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7 Wedding Traditions and How They’ve Changed Over the Years

For many years, celebrating a couple’s union is cemented in wedding traditions, whether it is based on religion or culture. However, as time has passed these traditions were reimagined, jazzed up, or even ditched altogether.

From controversial wedding vows, to unconventional bridal gowns and who walks the bride down the aisle, a lot has changed over the years. Bright Side explores the traditions that shook the wedding scene and proved that there is no right way to get hitched, as long as you make it your own.

1. The bouquet and garter toss

This tradition can be dated back to the 1800s in England, when the people who catch the bouquet and garter are thought to be the next in line to wed. It can also mean good fortune for single ladies. Prior to the 1800s, it was considered good luck for single women to touch the bride in the hopes that the bride’s wedding fortune would rub off on them.

Over the years, it evolved to having the bouquet tossed toward the end of the reception for the bride’s single friends to catch. Fast-forward to today’s modern weddings, couples tend to omit this during the reception to avoid embarrassing moments and putting single friends in the spotlight, as single women are no longer in a rush to get married.

2. Bridal gown

The Victorian wedding gown started the trend of the white wedding dress. Prior to the reign of Queen Victoria, in which wearing white for a wedding gown originated, wearing colors other than white was the norm. Nowadays, the modern bride still opts for a white wedding dress, but more and more are choosing to make it colorful, casual, or wear a pantsuit — as long as they feel amazing in it.

3. How the bride arrives

Tradition has shown that the bride and groom arrive separately at the church in their respective cars, with their own entourage or family in tow. Now, more and more couples arrive at the ceremony venue together. In 2014, Solange Knowles and husband Alan Ferguson arrived at their ceremony in matching white bicycles, which could signal a new trend.

4. Reciting the traditional wedding vows

Since 1662, the Anglican Book of Common Prayer has listed this line in its marriage vows: “to love, cherish, and to obey, till death do us part.” This vow was traditionally followed by the royal family brides until Diana became the first royal bride to refuse to include “to obey” in her wedding vows to Prince Charles. Instead, she promised to love, comfort, honor, and keep him, in sickness and in health.

This controversial break from tradition was a precedent for succeeding royal family weddings, as Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle also opted to omit that word in their respective wedding vows.

5. From big weddings to minimalist weddings

While weddings are traditionally big and lavish celebrations typically attended by many guests, in recent years there have been minimalist weddings that consist of a limited guest list, some even just attended by the couple themselves. Take, for example, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard who chose to wed in a small Beverly Hills courtyard which, according to the groom, only cost them $142 in total.

6. Throwing rice at the newlyweds

Throwing rice grains at the newlyweds is a tradition to wish the couple a life of prosperity and fruitfulness as they walk into a new life together. This tradition can be traced back to the prevalence of Christianity, but also back to the Celts and ancient Romans. Aside from rice, seeds and other types of grains were used. Nowadays, couples opt for rose petals or confetti shooters as a symbolic and picture-perfect send-off.

7. The father walking the bride down the aisle

In 2018, Meghan Markle became the first royal bride in history to ever walk down the aisle on her own. During traditional weddings, the bride is accompanied by her father to walk down the aisle as a sign of “giving her away” to the groom. Modern weddings have adopted the trend of the bride walking alone or with someone else other than the father.

Which of these wedding customs can you relate to the most? Are there other wedding traditions you think should be changed or ditched in the coming years? Feel free to discuss your thoughts in the comments!

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