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Front Page » August 4, 2005 » Bridal Focus » Keeping to a wedding that is filled with tradition
Published 3,306 days ago

Keeping to a wedding that is filled with tradition


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By CHARI JELSMA
Sun Advocate reporter

White, satin wedding dresses are the traditional choice for weddings. Sleeveless, floor length gowns with lace are the popular choice to a modern yet traditional wedding dress.

North American wedding traditions are among the most flexible and varied in all the world but most modern brides prefer a wedding that is rich in tradition.

Wedding dresses are one of the most traditional parts of a wedding ceremony and most brides prefer to keep to tradition when it comes to their wedding gown. Though the traditional wedding dress would be a Victorian gown with a high neck and long sleeves of lace, one of the most popular dress styles today is the princess type gown, a modest, floor length gown with a low neck and no sleeves. White satin and lace are the most popular fabric choices for the traditional wedding look.

A cathedral train of around 22 inches is the most popular in addition to gowns for traditional church weddings. Also, in Victorian times, brides customarily wore white gloves which were symbols of both modesty as well as a symbol of romance. Gloves are still worn today as a symbol of romance.

The traditional wear for the groom is a black suit or even a tuxedo for most weddings.

The carrying of flowers by the bride has its roots in ancient times as well when it was believed that strong smelling herbs and spices would ward off and drive away evil spirits, bad luck and ill health. During Roman times, this tradition evolved to the bride and groom wearing floral garlands signifying new life and hope for fertility.

Flowers can be quite expensive for a wedding when bouquets, boutonni�res, centerpieces, church arrangements and corsages are taken into consideration. There is no set traditional flower for the wedding ceremony, so some brides decide to go for specific colors or flowers while others just go for the popular, yet expensive, red roses and baby's breath. Brides usually choose flowers that are in season for the wedding which drops prices considerably.

Before heading down the aisle, the bride and groom usually take care to ensure superstitions not be ignored. Luck and superstitions have been a part of the traditional wedding for many centuries. The most widely known wedding superstition is it being bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. This superstition is practiced by nearly all brides preparing for their wedding.

The most common luck-bringing tradition in the country is the carrying of something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue while being married.

Something old traditionally refers to wearing something that provides a link with the bride and her family. Usually the bride wears an old piece of family jewelry for this tradition.

Wearing something new is thought to represent good fortune and success in the bride's new life. The bride's wedding dress is usually chosen to be the new item worn for the wedding but can be any item she desires.

Something borrowed refers to wearing something that has already been worn by a happy bride during her wedding and is meant to bring good luck to the marriage. Something borrowed can be an item of clothing, a handkerchief or an item of jewelry.

The tradition of wearing something blue dates back to many centuries ago when the color blue represented purity and fidelity. Over time this tradition has evolved from wearing an article of blue clothing to wearing a blue or blue-trimmed garter.

Many are aware of this old wedding day rhyme but are unaware of the ending "and a silver sixpence in her shoe." Placing a silver sixpence in the bride's left shoe represents financial wealth and a wealth of happiness and joy throughout a bride's married life.

Though there are many different superstitions among different ethnic groups, one especially interesting luck-bringing tradition is the spitting practices in traditional Greek weddings. The mostly dry and symbolic spit has been a sign of luck and good wishes by Greek people for centuries. In a traditional Greek wedding it is not unheard of for the bride to be spat upon from both sides all the way up the aisle.

A favorite of the modern wedding is the creation of one's own vows. This is not a regular occurrence to the traditional wedding ceremony but can add a personal tone to the ceremony. This is becoming more popular in the country, allowing couples to express their love and commitment for each other in their own words and expressing their own unique feelings.

The ring is another important part to the traditional wedding celebration. A bride's engagement ring and wedding ring are traditionally worn on the third finger of the left hand. On the day of the wedding, the bride is not supposed to wear gold until after her ring is slipped on. Wearing gold during or before the wedding is supposed to bring bad luck to the couple.

As the newlyweds prepare to leave the ceremony, tradition calls for rice, candy or confetti to be tossed at the couple as a symbol of fertility. Throwing rice, candy or confetti after the wedding as the bride and groom leave the church is a very popular tradition but a modern twist on the old tradition with the replacement of rice and confetti with bubbles has recently become popular. Bubbles can provide an environmentally safe alternative to the old tradition.

The first dance during the wedding reception is the most special moment for the bride and groom. This dance is shared between the newlyweds to a treasured song that they both love.

The second dance can be celebrated in several different ways but the most popular is between the bride dancing with her father, the groom with his mother and the bride's mother with the groom's father.

The wedding cake is a very traditional part of the wedding. The traditional cake is a white, tiered cake with white frosting. The topping of the cake with a plastic bride and groom representation is also important to the traditional wedding celebration. Color if used sparingly can add to the beauty of the cake but too much ruins the tradition.

Cutting the wedding cake together is an important part of the celebrations at the wedding reception. The couple makes the first cut together to symbolize their shared future. Usually this is followed by the bride and groom feeding each other with their pieces of the cake.

After the reception the bride throws her bouquet back over her shoulder where the unmarried female guests group together. Tradition holds that the one who catches the bouquet will be the next one present to be married.

A parallel custom is for the groom to remove the garter worn by the bride and throw it back over his shoulder toward the unmarried male guests. Again the one who catches it will be the next to marry.

Providing favors to enjoy and use to remember a special wedding is a nice treat for guests. This tradition has been around for several hundreds of years, one of the most popular being five sugar coated almonds. The five almonds are known to symbolize health, wealth, fertility, happiness and long life.

Modern impressions of wedding favors can include picture frames with the couple's picture inside or small and decorative flower arrangements or bouquets. Another popular favorite for the modern wedding are disposable cameras for the guests to take their own photos of the wedding. These items can be left on the dinner tables during the reception for guests to choose from.

Another modern tradition is rewarding the wedding party with small tokens to thank for their help during the wedding. Bridesmaids, groomsmen and other participants can be rewarded with small gifts such as silver picture frames or key rings.

Wedding gifts have been given to newlyweds for centuries to help the new couple establish their new home together. Gift registries are a twist on the traditional gift buying process but alleviate some of the pressures of gift giving and receiving.

Couples can easily register at several different locations for many different household items that they may need. Some traditional gifts for weddings have been sterling silver flatware and other widely used kitchen accessories.

After the wedding, tradition states that the bride must enter the couple's new home through the main entrance. It is traditional for the groom to carry his new bride over the threshold when they enter their home for the first time. The reason for this is uncertain. One superstitious explanation is that the bride will be visited by bad luck if she falls while entering her new home. An alternative explanation is that the bride will be unlucky if she steps into the new home with the left foot first. The bride can avoid both mishaps by being carried "over the threshold."


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