The meaning behind wedding traditions

Wedding traditions differ all over the world, from pinning money to the bride and groom in Greece to ‘kidnapping’ the bride in Romania. In the UK, the traditions aren’t quite as wild but many are still planned into the day. Here we take a look at the meanings behind the most popular ones and you can decide whether to feature them:


Asking the father of the bride for his ‘blessing’/permission

More and more people are questioning this tradition, but for many it’s still important and considered a respectful tradition to continue. It means the groom takes the consideration of his future wife’s family seriously and respect is still integral to any relationship between in laws.

This tradition is considered sexist by some, as it was once used as a way for men to trade their daughters for goods or property but now it’s a sign of respect and is still popularly done.


Exchanging rings

The exchange of wedding rings is a tradition that goes back to the Egyptian era as a symbol of eternity and were originally made using braided hemp. Rings were also exchanged in Roman times but as a symbol of purchase between the groom and bride’s father and the bride herself was gifted a gold ring to symbolise that she was trusted with the groom’s valuable property. Fast forward to 2017 and rings are exchanged as a symbol of the couple’s promise to one another forever more.


The first dance

It’s tradition for the bride and groom to take to the dance floor first to enjoy a slow shuffle to ‘their song’. The first dance is taken from the notion of the father giving away his daughter and the groom showing off his new bride to his friends with a dance – which is why it’s also tradition that the bride dances with her father-in-law and the groom his mother-in-law.



The traditional favour used to be five sugared almonds wrapped up and given to guests, each almond represented five wishes for the newlywed couple and included: happiness, fertility, wealth, health and longevity. Nowadays, favours are chosen by the couple and are usually something useful or personal to the bride and groom – such as the examples in this Buzzfeed post.


Throwing the bouquet

Bouquets are expensive, so why do we throw them? The tradition actually stems from times when touching the bride or grabbing a piece of her dress was considered good luck – the bride was basically going to be cared for now and in the future so she was considered to be fortuitous among single ladies at the wedding. However, to avoid torn dresses brides started to throw their bouquets over their shoulder at weddings as they left the venue and it became a traditional element of the day.


The receiving line

While this tradition isn’t as popular now, the receiving line was invented so the bride and groom and also their parents could easily greet guests as they entered the reception venue. Around 20-30 seconds were reserved for each person to say hello as they passed through but this can cause quite a delay and so many couples now choose to go around each table and greet people during the meal.


If you’re planning a wedding or a proposal, consider whether you want to incorporate these traditions into your day – many of them naturally take place, while others will need to be decided upon and planned.

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