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Daniel Caesar
Daniel Caesar
May 20, 2024

What is a ‘Traditional’ Wedding?


Marriages have been around for over 23,000 years, first starting as a way to ensure offspring in future generations. One of the most popular traditions that brides still participate in is the veil. This first started when arranged marriages were more popular, so the bride and groom would be strangers to each other before their wedding day. The grooms were not allowed to see their wives in case they decided they thought she was too ugly and the wedding would be called off. The veil was to hide the bride’s face right up to the moment they got married. Nowadays, the wife’s face is rarely covered for the wedding, but more for the aesthetic or tradition’s sake. 

Another thing that many weddings participate in is the wedding cake. In ancient Roman times, cakes were seen as representing fertility. After the wedding, the wedding guests would break a small grain cake over the bride’s head so that she would have good luck conceiving and luck throughout her wedding. Another tradition that is rarely practiced now, but was popular a few decades back, was the bride and groom would try to kiss each other over their cake. If they could, their marriage would be filled with happiness and fun. Now, one thing that is often practiced during weddings, is the bride and groom will feed each other the first slice of cake. This doesn’t have much significance, other than a simple display of affection. 

Everyone knows about the wedding ring. One proposes with an engagement ring, then they promise their whole being to each other at the wedding with a more simple ring, but have you ever wondered where this custom came from? Evidence points to the Ancient Egyptian times, where rings were important to the marriage ceremony. A ring symbolizes the ideal marriage, with no beginning or end. These rings were often made simply of grasses or something of the like. These rings were worn on the left ring finger where they believed the “love vein” was, which was said to connect directly to the heart. This would tie the couple together for life, as they said. The ring bearer also came from Egypt, because they used to carry jewels on ornamental pillows, although the adults used to walk the pillows, not young children. 

The saying, “Something borrowed, something blue, something old, something new,” is still widely used today. It was thought that something borrowed would bring good luck to the marriage, even more so if it was borrowed by an older happy bride. And as for the something blue part of the rhyme, blue represents love, purity, faithfulness, and modesty. Roman brides started this trend and it stuck. In many cultures, blue also protects one from the evil eye, which would be important for the bride to be protected from. There is no special symbolism to the old and new objects, but it was seen as beneficial for a happy marriage. 

There are so many different cultures that have different versions of these wedding traditions, but there are also many other totally different traditions that I have not researched in this article. Nevertheless, we now know why these traditions have been set in place throughout history, especially in America.

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About the Contributor
Mitchell Sherman is a sophomore who lives with her grandparents, dogs, and other pets. Her hobbies include but are not limited to, crocheting, sewing, herbology, gardening, and baking.

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