Shannon here: Tara Johnson shares insight into wedding traditions, along with a chance to win a copy of her latest Historical Romance, Where Dandelions Bloom. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing. Deadline: July 11th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Tara:
This past month marked the 23rd wedding anniversary for my husband and me. As we looked through our old wedding photographs, our children couldn’t stop giggling at the fashions that marked the late 1990s. (Remember the era of puffy bridal sleeves and head band veils?)
Things vary greatly from year to year in the wedding world. Today’s weddings and engagements are stamped with hashtags and clever sayings combining the bride and groom’s names. The standards that marked nuptials several decades ago are being tossed out for Pinterest-inspired, creatively splashy ceremonies.
While pondering this change, and since I’m a historical romance writer, I became curious about how much weddings have changed from those in the past.
Starting around the 16th century, bouquets were carried as good luck and were a combination of spices. Most brides carried garlic in their bouquets to ward off evil spirits. Many of the spices they carried in their bouquet would be ground up and used in the wedding feast. In addition, hygiene wasn’t highly prized so many brides added in flowers to help hide their body odor. (Although carrying garlic may not have helped much with any odor issues.)
During the Victorian era, lovers often sent different flowers as a way of expressing their love. Each flower had a different meaning, and their exchange soon became popular and was linked to romantic love. Flowers became a part of wedding ceremonies because of this romantic association. Brides carefully chose flowers for the sentiments they represented, and the blooms she carried, became “her flowers” for the rest of her life.
Traditionally, the bridegroom wears a boutonniere matching his bride, which traces back to the custom of knights wearing their ladies’ colors as a declaration of love.
Throwing the bouquet
Hundreds of years ago, brides were considered lucky, so guests would try to grab something belonging to her (such as her dress, hair, or flowers) to improve their luck. To make her escape, the bride would throw her bouquet into the crowd and flee to escape harm. This is where the tradition of throwing the bouquet is thought to have begun.
The White Wedding Dress
The white wedding dress, now a common tradition in the western world, originated with Anne of Brittany on the occasion of her marriage to Louis XII of France in 1499. But it wasn’t until 1840, when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, that the white dress was made popular. Now the white wedding dress is a classic.
Before Queen Victoria made the white wedding dress the standard for wedding ceremonies everywhere, brides tended to get married in any gown considered pretty, clean and nicer than their normal dresses. There were, however, some standard protocols in color. Green, red, and black were considered unlucky, as marked in this popular rhyme of yesteryear:
Married in White, you have chosen right
Married in Grey, you will go far away
Married in Black, you will wish yourself back,
Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in Blue, you will always be true,
Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
Married in Brown, you will live in the town,
Married in Pink, your spirit will sink.
The wedding garter tradition points back to the 14th century. The guests of the bride and groom believed having a piece of the bride’s clothing was thought to bring good luck. To avoid having pieces torn from her gown, the bride would throw guests pieces of her attire, with one of those being the garter. However, some of the intoxicated men would try to take the garter early, so the tradition was born that the groom would take the garter off of the bride and throw it to the men. Other traditions include the guests entering the bridal chamber and stealing the bride’s stockings. This was called “flinging the stocking.” Whoever did this would be the next to get married.
Tara Johnson is an author and speaker, and loves to write stories that help people break free from the lies they believe about themselves.
Tara’s debut novel Engraved on the Heart (Tyndale) earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and finaled in the Carol and Christy awards. In addition to being published in a variety of digital and print magazines, she has been a featured guest on Voice of Truth radio, Enduring Word radio, television and podcasts. She is a history nerd, especially the Civil War, and adores making people laugh. She, her husband, and children live in Arkansas. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Where Dandelions Bloom:
Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she’s discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer.
Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding.
Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?
Can’t wait for the drawing or worried you won’t win? Get your copy now!
Question for Readers: What wedding tradition have you always wondered about? What part of the wedding ceremony makes you curious? I would love to hear!
Come back July 3rd for Shannon Taylor Vannatter!