To see the Groom before the ceremony has long been said to be taboo or bad luck. You should keep the top tier of your wedding cake to eat on your one year anniversary??? Who came up with that? (Yuck) Something borrowed...something blue?? You have all probably heard these before but where did these traditions come from?? I myself never questioned many of the time-honored wedding traditions until I became a photographer. Curiosity got the best of me, so I did a little research and found this great article on the Bridal Guide by Kelsie Allen. The text below has been copied and pasted from that article. The pictures are from the Ryan Wedding by The Southern Bride.
Superstition #1: It’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony.
Origin: During the time when arranged marriages were custom, the betrothed couple wasn’t allowed to see each other before the wedding at all. The wedding symbolized a business deal between two families (romantic, huh?), and a father would have been pleased for his daughter to marry a man from a rich, land-owning family. But he also feared that if the groom met the bride before the wedding and thought she wasn’t attractive, he’d call off the wedding, casting shame onto the bride and her family. Therefore, it became tradition that the bride and groom were only allowed to meet at the wedding ceremony so that the groom did not have the opportunity to change his mind. And that veil the bride wears? Its original purpose was also to keep the groom from finding out what the bride looked like until the last possible minute, when it was too late to back out of the transaction.
Today: Although arranged marriages are no longer common, most brides still don’t want their groom to see them all done up before the wedding. Many believe it makes the day more exciting and memorable. However, some couples feel they’ll be more relaxed if they see each other for just a few minutes before the ceremony. The added bonus is that you can take your formal pictures pre-ceremony when everyone is freshly done-up. It’s completely up to you and your groom. Talk about it before the big day arrives and find out what makes the most sense for you.
Superstition #2: The bride must wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue (and a silver sixpence in her shoe).
Origin: This Victorian rhyme is a time-honored tradition that is supposed to bring the bride good luck. Wearing “something old” expresses the newlywed couple’s desire to retain connections with their family once they enter into married life. One tradition suggests that the bride’s “something old” be an old garter given to the bride by a happily married woman so that the new bride would also enjoy a happy marriage. Wearing “something new” conveys that the couple is creating a new union that will endure forever and looking to the future for health, happiness and success. “Something borrowed” is an opportunity for the bride’s friends or family to lend her something special as a token of their love. And finally, “something blue” is a symbol of fidelity and constancy. This custom began in ancient Israel, where brides wore a blue ribbon in their hair to symbolize this promise to their new husbands. What you may not realize is that the rhyme actually ends with “…and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” Story says that placing a penny in the bride’s shoe will bring her a life filled with good fortune.
Today: Many modern brides find it fun to keep with tradition by wearing something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Think of creative ways to incorporate all four items into your wedding-day ensemble. For example, Kate Middleton’s “something old” wasn’t a handkerchief or locket but rather her Alexander McQueen bridal gown, which featured “traditional Carrickmacross craftsmanship,” a lace technique dating back to the 1800s.
Superstition #3: The person who catches the bride’s bouquet or garter when she tosses it over her head will be the next to get married.
Origin: The story behind this tradition is downright dirty. In medieval times, it was considered lucky to get a fragment of the bride’s clothing, so hordes of guests would follow the newlywed couple into their wedding chamber after the ceremony and stand around the bed, trying to rip pieces of the bride’s gown right off her body. Because dresses were often torn apart, brides searched for alternatives to preserve their gowns and began throwing their bouquets to distract guests while they made their getaway. When the bride and groom made it safely into their wedding chamber, the groom would then crack open the door and toss the bride’s garter to the throngs of people waiting outside as a way of saying that he was about to “seal the deal.”
Today: At many modern weddings, the groom removes and tosses the bride’s garter to the groomsmen right after the bride tosses her bouquet to the bridesmaids. Traditionally, the unmarried man who catches the garter must place it on the leg of the unmarried woman who catches the bouquet, and it is said that they will be the next two to marry (not necessarily to each other). It’s a fun ritual, but many couples have chosen not to include it because guests could be injured easily, and it might embarrass the single women who are “dragged” to the floor to participate. If you have doubts about including this tradition in your wedding, consider an anniversary dance instead, which honors the longest-married couple by presenting them with the bouquet. How it works: Ask your married couples to join you on the dance floor as a slow song plays. Throughout the song, your DJ or bandleader will ask guests to sit down as their length of marriage is called out.
Superstition #4: The bride and groom must save the top layer of their wedding cake to eat on their first anniversary.
Origin: To understand this tradition, you just have to think back to a familiar schoolyard rhyme: “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage!” It used to be thought that once a wedding took place, a baby was going to come shortly after, so therefore the wedding and christening ceremonies were often linked, as were the respective cakes that were baked for each occasion. With fancy, elaborate, multi-tiered wedding cakes becoming a major trend in the 19th century, the christening cake began to take a back seat to the wedding cake. Since the top tier of the wedding cake was almost always left over, couples began to see the christening as the perfect opportunity to finish the cake. Couples could then logically rationalize the need for three tiers — the bottom for the reception, the middle for distributing, and the top for the christening.