Many classic wedding traditions have, through the years, changed dramatically from their original meaning or purpose. Bouquets used to be garlic, tin cans on cars were pots and pans and veils kept the bride safe from the devil!
At Sandon Hall we love seeing what traditions the couples choose for their special day. It’s also interesting to wonder where they came from.
Once upon a time, the bridesmaids’ dresses would have been identical to the bride’s. But if they all looked similar, couldn’t you risk a terrible incident of mistaken identity with the groom kissing very much the wrong bride?
Unlikely. However, this mistaken identity masquerade was actually the purpose of the outfits. Bridesmaids were put in similar dresses to the bride to act as decoys meant to fool any meddling spirits that were keen on making mischief.
Over the years however, superstition waned and the bridesmaid’s veils got shorter as the bride’s grew longer. Eventually the common placed brightly coloured bridesmaids dresses came to life with the invention of new dyes, to some bridesmaid’s dismay!
The same troublesome spirits that caused the bridesmaids to dress in the same outfits as the bride were also the reason for the veil. The Romans used fiery looking veils to give the ghouls a real fright.
The veil also symbolised humility but eventually became an emblem of status in the Victorian era. The Victorians thought that the bigger the veil, the higher the status. This still applies to some extent today. The long, dramatic veil makes an impact and can look aristocratic. A shorter veil looks demure, symbolising the “blushing bride”.
The clamouring of tins attached to a car’s bumper, bouncing along the road as the newlyweds drive away, swoons with classic movie romance. It, began as a French tradition of standing under a groom’s window, making a ruckus.
It was called a charivari. When an out of town groom had taken a wife from a village, thus taking them away from the local boys, the villagers would shout outside his window at midnight until he gave them some compensation – a meal.
This tradition was brought over to America in the 1600s and became the norm in some places regardless of whether or not the groom was from out of town. Eventually though, it seems that brides and grooms lost patience with having their wedding night interrupted and the pots and pans became tins and cans on car bumpers as an announcement to everyone around of a happy union.
Have you even wondered how the tradition of carrying a bouquet started? Well, this is how. At a time when diseases like the black plague were around, people would carry garlic and rosemary bunches hoping the pungent smells would protect them from illness.
This in turn became a symbol of good luck and thus, because of the well wishing that comes with celebrating the union between two people, it found its way into weddings.
Over time people started adding other fragrant smells and appealing looking flowers to the bouquet.the garlic, dill or rosemary fading out of fashion. Different herbs have varying symbolic meanings and thus the idea of a lucky bouquet gained a firm foothold in weddings.