Wedding Traditions: The Old, the Sentimental, and the Strange

Wedding Traditions: The Old, the Sentimental, and the Strange

Collecting something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue is a long-standing tradition that many brides do not seem to question. When planning my wedding I remember adding the collection of these things to my never-ending list of tasks to accomplish, and putting quite a bit of thought into what I wanted each piece to be. It was around the time that I was frantically searching for the perfect “something old” that I wondered: where did this tradition start, and better yet, why? I decided to dig a little deeper and trace back the lineage of some common wedding day traditions to see where they come from and why they started. Before we start, however, be warned! Many of these origins are downright weird  and will leave you wondering how they transformed into the versions we see celebrated today.

Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

Often times, this tradition is used as a guidelines for brides when choosing what items to accessorize with on their wedding day. It can add some fun (complete stress and chaos) into the planning process to gather these items, and it sometimes gives the chance to take a trip down memory lane when collecting the old and borrowed items . Let’s take a look at each item, along with the significance of including it in your wedding day ensemble:

Something Old: This item hails from past family bonds.  Carrying “something old” celebrates old relationships remaining strong as new family bonds are formed through the joining of the newlyweds’ families.

Something New: Anything goes for this item! A bride could certainly designate her new wedding dress, shoes, jewelry, or really anything that she purchased for the wedding to be her “something new”. This item signifies the new future awaiting the newlyweds.

Something Borrowed: This item traditionally is lent from someone who is happily married, with the intention of passing on that “luck” to the new bride on her wedding day.

Something Blue: The blue item that a bride carries with her represents the faithfulness and loyalty between the happy couple.


The Bridal Shower:

A bridal shower is a time when friends and family can offer gifts, well wishes, and sometimes even (unsolicited) pieces of advice to the bride-to-be. The concept of a bridal shower originates from Holland, and boy, did it start as something a little more serious than mimosas and games ya’ll! Centuries ago, brides in Holland that refused a dowry (good grief) from their fathers got together a group of friends who “showered” her with gifts towards a new dowry, allowing her to marry the person of her choosing.


I did warn you that the history behind today’s wedding traditions was going to progressively get stranger, so hold on tight because we still have quite a bit of exploring to do. Let’s talk bridesmaids: brides choose friends and family members to stand with her on the biggest day of her life, giving them the honorary title of “bridesmaids”. Sounds sweet, right? Well, the concept of having bridesmaids began centuries ago as a ploy to try and confuse the evil spirits (yes, you read that right) as to who the bride really was, so that they could not curse her on her wedding day.



If the idea of having bridesmaids stand with the bride to confuse evil spirits was difficult to gasp, then the origin of appointing groomsmen will be chaotic for you. Long ago grooms were all about stealing the hearts of their brides…literally. Grooms and their groomsmen would go and kidnap the bride of his choosing, thus resulting in their marriage. We can all be thankful that groomsmen today stand with the groom for moral support and love…not for aiding a kidnapping.

 Bouquet and Garter Toss:

Finally ya’ll, we have a wedding tradition with an origin that is is non-threatening in nature. The bouquet toss has remained the same throughout the many years that it has been practiced by brides. This tradition says that the single female who catches the bouquet tossed by the bride will be the next to tie the knot. The bouquet toss is the part of the wedding when the guests with a competitive edge can really have their moment to shine!



The garter toss originated in England and this tradition was a bit more…invasive in nature. Participants of this tradition would gather and raid, yes raid, the bride’s chambers for her stockings and undergarments. Guests would then head back to the wedding celebration with these items, and the single males would then proceed to throw them at the groom. The male who threw the personal item that landed on the groom’s nose (talk about talent) would be the next to marry. 



It seems that no matter how these wedding traditions came about, people over the years have altered them to create meaningful, exciting, and fun memories. For everyone out there planning the weddings of their dreams, at least now you know where the traditions, frivolities, and customs of your wedding’s events originated. Most importantly, let’s all thank our lucky stars that grooms no longer feel the need to participate in crime in order to marry!