Have you ever wondered about where our American wedding traditions come from? Why do we throw rice at the bride and groom when they leave? Why throw the bouquet and garter at the reception? Wedding traditions have roots in our immigrant history, but some began within the last 100 years. Here are a few trivia facts you may not know about some of the most time honored traditions:
- It wasn’t until the late 1800’s that the common wedding began to shift from intimate affairs to larger parties, and it wasn’t until the 1920’s that hiring wedding planners became popular.
- Wedding dresses weren’t white until after Queen Victoria married in 1840. Before then women wore the best dress they had. White was considered an impractical color and wasn’t widely worn.
- Rice is thrown as a symbolism of showering the bride and groom in fertility, prosperity and good fortune. Before rice became the go-to grain, oats and corn were used.
- The tossing of the bouquet and garter stems from a tradition when the wedding guests would watch as the marriage was consummated (yikes) and would try to get a piece of the brides dress as a souvenir. It (thankfully) morphed into the bride throwing her bouquet of flowers as a distraction while the groom whisked her away. At this point the groom would throw the garter so the guests would leave them alone.
- The term “tying the knot” comes from the practice of tying the bride and groom’s hands together as a symbol of their commitment.
For a more in depth look at tradition and how weddings have become a multi-million dollar business in the U.S., check out It’s Our Day by Katherine Jellison. Find more interesting and fun facts about how our traditions here, here, or here.