Wedding Traditions of American Clothing

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Wedding Traditions of American Clothing

Ever wonder where some of our wedding traditions began or what they represent? With the exception of Native Americans, all rituals came from the immigrants that came to this country from all over the world, thus bringing with them their own traditions.

As time has gone by, Americans have taken many of the old ways and molded them together to create their own styles and traditions. Many of the things we see or do in our ceremonies or receptions are generally based on symbolism. In addition, religion, superstition and the warding off of evils spirits play a huge part in these traditions.

Wearing of the Bridal Veil

Often we think of the veil to be a beautiful accessory that compliments the wedding dress, but the veil originally represented the subordination of the woman to her man. At the end of the ceremony, the veil is lifted. If the man lifts it, it represents male dominance over his bride. However, if the bride lifted it, she is showing independence.

Wearing of the four Something’s: Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

– Wearing Something Old symbolizes continuity while transitioning from being a single person to a married one.

– Wearing Something New is a tradition that represents a transition for the married person into adulthood.

– It was thought that good fortunes would be bestowed on to the new married couple by wearing Something Borrowed from a happily married couple.

– Wearing Something Blue, such as Blue ribbons, which represented love, fidelity and modesty, were often worn on the borders of the bride’s wedding dress in ancient Israel. Many also believe that the color blue represents the purity of the Virgin Mary.

The Wedding Dress

Prior to 1840, the bride would just wear the best dress that she owned. Then Queen Victoria decided to wear a white dress for her wedding and passed on wearing the royal tradition of the silver dress. The color of white has also been known to represent purity and joyous celebration.

The Groom’s Tuxedo

Much like the bride, the groom only wore his best clothes, but changed as the modern tuxedo became popular in American culture. Many feel it was President Theodore Roosevelt that made it popular to wear.

The Wedding Attire for Bridal Party

In the old days, it was tradition for the bride, the groom and their attendants to walk together to the church for the wedding. In an effort to trick any passer-byes that may put a curse on the couple, everyone dressed the same to confuse the curser into not knowing who the actual couple was. Today, we dress alike simply for pageantry of the wedding.

The Garter Belt

The bride once wore one garter belt, often in blue satin that was used to be tossed. Today, the bride often wears two garter belts. One belt is generally removed by the groom at the reception and is generally colored to match the wedding colors. The other belt is kept by the bride as a memory piece from her wedding.

Penny placed in a Shoe

Placing a penny in the bride’s shoe on the day of the wedding goes back to European symbolism. It is thought that the penny will bring fortune, good luck and protect from wanting by the bride. After the wedding, the bride often displays the penny with her wedding memories or incorporates it into some form of jewelry.

Bride’s Handkerchief

The handkerchief that is carried by the bride has taken on different meanings over the years. In modern times, a handkerchief is often carried to wipe away tears of joy and happiness. However, in the past, it was often thought tears on a wedding day would bring rain for their crops and was considered a lucky thing. Crying at the wedding also symbolized that the bride would never cry about her marriage ever again.

The Wedding Ring

The wedding ring has various symbols depending on what part of the world you are from. The ring is believed to have started as early as 3,000 B.C., by the Egyptians as they coined the phrase, “without beginning, without end.” Their rings were made from woven hemp. In addition, because the ring was round, it represented an unending love, just as it is today.

From the days of hemp, the bride’s ring has evolved. Romans used iron and Italians used diamonds. Today, the tradition is usually gold, but sometimes silver can also be used, depending on the bride’s preference.

In America, it is custom to place both the engagement and wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand, which the reason it’s referred to as the “ring finger.” However, that was not always the case. In the very early days, the ring was placed on the index finger. It then was moved to the third finger as many thought that the third finger had the “vein of love” which happens to lead straight to the heart.