Wedding Traditions and Their Origins

Where Do These Wedding Customs Come From?

Marriage is all about traditions these days. Where do these wedding traditions come from?

An ABC of marriage traditions and their origins:


In ancient times, brides and bridesmaids wore the same dresses so that evil spirits who wished to destroy the bride’s happiness were confused.

Bridal Veil

Marriages were often arranged by family members and the bride and groom were not allowed to see each other before the actual marriage. The reason for this is that family members were afraid that the groom would refuse to marry the bride if he didn’t find her attractive. The veil was lifted only after the couple got married.


Flowers were used in wedding ceremonies because they represent fertility, purity and never-ending love. In the old days, wedding bouquets were a mixture of flowers and herbs. Orange blossoms were a symbol of fertility and dill was supposed to promote desire.


Early farmers believed that the tears a bride shed on her wedding day would bring luck and rain for their crops. In later times, people believed that the bride would never shed another tear about her marriage if she cried on her wedding day. Most brides now carry the handkerchief to dab away tears of joy.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

According to tradition, a bride should wear all of these four things. In ancient Europe, it was believed that these things warded off evil spirits.

  • Something Old: This symbolizes the ongoing continuity of the bride’s family life and bond while making the transition from single to married life. Many brides choose to wear a piece of family jewelry.
  • Something New: Wearing something new marks the transition from single to married life and symbolized the new life of the couple. Nowadays, the wedding dress is almost always the ‘new’ thing.
  • Something Borrowed: People believed that borrowing something from a happily married couple would bring them good fortune. Suitable items are handkerchiefs or jewelry.
  • Something Blue: Contrary to what people believe these days, white was not the color representing virginity, fidelity, and purity, but blue was. Lots of brides choose a blue garter for ‘something blue’.

…and a Penny in Your Shoe

The rhyme is actually one sentence longer than we think, it ends with the words: ‘and a penny in your shoe’. The penny brings good luck and fortune.

Wedding Cake

Sharing the first piece of the wedding cake stems from Roman times. Roman wedding cakes were made of wheat or barley which represented fertility. By eating the first piece of the wedding cake the couple would be blessed with fertility.

How to Choose the Right Color Wedding Veil

White, Diamond White, and Ivory, Oh My!

With so many names for dress colors, it can be confusing to choose the right color veil to match a wedding gown.

The bridal industry can present many confusing options to the newly engaged bride. Once the dress had been chosen, a bride might wish to purchase a veil somewhere other than the bridal salon to save money. But what color to order? With the many color names and veil fabric options, ordering a veil online can seem intimidating. These guidelines will allow a bride to navigate the confusing terminology of bridal accessories and find the perfect match.

White Wedding Veils

White seems pretty simple, right? Not really. Only choose a white veil if the wedding gown is made from a synthetic material. If the gown is silk, a true white veil, made from synthetic bridal illusion (the most common veil material), will not match. Real silks, like real pearls, don’t come in true white. Instead, it’s a slightly warmer, more natural color. It may look like pure white to the eye—until it’s held up next to the true white of a white bridal illusion veil.

Any silk tulle wedding veil will be either silk white/diamond white (even if it is just labeled “white”), or ivory. It is impossible to buy a true white silk bridal veil.

Diamond White Bridal Veils

The color of bridal illusion called “diamond white” was created to match the slightly warmer color of real silk gowns. If the wedding gown is made from real silk and the designer calls the color “white,” then diamond white is the color of veil needed to match the gown. If the wedding gown color is called “candlelight,” “warm white,” “oyster,” or “silk white,” regardless of what fabric the gown is made from, the appropriate veil color is diamond white.

Ivory Wedding Veils

Ivory is pretty straightforward. If the dress designer calls the color of the gown “ivory,” an ivory veil should be bought to match the gown. Here’s where it gets tricky. Some ivory gown is such a very light ivory color, that brides fool themselves into thinking that an ivory veil will look too yellow against their light ivory gowns. Not so. Stick to ivory, no matter how pale the ivory of the gown is. Ivory bridal illusion is typically very light ivory, and the fabric is extremely sheer, but any ivory gown needs the warmth of true ivory tulle to look right.

Other Wedding Veil Colors

These days, wedding dresses are available in a much larger range of colors than in past decades. Shell pink, dark ivory, and even bold colors like red are available. In these cases, it is best to consult with a custom veil maker to determine what veil color will look best with the rest of the ensemble.

Request a Tulle Sample

If there’s any doubt or confusion, request a tulle sample. Many veil manufacturers, especially those who specialize in quality, handcrafted veils, are happy to provide fabric samples so brides can be certain that the fabric will match the gown. This is especially important when dealing with high-end fabrics like silk tulle, which aren’t available from most veil designers, and typically can’t be seen in person at the bridal salon.