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Kaylyn Logue
Mr. Munoz
English D.C., Per. 5
12 November 2014
Bridal Traditions
Wedding traditions have remained the same over the years. This is due to the person,
either a priest, rabbi, or ordained minister, who is hired to lead the wedding. The person who is
charge of pronouncing the couple husband and wife follows the same rules they were taught.
There may be minor alterations to wedding traditions, such as the change in vows, but the basis
has remained the same (Richard). However, all bridal traditions have a specific origin and
symbolism that most brides are unaware of.
If someone walks into a bridal shop the majority of the dresses on the rack will be white.
However, this has not always been the case. Kiri Picone explains that wedding dresses were not
traditionally white, but actually a wide variety of colors. The most common color worn by brides
was black because it could be worn again and hid stains (Picone). A bride however, did not
always have the option to freely choose the color of her dress. Joanne Richard argues that the
class a bride belonged in determined the color she wore on her wedding. This shows that not
only the style of a dress showed wealth, but also the color. According to Kiri Picone, Queen
Victorias wedding dress caused brides to drift away from this tradition because she began a new
one (Picone). Queen Victoria became the first well-known bride to wear white on her wedding
day. Joanne Richard explains that Queen Victoria was inspired to wear white because of its
meaning: purity and chastity (Richard). Kiri Picone agrees with this, but then explains that
although most women wanted to wear white, eggshell became the popular color because it was

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less expensive. However, when the Great Depression hit, many women could no longer afford a
dress at all so they began wearing common outfits and dark colors. When society was able to
recover from the devastation of the Great Depression, white wedding dresses became common
again. Now many women wear different colors, especially in China, India, and other European
countries (Picone). Although the common color of wedding dresses has changed over the years, a
bride always stands out.
There is more to a veil then simply picking which one goes best with a brides wedding
dress. The tradition of wearing a veil can be traced back to Rome, Italy. However, there are
several different beliefs concerning how the veil began though. Since the word veil means to
obscure, people believe that a bride wears a veil to trick the evil spirits that are believed to
surround her on her wedding day. For superstitious brides, finding out that evil spirits are
believed to surround them causes them to feel the need to certainly wear a veil on her wedding.
The next believed use of a veil is for modesty since it covers a brides face. However, people
also believe that a veil is used for a brides safety against the evil eye: the veil hides a brides
beauty from the guests who might be jealous of her. Another believed purpose for the creation of
a veil was for arranged marriages: the veil was used to disguise the bride. In this case the veil
was not hiding the bride because she was gorgeous, but was a way to ensure that the groom
would not run away if he was not attracted to his fianc. The veil is also seen as the brides
willingness to be obedient to her husband. Some brides may see this as a special way to honor
her husband, while others may feel that women should not be seen as inferior to men. In todays
society however, the veil is most commonly used simply as an accessory (History of the
Wedding Veil). Most women do not consider the meaning of a veil when choosing to wear one.

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The different believed purposes shows that a veil has not always been used as the finishing touch
of an outfit.
Making sure the groom did not see her in her dress before the ceremony was not the only
worry the bride had on her mind. On her wedding day the bride was at a constant risk of being
kidnapped. The kidnappers would steal the bride, make her marry him, and then rape her so her
father would be forced to pay money for a divorce. The solution to this problem was to dress
about ten other women similar to bride, which is how the tradition of having bridesmaids began.
Bridesmaids were used simply to trick kidnappers because they were originally dressed almost
identical to the bride. With multiple women looking alike, the kidnappers had a more difficult
time trying to steal the bride for black mail against her father. In history the bridesmaids were
used to trick kidnappers, but in todays world, they are a brides closest friends (Richard). This
shows that being a bridesmaid was not always an honor.
Another tradition that has improved over the years is giving away the bride. The
traditional saying, Giving away the bride, was first used for arranged marriages. The common
phrase was not invented because of a touching moment between a father and daughter. Instead it
was because a father was literally bartering off his daughter for money (Richard). In todays
society, Giving away the bride, symbolizes the dad allowing his little girl to get married and
start a life of her own.
Although many brides are aware of the tradition of throwing the garter, most do not know
how it has evolved over the years. Women first began wearing garters during the Dark Ages. The
garter was originally thrown at the groom by members of the bridal party. The person who
landed the garter on the grooms nose was the winner. Men would also follow the bride all
way back to her house after the ceremony to retrieve the garter from her. The man who got to the

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house first would then rush to put the garter on their ladys leg, so she would remain committed.
However, in Northern England men started taking the garter from the bride as soon as the
minster said, You may now kiss the bride (Wedding Garters). The tradition of throwing a
garter may have evolved and changed slightly, but it has always symbolized a person getting
married in the near future.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue is not just a
fancy rhyme that brides came up with. Each something is a part of a poem and stand for good
luck. The something old is used to symbolize the carrying on of family. The something new
stands for the life that the bride is beginning with her groom. The something borrowed has two
different meanings: it can either symbolize passing down the happiness of an already married
couple or as a reminder to the bride that her friends and family support her. Wearing something
blue has three different meanings: modesty, the Virgin Mary, or loyalty of a groom. The first use
of brides wearing blue for modesty can be traced to Rome, Italy. Wearing something blue can
also refer to the Virgin Mary because Catholics constantly picture her in this color. Other people
believe wearing blue will guarantee a faithful marriage due to the saying, Marry in blue, lover
be true. However, there is one part of the poem that is not mentioned: a silver sixpence in her
shoe. Although silver sixpences are not used anymore in wedding ceremonies, brides used to
abide by this as well. This part of the poem hints that this bridal tradition is English because
silver sixpences were minted in Britain from 1551 to 1967 (Weddings Good Things). This
shows that the poem had a great an impact on brides since the tradition is still popular all over
the world.

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Every little girl looks forward to the day she walks down the aisle to get married. Most
brides believe they know all about weddings, but most do not. The bridal traditions may seem
insignificant, but they actually have a deeper meaning than most people know.

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Works Cited
"History of the Wedding Veil." Veil U Bridal. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2014.
Picone, Kiri. "The Intriguing History Of Wedding Gowns." All That Is Interesting. N.p., 01 Aug.
2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.
Richard, Joanne. "Origins of Wedding Traditions." Wetaskiwin Times. N.p., 27 Jan. 2010. Web.
28 Oct. 2014.
"Wedding Garters." Eye Catching Creations. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.
"Weddings Good Things: Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue - Martha Stewart Weddings
Planning & Tools." Martha Stewart Weddings. N.p., Jan. 2008. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

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