If you choose to have an alternative wedding, would you still keep with certain wedding customs? Clothing, and accessories for weddings are worn for traditional reasons, but if you aren’t having a traditional white wedding, would you still include these wedding customs as part of your day?
Most couples seem to stick to at least one wedding custom, the custom of not seeing each other before the wedding; however a lot of alternative couples prefer to arrive at their ceremony together. As an alternative wedding celebrant, I have performed ceremonies for many couples, and quite a few arrived together to their ceremony. For some this was down to the choice of arriving in a certain vehicle, for others, it was because they don’t want to be without each other for one moment on such a special day.
The wearing of a wedding veil is said to date back to Roman times when they believed in covering the bride’s face to confuse evil spirits from hurting her. During arranged marriages, the bride’s face was obscured from the groom until the wedding ceremony. Veils symbolised purity, chastity and modesty. Brides still wear veils as part of their wedding outfit, but now choose different colours instead of just traditional white.
A white wedding gown symbolised purity and chastity and was the traditional colour for western Brides to wear. Goth brides opt for usually red or black gowns, Steampunk brides favour cream, gold or brown and rock and roll brides tend to stick to white gowns but wear a coloured sash, red accessories and shoes or Converse trainers underneath their gowns.
Garters became part of a bridal outfit after it was considered lucky to grab a piece of the bride’s clothing. At the reception, the groom removed his bride’s garter and threw it to single men, similar to throwing the bouquet. Brides today usually wear a blue garter as their ‘something blue’ item.
‘Something old, something blue, something borrowed something blue and a sixpence in your shoe’ is the traditional quote to a bride. Old for continuity, new for the future, borrowed happiness and blue for fertility. With the exception of the sixpence, most brides seem to adhere to this old English rhyme. A sixpence was placed by the father of the bride into her shoe to insure she had some money of her own, as once married, all of her property become the property of her new husband.
Bridal floral bouquets are traditionally thrown at the reception, and it is said the female who catches it is the next to marry. With bouquets for some alternative brides being made from buttons, cogs, gears or fake flowers; brides are keeping their bouquets rather than throwing them. My bouquet was made from baccara roses which start to change from a very dark red to black so I wasn’t throwing those away.
Wedding cakes were traditionally white iced, three tier fruit cakes, and the top tier was kept for the first child’s christening. Now wedding cakes are amazing works of art, with all sorts of flavours, designs, shapes and sizes. Some couples prefer cupcakes, and I know of one couple who had a giant pork pie as a cake.
There are so many more traditional wedding customs, and some differ from family to family or religious belief. If you are planning an alternative wedding, will you still incorporate some of these wedding customs into your special day? For more information on alternative wedding ceremonies, please contact me
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