Wedding Wednesday #4 - Traditions

Wednesday, February 04, 2015


Andy and I didn't give a lot of thought to why we wanted our wedding to be a certain way, we just both seemed to agree on what we did (and didn't) want and carried on from there. Reading Janet's post on why her and her fella are getting fake married made me stop and think about wedding traditions and their origins. So I did me some Googling...

Our day will consist of a small family ceremony followed by a big party and we're not upholding many traditions. The important thing for us is to be married, to have made a lifelong commitment to each other. Traditions, many of which are thoroughly outdated, just weren't important to us.

I will not be 'given away'

This stems from a time when a daughter was considered the property of her father. To be given away was the transfer of ownership (usually for a price) from father to groom. The guests where there to witness the transaction.

I hadn't realised until I read Janet's post, but I've subconsciously avoided asking 'to be given away'. I asked my Dad to walk me down the aisle (not that there is an aisle as such, but y'know). If I can get a little sentimental for a moment, there is nothing in this world that could part me from my Dad, he couldn't give me away if he tried.

I'm not wearing a veil

The veil originally symbolized the bride's virginity, innocence, and modesty.
source

Yeah, I won't be needing one of those.

We're not cutting the cake

The wedding cake has always been replete with symbolism, and the tradition of breaking the cake over the bride’s head dates back to the Ancient Romans. Customs evolve with the times, and today the ceremonial cutting of the wedding cake has become one of the classic elements of the wedding reception. In addition to providing a great photo opportunity, it is symbolic as the first task the newlyweds execute together.
source

We're not in the least bit worried about missing this 'great photo opportunity', especially as it is now common for the bride and groom to smoosh the cake into each others face instead of feeding one and other. Nope, our cake will be cut and served without any interference from Andy and I, it'll be served with tea or coffee and remain all very civilised. Think me dull if you must but I don't want cake face, I just want cake.

We're not having a first dance

The first dance was originally (perhaps dating as far back as the 17th century) a tradition at balls that were held by wealthy families. It was custom for the guests of honor or the hosts to have the first dance of the evening. Once the first dance had been completed, everyone was invited to shake their corsets and powdered wigs on the dance floor. As it is with so many wedding traditions, this social norm of old was eventually translated to weddings.
source

I'll be the first to admit that I have enjoyed a large number of those first dance wedding videos on YouTube. Some are awesome. Some are awful. If you're confident and can dance - knock yourselves out - but Andy and I? Nope. We will have a drunken boogie at some point no doubt, but turning awkwardly in tiny circles with a crowd of people looking at us is not our idea of fun.

The venue we've booked for our reception has the option of a bubble machine for the first dance. I nearly cried laughing.

I'm not throwing the bouquet

In 14th Century England it was considered good luck to tear a piece from the brides dress or grab yourself a bloom from her bouquet, the having of which was believed to transfer some of her good luck to you. Throwing the bouquet became a bit of a decoy so the bride could leg it and save her dress.

I knew I wouldn't be doing this. I've always loathed this part of the evening. Having been single at many of the weddings I've attended I always thought this to be rather undignified, I'd hide myself from view until it was over. I simply had no interest in scrabbling around with other single ladies to win the bouquet and thus the chance of being the next down the aisle. There is more to being a woman than being a wife, and not all single women are desperate to find a husband and get married.

No Garter

The garter from the bride comes from the ancient custom of witnesses at the marriage bed* (to make sure the couple consummated the marriage); the witnesses would bring it forth as a sign of the witnessing. It became such a violation of privacy** that eventually the bride would have the groom throw it to prove consummation. This is one of the oldest customs surviving wedding rituals.
source

*WTF!
**No kidding.
I'd never even thought about whether or not I'd wear a garter. The only thing I've though about putting under my wedding dress is a pedometer. I'd be rather interested to see how far I walk on the day... is that odd?

Of course, I've enjoyed watching my friends cut their wedding cakes, I've smiled at the sight of my friends in their veils and enjoyed watching the first dance at many weddings but they're just not for us. If all this talk of what we're not doing makes us sound rather dull I don't care, we have a full day planned that is very 'us'. And I can't wait.

What traditions would/wouldn't you or did/didn't you have? I'd love to know.

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17 comments

  1. The garter thing has always grossed me out and now that I know what it symbolises I feel even more repelled by it! And don't get me started on a bouquet toss...

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    1. It's a real Marmite tradition. Some women love it!

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  2. I'm not throwing the bouquet either. Blegh. I hate it.

    Lizzie Dripping

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    1. Hehe I like that you feel the same as I do!

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  3. Ugh, I had NO IDEA about the garter thing - it just seemed like one of those weird 80s fashions that I figured must have died out by now. Shows how many weddings *I've* been involved in...!

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    1. It's awful isn't it? I have to say 80's bridal fashion was the WORST!!

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  4. Nope we didn't do most of these things either, the only ones we did were to cut our cake and I did kind of have a small veil but it was worn as a hair accessory at the back, there was no way I was wearing it the traditional way! We also didn't have a seating plan, a sit down meal, an order of service, favours, a honeymoon immediately and there were plenty of other things we left out. My favourite bit we missed out was the first dance - (bit of a story) both of us met through the Somerset carnival season and danced on carnival floats (and therefore knew lots of dance routines) so what we did was get our DJ to play the music used on our previous year's carnival float which meant that about 30 people got up straightaway to do the routine! It was magical :-) xx

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    1. Oh I love this! That must've been so nice! I'd totally do a first dance if that would happen.

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  5. We hated cutting the cake- we did it for my Mum because of the cake she made us but we felt really silly doing it! URGH, the garter is GROSSS!!! I hate garters and was no way going to wear one and then my Mum went and made me one. So of course, I had to wear it. the funny thing was, it ended up round my ankle as anklet. My friend asked to see it and there it was!!
    I also didn't want a veil but my sister persuaded me to wear her's (I didn't put it over my face). Wish I hadn't worn it.
    Didn't do a bouquet throwing but loved our first dance.We're such idiots though as we did our swing dance and then had a ceilidh! But we wanted an excuse to get better at swing dance so glad we did it!x

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    1. something you enjoy and do it was the perfect first dance but Andy and I just don't dance, we don't even really have a 'song'.
      I'm lucky that, so far, no one has tried to persuade me to do anything, it must be so hard to say 'no' and if you can't you end up doing something you'd rather not. It was very sweet of you to cut the cake and wear the veil, I'm sure it meant so much to your Mum and sister x

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  7. I'm not being 'given away' either. I've asked my Dad, when he drops me off at the alter, to say "she gives herself freely with our blessing." And no to a veil - I'm 34 - I'm not pretending I haven't lived and I'm pretending to be something I am so clearly not!

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    1. I just don't like the term and what it represents. I love what your Dad is saying though.
      Likewise with the veil - I'm 39 it didn't feel age appropriate.

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  8. The history behind some of these traditions is awful! Even the stuff that isn't inherently patriarchal and anti-feminist - stuff like the first dance - we don't want to do, because it just doesn't feel very 'us'. Like you, I can't imagine anything more embarrassing than shuffling around in an awkward circle while everyone stares at us!

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    1. It makes me cringe just thinking about it! I'm so glad that we've pretty much been on the same page about all of the things we wanted and didn't want and we've had little interference from family too - help yes, but no one had ssid we HAVE to do anything.

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  9. When you put it like this these traditions do seem a bit ridiculous. Admitedly we had a first dance at my wedding quite a few years back and it was pretty awkward. It was also quite funny when we sat to eat my mum refused to take her hat off because she had hat hair. Aparently no one else should take their hats off until she did so they all sat there with their hats on! If I was to do it all again I think I would probably do away with traditions.

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  10. I’ve had a couple of events at Chicago Wedding Venues. The only thing that would have made these guys better would have been better communication in the earlier planning stages, but it all worked out great in the end.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment x

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