Queen Victoria wore white on her wedding day in 1840, sparking the trend in the western world; before then, women just wore their best dress. Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart. Diamonds only became popular as a choice for an engagement ring after an advertising campaign in the 1900s. So many of the traditions linked to your outfit actually don’t have much meaning at all – so wear something that you love.
In ancient Rome, everyone in the bridal party, bride included, wore matching outfits, to confuse other suitors or evil spirits trying to get to the bride – essentially your bride tribe were your decoys. These days it is not uncommon for bridesmaids to wear alternating, or completely different attire. And when every woman, and man, is a different size and shape, it makes a lot of sense to mix things up.
Back when arranged marriages were the norm, the engaged couple wasn’t allowed to see each other before the wedding at all. The event symbolised a business deal between two families, and the father of the bride feared that if the groom met the bride before the wedding and didn’t think she was attractive, he would call off the nuptials. Now it’s more of a superstition, a bad omen. If you’re not one to believe in superstitions or outdated practices, you might want to meet up with your partner before the vows, enjoying the moment in solitude and getting a few happy snaps.
Being walked down the aisle and ‘given away’ to your groom by your father is a nod to the days where women were seen as property. Fast forward a few hundred or so years and this tradition is so much looser. Want to be given away by your dad? Great. Want to be given away by your mum? Also fine. Want to be given away by both? Why not! Or maybe it’s your grandparents, your brother, your bestie, or maybe you want to just walk down the aisle by yourself. Make your entrance whatever you want it to be.
This Victorian rhyme is a tradition supposed to bring the bride good luck. Something old alludes to retaining connection with family once entering married life. Something new represents the new union. Something borrowed is an opportunity for friends or family to lend something special as a token of love. Something blue represents fidelity and constancy. If you are going the extra mile, you can carry a sixpence in your shoe, to bring a life filled with good fortune. And, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that?
The tradition of the bride’s family paying for the big day stems back to concept of a dowry – a sum paid to the groom for becoming the provider for the bride. Now that women can provide for themselves, it’s more of a flexible gesture. Spend and accept money only when comfortable.