shoe to make sure that she’ll always have enough silver and gold in her new life.
- In the Finnish tradition, brides went door-to-door, collecting gifts in a pillowcase, while accompanied by an older married man, a symbol of long marriage.
- According to Dutch tradition, a pine tree planted outside the couple’s home is symbolized both fertility and luck.
- Ancient Romans studied pig entrails to determine the luckiest time to marry.
- The Western tradition of wearing a white wedding dress was begun by Queen Victoria in 1840.
- Ancient Greek and Roman brides wore veils to protect against evil spirits. This tradition lives on today.
- Tradition in Denmark saw brides and grooms cross-dressing to confuse evil spirits.
- Greek brides tucked a lump of sugar into their wedding gowns, believing this would bring sweetness to the marriage.
- The traditional wedding cake began in ancient Rome as guests would break a loaf of bread over the bride’s head for fertility.
- Queen Victoria’s wedding cake weighed 300 pounds.
- The Ancient Roman goddess Juno represents marriage and childbirth. This gave rise to the massive popularity of June weddings, which still holds true today. The next most popular month is August.
- Stag parties were first celebrated by ancient Spartan soldiers. They said a final goodbye to their bachelor days with a raucous party.
- In the latter part of the 15th Century, diamonds set in gold or silver became a favorite betrothal ring of wealthy ancient Venetians.
- In Victorian England, snake rings with ruby eyes became popular as wedding rings. The coils, ending in a circle, represented eternity.
- Green is a taboo color in Scottish weddings because it’s the color of fairies and is a symbol of revenge. It’s even considered unlucky to eat green vegetables during the wedding.
- In several countries, including Germany and Greece, the bride would attempt to cover her husband’s foot while dancing as a way to establish dominance in the relationship.
- Moroccan brides took milk baths to purify themselves before the ceremony.
- Egyptian women believe it’s good luck to pinch the bride on her wedding day.
- Also in Egypt, the family of the bride took care of all cooking duties for one week to allow the couple to relax.
- It’s a South African tradition for the parents of the bride and groom to carry fire from their hearths and light a new fire in the hearth of the newlyweds.
- In some African countries, it’s tradition to wish the bride, “May you bear 12 children with him.
- In the Middle East, henna is painted on the hands and feet of the bride. This is a Muslim wedding ritual and is believed to protect against the evil eye.
- White is the traditional color of brides and her ensemble in Japan. This tradition was already being observed long before Queen Victoria made it a custom in the Western world.
- Korean weddings are much more colorful. Red and yellow is typically worn by the bride during the wedding ceremony.
Assorted Other Traditions and Trivia
- Why does the groom carry the bride across the threshold? To protect her against spirits from below.
- Why are engagement rings worn on the left ring finger? It was believed that a vein ran from that finger directly to the heart.
- Nearly 70% of all brides now wear a diamond ring on the fourth finger of the left hand.
- Why are pearl engagement rings bad luck? Their shape resembles a tear.
- One of the earliest engagement rings was presented to Princess Mary, the daughter of King Henry VIII, when she was only two years old.
- In the US, seventeen tons of gold are turned to wedding rings every year.
- An aquamarine engagement ring symbolizes harmony within the marriage and is traditionally believed to ensure a long marriage.
- On her wedding day, actress Grace Kelly wore a dress made from 125-year old lace.
- The most expensive wedding ever was between Sheik Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s son and Princess Salama in Dubai in 1981. It cost over $44 million.
- Last but not least: Why is it called “tying the knot?” Because in many cultures, the hands of the bride and groom were are together as a symbol of their commitment to each other.
Isn’t this great stuff? And whether you believe in the power of tradition or not, it’s always nice to know why weddings are such a big deal, and not just to you, but to everyone around you.
Now you also know that, as you celebrate your new married life, you’re sharing in the traditions of both your ancestors and your fellow brides in other countries, making your beautiful wedding day truly a global experience!
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