5 fascinating wedding traditions origins

September 17, 2014

Wedding traditions such as throwing the bouquet, wearing a lovely white dress or being given away by your father have fascinating origins from a time past.

Wearing white on your wedding day

Queen Victoria famously wore white in her wedding to Prince Albert in 1840. The ornate lace dress was made especially for the occasion, and was a stunning display of Victorian fashion. Many brides followed suit, mimicking the style and pearly white colour for their own dresses.

Before the wedding, brides often wore thick fabrics in a range of colours. Particularly for royal weddings, the gown was a chance to simply show off the families wealth and culture, so the dresses were made out of rich, heavy material with gems sewn through.

The father of the bride giving away his daughter

Back in the day, when the father walked his daughter down the aisle and gave her away to the groom, he was literally doing just that. Women were seen as chattel and marriages were arranged. 

What a relief that in the 1880s married women's property acts changed this, and today the tradition is a show of affection between a bride and her dad or father figure.

Wedding flowers and bouquets

In ancient times, the bouquet was made of herbs such as rosemary and sometimes included garlic, as it was thought that this would ward off evil spirits. Greeks are thought to be the first who used wedding flowers – they wore flowers and plants in a garland wreath worn on the head. This has evolved so today brides carry flowers.

Colourful and fresh flora represents fertility and everlasting love, and in some cultures specific flowers are particularly important for different cultures. In Hawaii the couple to be married wear leis, while brides and grooms in India can be seen in floral headdresses.