6 Wedding Traditions You Should Know More About

I have always considered myself to be a traditionalist. As many girls are apt to do, I spent my childhood dreaming of what my wedding day would be like, and ever since I was old enough to remember, I’ve always wanted to do it by the books. I’ve agonized over my something old, new, borrowed and blue. I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to figure out how I could arrange for a garter toss without my grandparents seeing. I’ve fallen in love with countless white wedding dresses.

However, the tradition that I have always been the most passionate about is that my groom shouldn’t see me for the first time until I’m walking down the aisle towards him. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love first look pictures--they’re always guaranteed to make me tear up a little--but I never thought that I would be interested in having them done myself. Even after working at Ivory & Beau for over a year, my mind hadn’t really changed. I was still set in what I wanted for my wedding (even though I’m still single… Prince Charming, where ya at?)

As you may know, the I&B team recently started our very own podcast--due to come out in January, so be sure to keep an eye out for it--and we had the privilege of sitting down with photographer Vitor Lindo. Naturally, the conversation turned in the direction of the ever-popular first look shoot, and Lindo placed a lot of emphasis on the fact that he believes couples should always be aware of the origins behind certain wedding traditions.

While you’ll have to listen to the podcast this January to find out what tradition Lindo changed my mind about, this week on the blog, we’re taking you back through the origins of six of the most popular wedding traditions. It’s not our place to discourage you from following your heart and your vision for your wedding, but Lindo’s right: you should be aware of the roots of these traditions before you participate in them!


Veils got their start in ancient Greece as protection to help ward evil spirits away from the bride. The association between veils and purity stems from the medieval times, where they served as a symbol of chastity. The lifting of the veil is a ceremony that dates back thousands of years, a physical representation of the groom taking “possession” of the wife.


For most of history, brides didn’t specifically purchase a gown for their wedding--they simply wore their best dress! Queen Victoria was one of the first brides to popularize the white wedding gown in the year 1840. However, this was only in the Western world; according to the Knot, white was always the color of choice for Japanese brides!


Speaking of good Queen Victoria, did you know her daughter Princess Victoria is responsible for popularizing the traditional bridal chorus? Written by German Composer Richard Wagner for the opera Lohengrin, the march--known to many now as ‘Here Comes the Bride’--was played at her wedding processional in 1858.


While this tradition is on the outs, the superstition that it was bad luck for the groom to see his bride before the wedding day prevailed for centuries. Rooted in the days of arranged marriage, couples were forbidden to see one another for fear that a groom might be displeased with his bride’s appearance and call the wedding off. Say whaaaaaaaaat?


According to Mental Floss, the origins of the traditional bridal party may be traced all the way back to ancient Rome, where it was required by law that a bride and groom provide at least 10 witnesses to their union. These witnesses would also dress similarly to the bride and groom in hopes that they would confuse any malicious spirits that sought to harm the newlyweds. How’s that for a committed bridal party?


The garter toss got its start hundreds of years ago in France and England. It was thought that it was good luck for guests to obtain a piece of the bride’s wedding gown, so the poor bride would have to walk around in fear of her dress being torn to shreds. Fear not, y’all. Grooms soon began the tradition of tossing a piece of her gown to the crowd so that he and his new wife could make a swift exit--wedding gown in tact.

Know any fun wedding trivia? Be sure to leave it in the comments down below!

{Vendor Credits} Photography by The Happy Bloom