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Wedding Traditions and Modern Adaptations


Part of the beauty of weddings is the deep tradition that surrounds them and for a traditional bride, the wedding would not be complete without the bouquet, the veil and something blue. We have come a long way with our modern adaptations of these traditions, yet each is significant in creating the quintessential image of a wedding. Every bride has her own vision of her special day even if she follows traditional bridal customs.

*The Bouquet
A bridal bouquet was once an herbal arrangement held or draped around the bride to ward off evil spirits during her wedding ceremony. Additionally, a far from romantic purpose for the floral bouquet was to mask the stench of the young woman, as it was customary to bathe only once a year.

Luckily for the modern bride, bouquets are now decorative symbols of beauty not a deterrent from evil or odors. A bride's style is displayed through her choice of flowers, ribbon and the bouquet's accessories. Even the growing trend of flower-less bouquets, which are beautiful arrangements created from broaches and jewels uphold tradition but with a contemporary spin.

*The Veil
Traditionally, the veil symbolized a woman's purity and virginity. Varying traditions pertaining to the veil include the bride's father lifting the veil as he gave his daughter away, while another provided for the veil remaining in place throughout the ceremony for the groom to unveil his virgin bride upon becoming his wife.

Though not confirmed, some believe that the tradition of a sheer veil is attributed to the story of Jacob and Rachel from the Book of Genesis in The Bible. In this story, Jacob is tricked into marrying Rachel’s sister, Leah, as he could not see her face during the marriage celebration. From this tale, it is thought that a bride’s veil is sheer so as not to fool the groom on his wedding night.

Even the Greeks and Romans utilized brightly colored veils to shield their brides from evil spirits determined to take away a bride's purity or cast harm upon the marriage.

Today, the veil itself is a symbol of being a bride rather than portraying a woman’s purity or safeguarding her on the day of her wedding. Regardless of the length or shape, the veil is the finishing touch to the bridal ensemble, exemplifying the essence of being a bride.

*Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue
The tradition of gathering items for a bride to carry on her wedding day derives from an Old English rhyme, insisting a bride should wear and carry, "something olde, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence in the shoe."

Something old, typically a gift from a family member represented continuity and a link to the bride's family. Something new symbolized the future and optimism for the new life ahead. Something borrowed was a gift from a happily married woman passing happiness onto the bride and her marriage. Something blue represented purity and a sixpence (an English form of currency) encouraged prosperity and wealth within the marriage.

The contemporary bride often follows tradition by gathering old, new, borrowed and blue, but typically leaves out placing a coin in her shoe.

A bride’s something old can be incorporated by sewing a piece of her grandmother’s dress into her own gown or using a ring pillow passed down through the family. Something new can be a new perfume specifically for the wedding or bridal lingerie to wear that day. Something borrowed is often the veil or headpiece, while something blue can be a part of the garter, shoes or even beautiful deep blue sapphire jewelry.

A bride is surrounded by symbolism prompted by tradition and folklore on her wedding day. Do remember that tradition plays a significant role in your wedding but find ways to incorporate your style and individuality into these pieces to create a wedding and a bridal look that is as unique to who you are.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Christina Marie McBride. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Christina Marie McBride. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Christina Marie McBride for details.

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