Not every bride or groom who visits Tower Hill Barns wants to reinvent the wheel when it comes to their wedding day! Many people prefer to have at least some traditional elements to give a sense of occasion and formality to the proceedings. If you’re keen to show your guests you have respect for the culturally familiar elements, we’ve created a short list of some of the most popular traditions to get you started.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…
Ever heard this saying? Some people like to add at the end ‘and a sixpence in your shoe’, which refers to the idea of the bride carrying a coin as a lucky charm at her feet. (That’s easier with a court shoe than a strappy sandal of course, and in any case you’ll want to fix it firmly into place if you decide to try this!)
The ‘something old’ is often represented by incorporating something from the past into the bride’s attire. It could be an item of jewellry that has been passed down from previous generations, or perhaps her mother’s wedding gown or veil. It symbolises a link with history and the wider family brought together by the occasion.
‘Something new’ is a glance towards the future happiness of the couple. A brand new gown or earrings would be suitable for this.
For ‘something borrowed’ it’s customary to wear or carry an item belonging to someone who is already happily married, as if in the hope that some luck or good fortune will rub off. And finally, ‘something blue’ refers to the aspiration for faithfulness and love. Even a tiny length of blue ribbon hidden somewhere on the bride can be enough to give a nod to that tradition.
The bridal veil – for mystique and good luck
Many brides choose to wear a veil with their dress. This is a custom that dates back to Ancient Roman times when it was thought that evil spirits, jealous of the happiness of the occasion, could be confused into leaving the bride well alone. In contemporary times, the veil is simply a recognised item of bridal wear, though it may also suggest something along the lines of the handed down wisdom of the groom not seeing his bride before the wedding day.
All dressed in white? The not-so-traditional white wedding dress
Interestingly enough, wedding gowns through the ages have come in all shades and colours. The white dress tradition most of us are aware of actually only began with the wedding of Queen Victoria. Her choice of white was intended to set a trend that would avoid the costs associated with the expensive dyes that brides had used before that. From then on white dresses became the norm rather than the exception, with their added associations of purity and chastity. Many modern brides opt for an off-white colour that gives a similar effect to the white dress but can be more flattering to many skin tones.
The tiered wedding cake – piled high for a traditional treat
Modern day cakes are often stacked in several tiers, with each layer supported by four small pillars. This idea harks back to Anglo-Saxon weddings and the custom of guests bringing generous contributions of cakes and other edibles to share at the reception. These were piled up to create an eye-catching centre piece for everyone to share. Today’s single cake is reminiscent of the idea, even more so where couples opt for individual cupcakes on a stand.
After the event – tossing the bridal bouquet
When the bride throws her flowers in the air, the popular thought is that the guest who catches the bouquet will be next to marry. This is an Old English tradition that comes from a time when other young women would grab at the bride’s dress or flowers after the ceremony in an attempt to rip off some of her good fortune to keep for themselves. Obviously it made sense for brides to throw something instead to keep her gown intact, hence the tossing of the bouquet.
We hope these ideas will give you some inspiration for designing a more traditional wedding – or perhaps just to steal a few elements to give them a personal twist of your own.