Wedding traditions stand on the bedrock of many rituals, rituals that may be traced back to culture and traditions that signify the timeless bond between lovers. As the significance of rituals has atrophied over the years, we have lost out on celebrating many such sweet rituals. However, as the saying goes: “What is old is new again,” and some of these wedding traditions are making a comeback.
7 old-world wedding traditions with deep symbolic essence
1. Wearing a veil
Right from ancient times, wedding veils were an imperative part of wedding wear for the bride. Greeks and Romans believed that veils are supposed to protect the bride from evil spirits.
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Now that we discard such traditions as being pseudo-scientific, flower crowns and attractive headpieces have replaced veils as wedding couture. However, the wedding veil is making a comeback and we expect it to keep trending!
2. The handfasting ceremony
Handfasting is an ancient Celtic ritual that is often included in Pagan or Wiccan weddings. The handfasting ritual is done in the presence of a priest who expounds on the ritual and explains its significance to the couple. Following the elucidation from the priest, the couple is told to join hands and the symbolic cord is wrapped around their hands. The ceremony symbolizes the binding together of two souls who vow to stay beside each other in sickness and health.
3. Wedding bells
Ancient wedding rituals involved church bells tolling at the beginning or end of a wedding to keep evil spirits at bay. Over time, weddings gradually moved out of churches to places that the bride and groom deemed most fit which, in turn, made the ritual of the ringing of wedding bells obsolete. However, the original Celtic ritual of wedding bells had a greater significance for newlyweds. The ritual involved ringing smaller bells at the end of the wedding. Additionally, these bells were brought by the couple to their new home to keep negativity away from their marriage.
4. Writing love letters
Even in the era of the Internet and broadband, love letters have not gone out of style. Writing letters or messages to express yourself better to the other person is often done. But did you know that traditional Icelandic wedding ceremonies made it a ritual for the bride and the groom to write each other letters the night before the wedding? The bride and the groom often relived how they met and fell in love and other defining moments leading up to the wedding. They would also express their dreams, aspirations, and apprehensions about their future together. These letters would be sealed away and stored in a box to be opened on their wedding anniversary.
5. Hiding charms inside a wedding cake
Hiding charms in the wedding cake is a ritual that goes back to Victorian times. Small charms and ribbons would be hidden in wedding cakes and would be pulled out by the newlyweds and the guests before cutting the cake. Charms stand for good fortune and regardless, collecting charms from your wedding cake is a fun exercise.
6. Planting a pine tree
Some wedding traditions involve planting pine trees. Pine trees stand for new beginnings. The ritual of planting pine trees outside of the newlyweds’ home was done to ensure that good luck would follow the couple into their new home. This symbolic ritual brings positivity right at the beginning of a new relationship. Moreover, gardening is best done as teamwork between couples!
7. Display a retro exit sign
Remember how the “Just Married” sign at the back of a car would signify a happy couple walking into a new phase of their lives? It is time that we bring back the retro exit with a well-decorated car, the “Just Married” sign, and tin cans, wishing luck to the newlyweds for the next big adventure in their life.
Amidst all the fun and frolic at the wedding, take a moment to express your love by bringing back some of these ancient wedding rituals.