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Bride and Groom Cutting the CakeHuman beings have been getting married for as far back as history goes. Of course, weddings don’t look anything like what they once did. Over the centuries, wedding customs have changed to reflect shifts in society. Interestingly, many traditions have persisted from generation to generation even though the original meaning has been forgotten. From brides wearing white gowns to smashing cake in the face of a spouse, some of these actions have very peculiar origins. Look over these details on how a number of these traditions began to learn more. 

White Dress

A bride wearing a white dress on her wedding day is a very normal image in this day and age. While not all women decide to wear white, it is still the most popular option by a long shot. While many people assume the white dress is supposed to symbolize the purity of the bride, this is actually not the exact case. Queen Victoria of England made a splash in the world of fashion by wearing white to her wedding in 1840. Others imitated the queen and the trend grew and grew, persisting until the modern day.

Throwing Rice

The trend of throwing rice is one shrouded in all kinds of misconceptions. Originally meant to symbolize good luck and fertility for newlyweds, this wedding custom has changed significantly. In the past, guests would throw handfuls of rice at the happy couple as they left the wedding venue to begin their lives together. This practice came to a grinding halt after reports that birds were dying from ingesting the uncooked rice. While there’s little validity to this, very few events now involve throwing rice. Instead, you’re more likely to see guests blow bubbles, toss rose petals, or even throw pennies at the happy couple. 

Smash the Cake

Since weddings are all about celebrating a new union, it should come as little surprise that a vast majority of wedding customs have to do with encouraging good luck. Such is the case with the tradition of the happy couple cutting and smashing the cake in each other’s faces. Before cake was the preferred dessert at such events, couples would use baked bread in a similar way. The groom would break bread over the bride’s head, sending crumbs all over her and the floor. Guests would collect these crumbs to bring good fortune to their own lives.

When cake became popular, it changed the bread tradition significantly. Instead of collecting crumbs, guests would be instructed to take a slice of the cake home. There, they would place the slice under their pillow in the hopes of encouraging “sweet dreams” and good luck in future romances. 


Any woman who has been a bridesmaid understands it can be a trying experience. What most don’t know, however, is that it has always involved difficult tasks. The tradition began in Ancient Rome when brides would have several women dress in identical outfits to confuse evil spirits. The bridesmaids would also be tasked with protecting the bride from men who would attempt to harm her or her dowry during the journey from her home to her future husband’s home. Strangely, defending a bride during her bachelorette party is still an unspoken duty of most modern bridesmaids. 


Finally, the practice of carrying a bouquet and filling a wedding space with floral arrangements has very sensible origins. According to history, the Greeks were said to carry herbs and spices during such ceremonies to keep away bad spirits. When regular bathing fell out of practice across Europe, the inclusion of flowers was meant to diminish the potential foul odors that would come off of guests and even the happy couple themselves. Thankfully, most modern couples shower daily and wedding flowers are primarily decorative.

Wedding traditions begin in all kinds of interesting ways. By learning more about the origins, you can decide which wedding customs to include on your own special day.

Category: Wedding Planning

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