A Little About Wedding Traditions


HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE! If you’ve found a moment to stop by today (or even a day or two later), I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with friends, family, good cheer, and delicious food. One of things I’m most thankful for this year is to have become a part of Petticoats and Pistols. I feel like I found my second family and am so delighted to have met you, the many wonderful readers.

I had the delight and honor recently of being interviewed by The Categorically Romance Podcast (here’s a link in case anyone is interested in having a listen:    Cathy McDaivd’s Podcast  – I’m episode #78).

So, one of the questions my lovely hosts asked me was about my current and upcoming writing projects. I mentioned that, after the book I’m working on now (an inspirational suspense), I’d be finishing the last book in my Wishing Well series for Harlequin Heartwarming. I then laughingly admitted it was my eight wedding-themed book in a row for Heartwarming and would be my last for a while as I’d grown a little tired of writing about weddings.

That said, I’ve had such fun with the books. I spent a lot of time researching weddings and learned about some lovely, quaint, and, okay, a little crazy, traditions. Everyrone knows about throwing rice, of course – which is now the more feathered friend friendly version of throwing bird seed. It’s a way of wishing the newlyweds good luck, prosperity and fertility. But here’s the scoop on just a few common American wedding traditions you may not have known:

1) Nowadays, brides often carry bouquets of flowers. In ancient Greece and Rome, she carried a bouquet of herbs and spices to ward off evil spirits.


2) Queen Victoria is said to have started the fashion trend of brides wearing white dresses. In ancient cultures, blue was more often considered the color of purity.

3) Also, Roman times is when the practice started of attendants wearing matching dresses, again for good luck. Not only each other, their dresses matched those of the bride in order to confuse evil spirits. Roman brides wore a veil for the same reason – to protect her and hide her from the pesky evil spirits who might steal her away. As you can see, superstitions played a large role in the origins of some modern traditions.

4) The reason for wedding rings being worn on the third finger of the left hand dates back to Egyptians (well, some also say Romans, again) who believed there is a vein that runs from that finger directly to the heart.

5) If you receive a wedding invitation with the wording “the honour of your presence”, the ”u” in the word honour is to let guests know the ceremony will take place in a church or place of worship.

6) Giving away the bride stems back to the times when marriages were arranged and the bride was “transferred” from her father to her husband. Yes, like property. These days, the gesture is more often a sign of affection.

7) Bridal showers started out as a way to raise money for the bride’s dowry.

Tell me, what traditions did you have in your wedding or want to have in your wedding? I wore something old (leave the past behind), something new (embrace the future), something borrowed (good luck) and something blue (purity and warding off that evil spirit again). Maybe you had an unusual tradition or one with a special meaning for your family or culture? I’d love to hear about it. I do have that last wedding book to write!

P.S. – Don’t forget to join us on November 29th for Cowboys and Mistletoes – a super fun story and game for our readers and plenty of chances to win a nifty prize!

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Cathy McDavid has been penning Westerns for Harlequin since 2005. With over 55 titles in print and 1.6 million-plus books sold, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins is married to her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world seven years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking cowboys riding the range, busting broncs, and sweeping gals off their feet — oops, no. Make that winning the hearts of feisty, independent women who give the cowboys a run for their money. It a tough job, but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.

30 thoughts on “A Little About Wedding Traditions”

  1. Spelling honour on the invitations. I thought that was interesting. Was throwing the garter similar to throwing the bouquet?

    • From what I read, throwing the garter came first. It had something to do when, in more ancient times, the demand for young, healthy women was high and fighting off the other men. I’ll have to research that one again 🙂

  2. A tradition in our family is for the oldest family member, most likely female is to give the bride a horseshoe to carry in her bouquet. Then this would be hung up in their home for good luck. I am now the oldest female member in my family as my mother has passed and I gave one to my oldest niece when she married a few years ago.

  3. I had a small simple church wedding in December 1971. There were no special traditions that I remember. This December will be our 50th wedding anniversary.

  4. My wedding had no traditions.I gave My daughter a pin with a silver bow with pearl accents with pictures of her grandparents who have passed and it has a blue teardrop gem on it for the Something new and something blue tradition. I now have to find something borrowed and old to go with it. She is getting married in Oct 28 2022. No one does the dollar dance anymore. She is doing the first glance before the wedding because she decided to do the photographs first before the ceremony. So many things have changed since I was younger. Thank you for sharing your time with us all. Hugs

    • The pin sounds just gorgeous. And so incredibly thoughtful. Rather than a blue garter, like a lot of brides, I wore lovely pale blue “unmentionables” for my wedding. I borrowed a hair ornament 🙂

  5. Welcome today. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours also. This is an interesting post. When our son got engaged, both he and his fiancé were civil war reenactors. Kristen researched about the wedding dresses and myths at the time. Turns out that the attendants would wear the same color as the bride. This was to ward off the evil spirit that would steal happiness from the bride and her groom. The evil spirit would get confused because they all wore the same color therefore not knowing which one to steal happiness from. So at their wedding that is what was done. Kristen made her dress and her four bridesmaids dresses along with her mothers and her sister the maid of honor. Their corsets, skirt hoops. She made my corset and skirt hoop also. I made my own dress. Our son made his outfit and the outfits of his four groomsmen and best man (his cousin)

  6. I’ve never married, but I’ve been to lots of weddings! Some of the ones I went to didn’t use birdseed, they gave out small bottles and let everyone blow bubbles!!

  7. My husband and I had a small wedding celebration , we actually got married at my in laws house. My husband and I had been living together for a year before we got married , so I wore a beige dress. When our daughter got married, they did all the something blue, something borrowed , something new, and something old. I let her wear my ruby ring my husband had given me one year for my bday. When they left after the party was over, we set up some luminaries that led them to their vehicle, they looked so pretty. Your books sound like great reads. Thank you so much for sharing all this about weddings, I enjoyed reading them, I had no idea about the what the diference of having a u in honour. Have a great rest of the week and stay safe.

  8. Hoonour is British, honor is US English. It’s the use of the phrase honor of your presence versus pleasure of your company to denote whether or not a church is the venue.

  9. I really did not have any different traditions. I followed all the ones that you mentioned. Thank you so much for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving.

  10. Kathy, Thank you for the interesting information on weddings. Many I had already heard, but it is always good to refresh or correct the memory. No special traditions in our wedding. Just the traditional ones you mentioned above. Although it is very common now, when we got married, it was always done in the church. We (OK, me) wanted to get married at the shrine next to the church. They did agree and it was lovely. However, afterwards when the word got out, they were getting many requests to do the same thing. They turned everyone down. After our’s, it was several years before they allowed anyone else to do the same.

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