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Wedding Traditions & Customs

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We all love a little tradition at a Wedding but have you ever stopped to think about how they came to be?  Here are a few of the most popular.......

.....Now you know!


Not seeing each other before the wedding.

This tradition goes back a few hundred years and originates from when marriages were arranged.  In those days Brides didn’t really have a lot of choice in the matter and it was rare for both parties to see each other before arriving at the altar.  Keeping them apart like this made it less likely for the groom to run away once he set eyes on his future wife in case she didn’t quite meet with his expectations!  These days it helps create an air of mystery and excitement and still remains one of the firmest traditions that couples still stick to.

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Why does the Bride stand on the left of the Groom?

This tradition goes back to times when the groom would ‘catch’ his bride by kidnapping her. Should the groom have to fight off other men who also wanted her as their bride, he would hold her with his left hand, leaving his right hand free to use his sword.

Wearing a Veil

Many wedding cultures include Brides wearing veils.  In England historically it symbolised innocence, as well as a means to cover her beauty until after the ceremony.  As well as protecting the bride from evil spirits, it also kept her face a secret from an unsuspecting groom.  Her veil would not be removed until the ceremony had finished, making it too late for the groom to back out if the bride was not exactly what he had hoped for!

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The Best Man

Having someone with you to steady your nerves and make sure that you’re in the right place at the right time is always a good idea. Traditionally a couple would be surrounded by men and women of a similar age and wearing similar clothes to protect them from the unwanted attentions of evil spirits. Back in the days of marriage unions being more of a business transaction, the groom would be attended to by his Best Man and Swordsmen, in case of any fallings out in the deal.

Flowers Bouquets and Buttonholes

Originally made of herbs and garlic, the bouquet warded off evil spirits and the plague, and also hid the Brides B.O before the invention of regular baths! Buttonholes are the modern equivalent of Knights ‘wearing their Ladys colours’ to show their devotion and love.


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In medieval times, ladies would try and grab the bride and rip off pieces of her dress in the hope of gaining some of her good luck.  The bride would toss the bouquet into the crowd so that she could run away.  These days it has developed into a sign of good luck and a hopeful marriage if a single lady manages to catch it.

The Wedding Cake

Cutting the cake was meant to symbolize the first joint task in married life. There are records of wedding cakes going back to Roman times, although they were more like unsweetened loaves of bread. Over the centuries these developed into stacked towers of small cakes. It was said that if a couple could kiss over the top of the cake they would have prosperity in their future life. The tradition of a couple cutting the cake together and then feeding one another from the first slice symbolises their commitment to one another

This is the cake from my own wedding.  Made by a friend, full of chocolate orange cupcakes, my husband's favourite!

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Originally rooted in superstition, the bridesmaids would dress similar to the bride to distract and confuse evil spirits trying to spoil the brides happiness.

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Carrying a bride over the threshold goes back to medieval times. It was thought that a bride was vulnerable to evil spirits through her feet. To stop evil spirits entering the house which may be lingering at the threshold, the groom would carry her into their new home. These days, it’s just fun!

Something Old……Something New…..


‘’Something Old’’ signifies the bride’s link to her family and the past. The bride might, for example wear a piece of family jewellery or her mother’s/ grandmother’s wedding dress.

 ‘’Something New” reflects hope for good fortune and success in the future. The bride often chooses the wedding gown as the ‘new’ item.

 ‘’Something Borrowed’’ is often an item already worn by a happy bride at her wedding, such as a handkerchief or item of jewellery.

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‘’Something Blue’’ dates back to biblical times when the colour blue was considered to represent purity and fidelity. Over time this has evolved from wearing blue clothing to wearing a blue band around the bottom of the bride’s dress and more modern times where the bride wears a blue coloured garter.

‘’And a Silver Sixpence in your shoe’’ - the placing of a silver sixpence in the bride’s left shoe is a symbol of wealth. Not simply to bring the bride financial wealth but also a wealth of happiness and joy throughout her marriage.

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