Bride | Groom | Bridesmaid | Groomsman Wedding Traditions Bride:  Why do we do what we do at Weddings?

It seems there’s 1000’s of wedding traditions and symbols for every culture, country and religion – for Bride, Groom, Bridesmaid and Groomsman to name a few.  To clarify, what binds these seemingly different customs from one another is one simple thing,called LOVE.  Moreover, let’s learn why Brides and Grooms adopt certain wedding symbols and traditions. For example:  Why do you have a Bridesmaid or Groomsman at your wedding? Wedding traditions are in contrast to the Wedding Trends

Why do we have a Bridesmaid to stand by our side?

Bridesmaids are of the Bride’s party in a wedding.  Traditionally, a Bridesmaid was selected as a young woman, often a close friend or sister to the Bride. They were chosen from unwed young women of marriageable age. The Bridesmaid takes care of the Bride on the day of her Wedding and provides solid support in the preparation of the wedding. The chief Bridesmaid is the Maid of Honour if she is unmarried, or the Matron of Honour if she already is married.  Historically, the Bride and Groom are accompanied by their bridal teams.  This is primarily because no person of status went into public unattended.  In addition, brides gift her bridal team. Get some awesome ideas here:  Bridesmaid Gifts

Wedding Traditions Bride | Groom | Bridesmaid | Groomsman - Why do we do what we do at Weddings?

Where did Wedding Engagement originate from?

Congratulations! A wedding engagement is a promise to wed as Husband and Wife.  The Romans believed that a circle or ring signifies the endless love and commitment between the Bride and Groom.  In the 1300’s the Groom will have usually given the Bride a nose ring.  The wedding ring is usually worn on the 4th finger of the left hand.  Above all, this is because the 4th finger was believed to be the beginning of the ‘vein of Love’, the vein that leads directly to the heart.

Wedding Traditions Bride | Groom | Bridesmaid | Groomsman - Why do we do what we do at Weddings?

Engagement Rings

Bride on Display with no bridesmaid support

In Jamaica, the people in the village line up to take a look at the Bride.  If the bride’s dress, style and appearance is not up to scratch – the villagers call out negative comments.  Overall, if the majority of the villagers are negative about the bride’s appearance, then the bride will go home and do a second attempt. And the bride does not one alone – no bridesmaid holding her hand on the side.

Wedding Traditions Bride | Groom | Bridesmaid | Groomsman - Why do we do what we do at Weddings?

Why should a bride and groom not see each other before the wedding ceremony?

You might have heard that it is bad luck to see your Fiance’ on your wedding day before the ceremony.  Traditionally, many marriages were arranged by the bride and groom families. Therefore the bride and groom were not allowed to see each other before the arranged wedding.  Often, the ‘first look’ helps to ease the Wedding Jitters of either bride or groom. Not even the bridesmaid or groomsman are present during first look. It is that special! Only bride and groom. 

Wedding Traditions Bride | Groom | Bridesmaid | Groomsman - Why do we do what we do at Weddings?

Bride and Groom First Look

Which heritage are you adding into your wedding?  The Scottish have fun!

The day before the wedding, Scottish bride and groom are kidnapped by their friends. This is arranged by the bridesmaid and groomsman. Their friends cover the bride / groom in molasses, flour, feathers… After that, the bride and groom are then paraded around the town.  Other than being a display of humiliation, this is to ward off unkind spirits. 

Wedding Traditions Bride | Groom | Bridesmaid | Groomsman - Why do we do what we do at Weddings?

Scottish Wedding Fun

Why does a groom smash glass?

The Breaking of the Glass symbolizes the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.  After the Marriage Officiant declares the bride and groom to be husband and wife, s/he invites the couple to seal their promises with a kiss. The groom then kisses the bride and immediately after that, the groom breaks the glass with his right foot. Some couples choose to break the glass together. Importantly, this symbolizes the absolute finality of the marital covenant between newly weds, husband and wife.

Wedding Traditions Bride | Groom | Bridesmaid | Groomsman - Why do we do what we do at Weddings?

Groom smashing glass at his ceremony

Why does a groom wash bride’s feet? And why are the bridesmaid witnessing the event?

During the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom wash each other’s feet. This is a symbol of devotion and humbleness between husband and wife. Above all, this symbol is derived from Jesus washing His disciples feet. The bridesmaid and groomsman will stand around the couple to witness the humble event.

Wedding Traditions Bride | Groom | Bridesmaid | Groomsman - Why do we do what we do at Weddings?

Groom washing bride’s feet with bridesmaid standing by to watch

Why does the bride circle the groom? Bridesmaid and Groomsman to witness!

During Jewish weddings – when the Bride walks to the altar escorted by her father, then the Bride circles the Groom SEVEN times. The number 7 is generally a number recognised as good fortune in the Juadism faith. It also symbolises the seven days of creation.  The bride also circles her groom to symbolise that he is the center of her world and she is encircling her groom with love and light.  The circling is also said to create a magical wall around the couple – consequently, to ward off any unkind spirits in the rest of their years together.  This is witnessed by the pastor, bridesmaid and groomsman, together with the wedding guests.
Wedding Traditions Bride | Groom | Bridesmaid | Groomsman - Why do we do what we do at Weddings?

Bride circling groom with bridesmaid and groomsman witnessing

What is Koumparos? Gather around Groomsman.

A Koumparos is the groomsman or bestman to a Greek groom.  The koumparos becomes the groom’s barber, so he pulls the razor out and shaves the groom’s face.  Subsequently, after the groom has been freshly shaved, his new mother-in-law will feed him almond nuts and honey. A rather sweet deal. 

Greek groom being shaved by groomsman

Choose your bridal party size wisely. How many bridesmaid and groomsman are you choosing and why?

The size of the Bridal Party is intended to be fitting to the family’s social status.  On average, the bride’s bridesmaid and groom’s groomsman range from 3-8 people.  However some community groups encourage up to 35 bridesmaid and 35 groomsman.  Likewise, this is 70 people in the bridal team. 

bride with many bridesmaid

Why does a bride wear a bridal wedding veil?

During the early teen hundreds, the bridal wedding veil was worn to ward off unkind spirits. Some historians say that Ancient Romans were the first to bring the veil into the wedding ceremony, believing the bride may bring with her evil spirits. On the other hand, in contemporary weddings, the bridal veil is worn as a beautiful addition to her outfit, rather than with a purpose. The extra length cathedral veils are supported, guided and held by the supporting bridesmaid. See here for some stunning Bridal Veil ideas 

Bride with cathedral veil and bridesmaid to help with veil

Why do we have a wedding bridal garter?

In the early 1400’s there was a belief that owning a piece of wedding dress would bring good fortune. Bridesmaids would get first rip! To sum up, wedding guests would rip off a piece of the Bride’s wedding gown.  The traditional ripping of the wedding dress has since been replaced by the Bride wearing the garter on her upper leg.  Click here to view beautiful garters: Bridal Garters

Wedding photo of a groom looking for his bride's wedding garter

And then there’s the Swedish tradition… Bridesmaid on the watch!

In Sweden, wedding guests kiss the bride or groom any time their new spouse leaves the wedding reception room. Moreover, this is a symbol that the bride or groom will return to the room – to their spouse.  Bridesmaid or Groomsman can actually ring a little bell every time the bride or groom leaves the room and then a guest will be reminded to kiss the bride or groom.

Bridesmaid or Groomsman can actually ring a little bell every time the bride or groom leaves the room and then a guest will be reminded to kiss the bride or groom.

No Smiling in any photos please!

During the whole ceremony and wedding reception, brides and grooms in Congo are not allowed to smile (at all!).  This is a sign that the couple are taking their marriage and rest of their lives together – seriously. 

Bride and groom no smiling photo

Bulls-eye! Does a groom really shoot his bride with an arrow?

In China, the groom shoots his bride with a bow and headless arrows a few times.  The groom then collects all the arrows and he breaks the arrows during their wedding ceremony. In the same vein, this is a symbol that their love will last forever.  Let’s hope the groom remembers to remove the arrow’s heads.

groom shooting bride with headless arrow

Where does ‘Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed’ originate from?

“Something Olde,Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe” is the traditional phrase for the four good-luck objects.  The Bride should carry these good-luck objects with her, or somewhere on her outfit. Firstly, something old characterizes continuity. Secondly, something new offers future optimism. Thirdly, something borrowed symbolizes happiness. Fourth, the blue signifies purity, love and fidelity. And fifth, the sixpence in your shoe is to bring prosperity.

something olde, something borrowed, something blue

Why is bridal jewellery worn?

Folklore believed that unkind spirits could enter the body through openings. Therefore, ornaments on the body were said to prevent that.  Hence earrings became the ornament. Bangles signify fertility and prosperity. A necklace symbolizes that the love is alive between Bride and Groom.  Similarly, in India a bride gathers together with those closest to her. They sit together for many hours painting the bride’s skin with henna.  Thereafter the bride is adorned with intricate jewellery. Click here for some beautiful Bridal Jewellery

 Bride wearing wedding jewellery

Why is white the popular wedding colour?

A white wedding is a tradition from Great Britain. It first became popular because Queen Victoria, during the Victorian era, wore a white lace dress to her wedding.  White also signifies purity of the Bride.
Medieval Bride in White

Why does the bride toss the flower bouquet to her bridesmaid?

Tossing the bouquet is a tradition introduced from England. The lady guests would try to rip a piece of the Bride’s wedding dress and bouquet of flowers to gain some of her good luck.  To escape from the crowd of guests pulling at the bride, the bride would throw her bouquet and run away.
bridesmaid catching flower bouquet

What is the purpose of the Bride’s Flower Bouquet?

Flower bouquets are a way for the Bride to express herself.  Roses represent everlasting love, lilac is for first love, Stephanotis are for good luck, ivy says fidelity and the list goes on.  A Bride’s flower bouquet speaks quietly through expressing herself. 

bride flower bouquet

Why do we give wedding gifts?

Wedding gifts are given to the bride and groom to contribute to kick-starting them off in their new home or married life together.  Guests, if you heed to the mystery of wedding traditions, avoid buying a knife!  According to tradition, a knife symbolises a broken relationship and is considered bad luck to give as a wedding gift. Enjoy receiving your wedding gifts as a newly wed couple.  Soon you’ll be enjoying your Wedding Anniversary gifts together. 

wedding gift registry

Why do we have a wedding cake? Other than tasting great!

Traditionally, the wedding cake is broken over the bride’s head to pursue fertility and bring prosperity to the couple. Moreover, some guests thought that eating the crumbs of the wedding cake would give them good luck because the wedding cake symbolizes happiness and a blessed and good life to the newlywed couple. In Greek tradition, the Greeks would bake round cakes to honour their goddess of the moon.  Some historians believe that round cakes actually started in Germany, where a candle was supposedly placed on the cake to represent “the light of life”. Nonetheless, wedding cake is a celebration of the bride and groom’s life together.

Groom catching wedding cake

Is June a good month to marry in?

The month of June derives its name from Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. It was thought that couples who married in the month of June would be blessed with prosperity and happiness.

June bride

No restroom break. What?

In Indonesia, a bride and groom must be confined to their home together for the first three days of their marriage.  The purpose of this practice is to prevent the newlyweds from using the bathroom.  This practice is to attempt to strengthen their bonds of marriage (and possibly their bladders!).

Indonesian wedding

Is rain on your wedding day bad luck?

Rain on a wedding day means good luck! In some cultures, rain on your wedding day is thought to bring good luck, symbolizing fertility and cleansing.

 bride and groom in the rain on their wedding day

Why does the Father of the Bride spit on the bride? Really!?

In Kenya, when the Maasai bride leaves with her new husband (nonetheless dressed up beautifully) – the Father of the Bride will spit on the bride.  This is a long-standing tradition in Kenya. The purpose of this tradition is to NOT tempt fate by being too supportive of the newlyweds. 

Kenya Wedding

Why do we throw wedding confetti?

Wedding confetti is a delight, which originated from Italy. Confetti offers the symbolic purpose for guests to throw prosperity and fertility onto the Bride and Groom. Immediate family and the bridal party of bridesmaid and groomsman should throw the first handfuls of confetti.

Wedding Confetti

What are wedding door games? Bridesmaid and groomsman come dance!

In China, the bridesmaids challenge the groom on the morning of the wedding.  The bridesmaid put the groom (and some groomsman) through a number of challenges and tests.  The groom has to prove to the bridesmaid that he is the worthy one for the bride.  Thereafter, the groom must pay the bridesmaid with an envelope full of money.  On the other hand, in Russia, the groom should go to the house of his bride’s family.  He either gives her family a whole lot of variety of gifts, or pays a ransom for her.  Then he would dance and sing for her family.  
groom and groomsman dancing

Why are wedding doves released?

In the Phillipines, the bride and groom must release a pair of white doves together. The doves symbolise the harmony in the newlywed’s marriage. One dove must be male, and the second dove a female. This symbolises the fertility in the newlywed’s marriage. 

white doves

Let’s do the money dance! Bridesmaid get the guests to line up!

In Cuba, any wedding guest which dances with the bride or groom – must pin a money note onto the bride’s wedding dress or the groom’s attire. The money then goes towards paying for the newlyweds honeymoon.

bride and groom pinned with money

Why are this bride and groom sawing a log of wood?

In Germany tradition, brides and grooms saw a log of wood together.  This is a symbol that the newly married couple are over-comers together and that they will overcome their first obstacle in their lives. Bridesmaid, Groomsman, family and guests must witness the saw cutting and applaud once it’s cut.

Bride and groom sawing

In concluding, there are thousands of wedding traditions and wedding symbols.  Each driving forward one belief or another.  The applicability of each is totally dependent nowadays on the bride and groom preferences.  Now that you’ve learnt why – check out  the things you wish you’d known before your wedding.