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Hen Ideas

Ten weird wedding traditions – and the reasons behind them

Red7 , May 29, 2014

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Wedding traditions… There’s a certain romantic appeal about our common wedding traditions. Customs like tossing the bouquet, cutting the cake or carrying the bride across the threshold are seen as romantic and symbolic of a future. However, the true origins of our favourite wedding traditions are far more strange –  and sometimes downright sinister.

‘Something old, something new,

Something borrowed, something blue.’

Bride Hen Garter

This wedding mantra, believed to give good luck to the bride, originates in Victorian times. The ‘something old’ is meant to keep old friends together and was originally an old garter given to the bride by a happily married friend. ‘Something new’ symbolises a long, prosperous future. ‘Something borrowed’ is supposed to be an item borrowed from a family member to give good luck and wearing  ‘something blue’ is a tradition which dates back to when Israeli brides wore a blue ribbon in their hair to show they were fertile.

Wedding toast

It is thought that the tradition of the wedding toast originated in France, when the bride and groom would race to drink to a piece of toast in the bottom of their glasses to see who would rule their household.

Tying the knot

In Roman times the bride would wear a girdle tied in knots. Her new husband would have to untie these before they consummated the marriage.


Bridesmaids were originally meant to guard the bride from evil spirits. Wearing similar clothes Confuse them from casting spells on the bride.

Cutting the wedding cake

Wedding Planning Guide

The tradition of cutting the wedding cake started as a way to stop the newlyweds being cursed with a childless marriage.

It’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding

This is the same reason why traditionally brides wear a veil. It dates back to the time when arranged marriages were the norm. It wasn’t considered bad luck at all It was to ensure that the groom couldn’t do a  runner if he didn’t like the luck of his new bride.

Throwing the bouquet

Most people assume that the tossing of the bouquet is a rather fun tradition . The single woman who catches the bouquet is brought good luck and will be the next to marry. However, the true origin of this particular wedding tradition is slightly more sinister. In medieval times guests would try to get a fragment of the bride’s clothing to bring them good luck and so would crowd around the marital bed and attempt to rip off her clothing. Brides began to toss the bouquet as a distraction so they could make a quick getaway and preserve their gowns, and their dignity.

Carrying the bride across the threshold

Another less than romantic tradition, the custom of a groom carrying his bride across he threshold of their new home in fact has several origins. Firstly, in medieval times a bride was not allowed to look enthusiastic about losing her virginity and so her new husband had to carry her to bed. It was also considered a bad omen in other parts of Europe for a bride to trip over the threshold of her new home. Finally, in ancient times the groom carried the bride over the threshold to protect her from evil spirits lurking around her feet. Young brides were considered a particular evil spirit delicacy.

The wedding ring finger

The traditional wedding ring finger was once believed to be where the ‘vein of love’ to the heart was contained.

Stag parties

Stag parties were originally a feast thrown in the groom’s honour amongst Roman soldiers to say goodbye to their days of bachelorhood and renew their vows of friendship and allegiance. Nothing different there, then.

Celebrity Hen Party

‘Hen party’ used to refer to an all-female tea party in the US in the 19th century. After the sexual revolution in the 1960s, hen parties came to refer to the female equivalent of a stag party – after all, it’s only fair.


Planning a hen do or stag weekend, call the experts at Red7 – 01273 872200

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