Usually when it comes to weddings, there are a whole slew of things your parents, in-laws or even friends will tell you you have to do in the name of “tradition.” But have you ever wondered what all those really mean? Find out why traditions like the bridal bouquet, the white dress and the tea ceremony are so important. This way you’ll know which ones you’ll want to do away with, and which ones will really matter to you.
Text: Amanda Tan
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Catching the bridal bouquet
Before bouquets became the Pinterest-worthy clutches they are today, brides in Ancient Rome wore flower garlands to signify new beginnings, fertility and good luck. In the Middle Ages, herbs were carried to ward off evil spirits and bad luck. It wasn’t till the Victorian era that flowers became part of the bouquet we know today.
Also on the topic of the bouquet...
Before the bouquet toss, there was the bride grab. Back in the day, brides were considered tremendously blessed, and guests wanted to share her luck by grabbing a piece of her in the form of her dress or veil. In order to prevent a spoiled dress and the trauma of being grabbed at, brides began throwing their bouquets to distract guests. Today, the person who receives the bouquet, is said to be the next one to get married.
Wedding party attire
From wearing matching dresses to mismatched outfits, and back again to dresses similar to the bride’s, it turns out that bridesmaids are traditionally supposed to look like the bride. This is to confuse vengeful spirits who might try to harm the newlyweds.
Groomsmen on the other hand, were said to be the bride’s bodyguards, to ensure that she made it to the groom safely. Another version purports that the groomsmen helped kidnap the bride with the groom, should her parents and friends be unwilling to give her away. Either way, we’re glad that their tasks only extend to helping the groom through the gatecrashing, supporting the groom on his big day, escorting the bridesmaids, and helping out around the wedding!
Wearing a veil
You’re not quite a bride without a veil, but did you know? The veil was said to protect the bride from evil spirits, as well as to prevent the groom from running away, especially in the case of an arranged marriage.
The Chinese tea ceremony
Despite the many Western traditions incorporated into Chinese weddings these days, the tea ceremony remains an important aspect. The ceremony, an intimate and meaningful one, is a formal introduction of the bride and groom to both families and their relatives. It is also to show your respect and gratitude to both your parents and elders. The tea is served warm with red dates and lotus seeds for good luck and fertility.
The Mehndi ceremony
Used in both Indian and Malay weddings, the henna or Mehndi ceremony usually takes place two days before the wedding. During the ceremony, ornate patterns are drawn onto a bride’s hands and feet, and are witnessed by the bride’s close friends and female relatives. Traditionally, the patterns are supposed to incorporate the couple’s names within the design. For Malay ceremonies, the couple’s fingertips are also stained with henna to signify their newlywed status.