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Wedding Traditions

October 25, 2018

Weddings are a time of celebration amongst family and friends. While today's weddings are festive, few involve the unique traditions of yesteryear. Throughout the course of human history, the joining of man and woman has been surrounded with much superstition. This has led to numerous traditions, many of which are incredibly odd but quite fun. Many classic wedding traditions from decades ago have faded away, and some have even been forgotten. Yet some still remain, alive and well.

The Bouquet

One wedding idiosyncrasy that many still enjoy to this day is the carrying and consequential throwing of the bouquet. Traditionalists require that the bride carry the bouquet down the aisle and later stand with her back to all of the single women in attendance at her wedding. She then tosses the bouquet behind her head. The lucky woman who catches it is destined to be the next in line for marriage. The bride's carrying of a bouquet stems all the way back to the days when the black plague existed. Back then, people would hold herbs over their mouths and noses to ward off sickness. Until recent times, bridal bouquets consisted of dill and garlic. Nowadays, they're full of wonderful-smelling flowers.

The Dress and the Accessories

Queen Victoria is credited with starting the Western world's white wedding dress trend in 1840 — before then, brides simply wore their best dress.  The bride traditionally wears a veil because ancient Greeks and Romans believed they protected her from evil spirits.  The tradition of a bride wearing "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue," comes from an Old English rhyme. Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity.

Jumping the Broom

Jumping the broom originated back in the era of slavery when slaves were barred from marriage. Yet lovers who worked on plantations still forged bonds with one another that were recognized by the community. One way that these lovers unofficially connected was to "jump the broom." This ritual is still used today in a very small number of weddings that typically involve African-American couples. A broom is placed in front of the married couple and they hop over it in unison as a sign of their newly formed bond.

Throwing of the Garter

One of the most enjoyable wedding traditions is the throwing of the garter. While it is old-fashioned, it still happens at some contemporary weddings. The tradition dates all the way back to medieval Europe, where it was referred to as “fingering the stocking.” Wedding guests would visit the wedding chamber to inspect the bride's stockings for evidence of the marriage's consummation. In medieval France, wedding guests would rush the altar to finagle a piece of the bride's dress as it was believed to bring good luck.

Jewish Wedding Traditions

While wedding ceremonies vary, common features of a Jewish wedding include a ketubah (marriage contract) which is signed by two witnesses, a wedding canopy (chuppah or huppah), a ring owned by the groom that is given to the bride under the canopy, and the breaking of a glass.  Technically, the Jewish wedding process has two distinct stages:kiddushin (sanctification or dedication, also called erusin, betrothal in Hebrew) and nissuin (marriage), when the couple start their life together.  The ceremony that accomplishes nissuin is known as chuppa.

The Ring

One wedding tradition that will probably never disappear is the presentation of a diamond engagement ring. When a man asks for a woman's hand in marriage, he presents her with a diamond engagement ring. Today those diamond engagement rings are often by a world class designer; such as Verragio, Simon G, Zeghani, Sylvie, Artcarved or Scott Kay.  The metal of choice today is white; either platinum or white gold.  Rose gold is preferred by brides who want to stand out from the crowd.  Rings serve as the tangible symbol of the bond between two lovers. Folklore shows that the ancient Egyptians and Romans made use of wedding rings. In the 12th century, the pope declared that weddings should not only be held in a church but that every bride should receive a ring.  Have you ever wondered why the ring finger is “the ring finger”?  Turns out it's your "ring finger" for a reason. 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.

Make sure that your next great family tradition begins at Family & Co. Jewelers. We've been serving the jewelry desires of Delaware Valley residents since 1937. Family & Co. Jewelers has everything that you desire to make your wedding traditions special.

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