There are many wedding traditions that we hold to, simply because they are tradition and we don't always look into the meaning of these traditions. So we decided to question some of the popular ones and find out the answers! Most wedding traditions that are performed today do not hold the significance or meaning they once did, so don't worry if you find that you're incorporating some of these into your special day!
1. As the married couple, are you required to give wedding favors to your guest?
Nowhere are there wedding rules that state you must give your guests a gift, however it is a very kind gesture. If you're budget allows for personalized wedding favors or individual gifts (besides the bubbles they blow as you walk to your getaway vehicle), then by all means, get creative with your gift giving! But if you want to keep it simple, place some chocolates at their reserved seats, allow guests to take home center pieces, or even make the photo booth pictures their gift.
2. Are guests required to bring gifts to the wedding?
This can be a tricky question, and we're not giving anyone a get out of jail free card. Long ago and far away, the most basic "gift" was a dowry, and it was actually a requirement for the groom to obtain his bride from her father. In many cultures, this tradition still exists. As time and traditions have evolved, the idea of giving gifts has gone through some changes in western culture, and we find ourselves where we are today in registering for gifts.
We found that many people question giving gifts for bridal showers, bachelorettes, and the wedding. In general, giving a gift to the newly married couple symbolizes your support and encouragement in their new life together. It has become a very common practice to have the gift mailed to their new home so that no one is lugging around huge gifts after the ceremony or trying to find a way to pack them into the car.
3. Who came up with the money dance and are guests required to participate?
The money dance has different names and roots in several cultures and is generally participated in by the guests. We've seen weddings where the money dance is expected and ones where guests are somewhat mortified by it. All in all, it's another fun way to celebrate the newly married couple and give them a little extra boost in starting their lives together!
4. Why does the father walk his daughter down the aisle and not the mom?
As we said before, there was often a dowry requirement for a wedding to take place. In exchange for the payment of the dowry, the father then gave his bride away to the man who paid the dowry. This isn't the case in every culture, and even today some brides choose to walk down the aisle alone, or choose a man who has made a significant impact on her life. The tradition still holds that it is a "giving-away" to the man she is to marry.
5. Why are cans or streamers tied to the back of the car when the couple leaves?
This is said to be done for good luck. There was a tradition or belief in England (we call it a superstition) that guests would toss shoes at the bride and groom's getaway vehicle and thought they had good luck if they hit it. They also believed that tying shoes to the car would ward off any evil spirits that might try to follow the bride and groom as they left.
Today, decorating the getaway vehicle is just a fun way to say a final goodbye for the evening and make a little racket. Writing on the car also lets others join in on the fun and congratulate the newly married couple.
6. Why do we do a garter and bouquet toss?
These traditions have less than desirable roots, and researching them made us glad we aren't living back in the day! The garter toss came about as a result of the need for proof that the marriage had been consummated. Rather than having the wedding party and/or guests come and check (gross and awkward), the bride and groom resorted to tossing out a piece of her wedding attire as proof.
Today, this tradition has transformed into a rather funny and entertaining one as single guys try for their luck at being the next one married if they catch the garter. The bouquet toss carries similar roots, in that it was an effort to give guests a "part" or "piece" of the bride, and avoid having them rip her gown. Today, again, we enjoy this tradition civilly (for the most part) and like to think that whomever catches the bouquet will be the next one married.
7. Has a reception always been part of the tradition?
There has always been a celebration of sorts for the newly married couple. A more traditional reception may start with a receiving line, while newer traditions start with a grand entrance by the bridal party followed by the bride and groom. Western wedding receptions tend to have a time limit and a departure time for the bride and groom, while other cultures dance the night away until you can't dance anymore! Whatever traditions your culture holds, we're sure there's bound to be a celebratory reception to follow the ceremony.
Wedding traditions are held all over the world. While the same tradition may be performed in several different cultures, each one can hold very different significance. We love seeing tried and true traditional weddings, as well as ones that go outside the box. Whether you hold fast to these traditions, or decide to create some of your own, we hope you enjoy the process of bringing your wedding to life and creating memories to last forever.