7 Wedding Traditions With Beginnings That May Surprise You (PHOTOS)

wedding dress hanging From the minute you get engaged to even several months into being a newlywed, you're exposed to wedding traditions galore. Some you may be familiar with (very, if you've been in/to a lot of weddings) and others that may have slipped your mind completely (because you were distracted by other important matters of business like designing an acceptable seating chart or negotiating with vendors).

Case in point: When my fiance (whoops!) husband and I were on our way back from the airport after getting hitched earlier this month, one of my brilliant colleagues said I had to make him carry me over the threshold when we got home. So funny. I hadn't even thought of that. And being the history geek that I am, I proceeded to Google it to find out where the seemingly sweet tradition came from. Let me  tell you -- I probably shouldn't have.

Here, that and six other wedding traditions' surprising origins that may make you see them in a whole new light ...

What wedding tradition were you most surprised to learn about? Did you skip a certain tradition because you weren't keen on its origin?


Image via Maressa Brown

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LadyM... LadyMinni

Not exactly....

The flowers are a pagan thing -just like pretty much everything involving weddings. Flowers represent nature and the Maiden. (And fertility.)

The crushing of the barley cake over the bride's head was a fertility ritual. It had nothing to do with letting her know her place.

You missed one of the veil traditions: in certain cultures the father of the bride could switch the daughter being married (to marry off one that was unattractive) and the groom wouldn't know until he said his vows!

Carrying the bride over the threshold is a Roman tradition. In addition to what you wrote, there is another part to it. The bride had to enter her new home by the front door, and stumbling as she entered (looooong train) would bring bad luck and possible infertility. Demons/spirits could also grab onto her feet as she walked over it, and enter the home. To avoid this the groom would pick her up and carry her.

SuzyB... SuzyBarno

Whatev! They're all fun traditions now:)

Teal Chastain Blacksten

A wedding tradition that I absolutely hate is the prospective groom asking his future father-in-law for his daughter's hand in marriage. I specifically requested that my now husband NOT ask my dad for my hand. Women are not property where the deed gets transferred from one man to another, and shouldn't be treated as such. Even if it is just a "tradition."

ms_da... ms_danielle_j

I'm not jumping the broom at my wedding...that tradition is for slaves and i'm not a slave...no one is allowing me to get married because it's 2013 and I don't need anyone's permission to get hitched!

nonmember avatar K

The garter toss is so tacky/trashy. The nicer weddings I've been to never did it and I won't. I can't believe people still do it.

nekoy... nekoyukidoll

When I get married, I'm doing a pagen ceremony which will include handfasting and the jumping of the broom plus others.  I'll do the traditional stuff too but I love the symbolism of the pagan this as well.

nonmember avatar Mechelle

I think the fiancé asking the father is a sign of respect not signing a deed over. The father protects and provides for his daughter and I see the fiancé asking permission as a way of asking to take over the responsibility of protecting and providing for her. I could never marry a man who didn't ask my father first.

LadyM... LadyMinni

Jumping the broom is actually a Romani tradition! It was confused with the -I believe- Ethiopian tradition of waving a broom over the couple to "clean" them of their mistakes before marriage and keep spirits away. When the Romani were enslaved by free Africans down in the Caribbean, it transferred and got mixed up.


I'm with you on that one Ms Danielle!We are allowed to marry and don't need to have a made up ceremony,we can marry legally now.

lalab... lalaboosh

I read some interesting stuff about traditions while planning my wedding. The breaking of the glass is done in many cultures, Italians break a vase and each piece is a year of wedded bliss. Bridesmaids are particularly interesting: Roman bridesmaids dressed as the bride (to confuse kidnappers) and protected her from assault and kidnapping en route to the ceremony, and in Victorian times bridesmaids dressed like the bride to confuse evil spirits intent on casting bad luck on the marriage (that's where 'always a bridesmaid' comes from). Before Queen Victoria made virginal white all the rage for brides blue was a favorite bridal color, it represents loyalty and is now the 'something blue.' :)

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