Why do we do the things we do?

Ever wonder where those strange wedding traditions originated from?


1. Not seeing each other before the wedding

The custom dates back to when arranged marriages were common.  The idea was the groom first saw the bride at the wedding ceremony when it was too late to change their mind.  Since arranged marriages are no longer common, this tradition is carried out in modern times by not allowing the groom see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony.   Although many couples are now foregoing this tradition and often take wedding photos before the ceremony.


2. Wearing a veil

There are several accounts on how brides wearing a veil came to be.  One, like not seeing one another before the wedding, is tied to the idea of an arranged marriage where the groom did not see the bride until he lifted the veil after the wedding ceremony was fully performed.

The other account dates back to ancient Rome.  It is believed that evil spirits were attracted to the bride’s happiness and the veil helped to shroud and protect her from the evil spirits.


3. Having something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue

Something old represented the bride’s family and her life before marriage, while something new represented the new life she will have with her husband.  Something borrowed generally came from a friend that already has children, it was sort of a fertility good luck charm.  The blue item represents faithfulness and loyalty.


4. Rain on the day of the wedding

Rain on your wedding day is supposedly good luck because rain symbolizes cleansing and fertility.


5. Carrying the bride over the threshold

The superstition began in Medieval Europe when the bride was thought to be extra susceptible to evil spirits through  her feet.  In order to avoid bringing the spirits into the home, the groom would carry his new bride inside.


The first three were all traditions I carried on in my wedding.  I really wanted the first time my husband-to-be seen me in my dress to be the moment the doors opened to the chapel and I walked down the aisle towards him.  In fact, the only picture I cared about that day was my groom’s face when he caught his first glimpse.

I never in a million years expected myself to wear a veil.  I really thought them too virginal for my taste but I never felt like a bride until I put on a veil while I was trying on dresses.  It took me about 3 seconds to fall in love with veils.

I left my “something old, something new…” up to my mother.  I had really wanted to incorprate some of the lace from her wedding dress into my wedding somehow but she was really reluctant, and rightfully so, to let me cut up her wedding dress.  She surprised me by wrapping the bottom of my bouquet with lace from her dress as my something old.  She also bought me beautiful pearl chandelier earrings for my something new, which were promptly stolen out of my hotel room but at least not until after my wedding!  My grandma let me borrow a bracelet from her, which if the fertility superstition is true I should be in good shape as she had 7 children.  My something blue was a little blue charm attached to my bouquet.

One of my favorite parts of weddings is hearing what the bride choose for her something old, something new, etc.  I’d love to hear yours!


1 thought on “Why do we do the things we do?”

  1. My something old, borrowed, and blue was a blue handkerchief that had belonged to my formerly departed grandmother. My mother handed it to me on my wedding day, and she helped me pin it to the inside of my dress. My something new was everything else I was wearing.

    If nothing else, these traditions made me feel part of something bigger than just MY wedding. I felt connected to my mother, and to her mother, and my aunts, and all the married women in my life. They had all been exactly where I was at that moment.

    Thanks for the nudge to reminisce. It is a wonderful feeling on your wedding day.

    Good post,
    Mindy Minix

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