The United States is a melting pot, so American weddings have become a beautiful blend of many different cultures and traditions. Trends come and go (just think of all the mason jars and dessert stations that you’ve seen at weddings in recent years!). But, if you want your wedding to be more timeless than trendy, consider incorporating some of classic traditions that have been in hiding for years. We think it’s time to bring these sweet rituals back!
1. Tying The Knot
It turns out there is deep symbolism behind the phrase “tying the knot.” It refers to an old Irish and Scottish ritual called hand-fasting. The officiant ties the couple’s hands together with a brightly colored ribbon or cord. The rope symbolizes that the couple is bound together with an eternal bond. Hand-fasting is popular in European weddings—Prince William and Kate Middleton even incorporated it into their royal wedding ceremony.
2. Wedding Bells
The church bells tolling at the beginning and/or end of a wedding ceremony was once thought to ward off any evil or negative spirits. As many wedding ceremonies have moved out of the church and fewer churches seem to have bells, this tradition has fallen by the wayside. But, don’t give up on this one yet. The original Celtic tradition involved a smaller bell that was rung at the end of the ceremony. The bell was then brought to the couples’ new home and whenever tensions arose (as often they do with newlyweds) the bell was to be rung to restore the marriage commitment and break off the negativity of the argument.
3. Sixpence In Your Shoe
Most of us are familiar with the rhyme “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” But, not as many are aware of the last line, “and a sixpence in her shoe.” The sixpence was given by a father to the bride to symbolize all the blessings he had for her. By giving her the sixpence, he was symbolically wishing her great health, wealth and happiness that could be passed down with the coin from generation to generation. So sweet!
You may think this cake is all about the men, but that’s not how it originated. Single ladies were the focus behind this cake. After a wedding was over, each unmarried female guest would take home a piece of the second cake and place it beneath her pillow. The idea was that it would help her to dream of her future groom, thus the name “groom’s cake.” Traditionally, the groom’s cake was a dark fruitcake and would often be covered in chocolate. Hey, we support any tradition that means we get to take cake home with us!
6. Decorating The Car
The ritual of decorating the bride and groom’s “getaway car” with flowers on the hood and ribbons streaming from the side mirrors or antenna began in Germany. The newly married couple would lead a procession to their reception, and guests would honk their horns all the way there to get the party started!
7. Love Letters
In traditional Icelandic wedding ceremonies, the future bride and groom would write love letters to each other the night before the wedding. They would use the letters to express their feelings about the upcoming day, as well as their hopes and dreams for their future together, or to recount the story of how they fell in love. Oftentimes, parents of the bride and groom or the officiant of the ceremony would also write a letter to the couple. The letters would then be sealed in a box to be opened on the couple’s first anniversary. What a beautiful and meaningful tradition.