10 Popular Wedding Traditions...And Where They Came From!

You’ll probably notice during the hectic times of planning your wedding, that there are so many aspects of the big day that stem from centuries of tradition. But do you know their meaning?

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1) White Wedding Dress…and ‘Something Blue’

Let’s start with the basics…why is a white wedding dress considered the bridal colour of choice? Back in the middle ages, blue was considered the colour of ‘purity’ and brides used to wear blue gowns to demonstrate their virginity. Some brides clearly didn’t think blue was their colour though, and so opted for an alternative; just adding a blue ribbon or similar accessory in place of the blue gown. Hence today’s tradition of ‘something blue’!

White gowns didn’t become truly fashionable until the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840 - so you could say Queen Vic was probably the biggest trendsetter!

2) Bridal Bouquet

Aside from being one of the largest expenses of a 21st century wedding (brides spend, on average, 1/10th of their total budget on flowers!), the bridal bouquet has a slightly less flowery meaning behind it. Traditionally, a woman would carry herbs, grains and even garlic down the aisle in a bid to ward off evil spirits! Thankfully, the lingering smell of pizza was left behind as the years passed, leading to flowers symbolising fertility and everlasting love.

3) Positioning of the Groom

Not a custom that is adopted by every bridal party, but traditionally the groom stands to the right of his bride during the marriage ceremony. A well-meaning tradition that probably isn’t quite as relevant these days - this deliberate standpoint is so that the groom could draw his sword using his right hand, should any danger descend upon the proceedings!

4) Father Giving Away The Bride

It’s hard to believe these days that a woman was ever considered less important than a man…thank God things have moved on! The custom of the bride’s father ‘giving her’ to the groom was symbolic that she was no longer in her father’s possession, but now belonged to her new husband. Today, it’s more of a nod to the passing over of the bride’s reliability on her father for guidance and support through life, to her spouse.

Photo: axl photography

Photo: axl photography

5) Best Man

Probably better referred to as ‘wing man’ nowadays! Once the supply of local women had run dry, in German villages the groom would select a male companion to help him search for a suitor in another community. The ‘best man’ for the job would then stand guard with the groom at the wedding; ensuring that the bride wasn’t recaptured by her family!

6) Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

The groomsmen served a similar role to the best man, in fighting off the bride’s family if they attempted to claim her back! Bridesmaids - and the maid or matron of honour - posed a much less violent role: helping the bride dress, decorating the ceremony location and ensuring the bride’s bouquet was ready.

Both sides of the bridal party dressed in a very similar way to the bride and groom - with the bridesmaids wearing white - so that any disruptor to the wedding would be confused as to who was getting married!

7) The Bride’s Garter

Not something many brides would be keen on these days…the bride and groom used to have their guests follow them to their bedroom in order to put them to bed! Guests would fight over the bride’s dress, and so the garter was introduced in order for them to have something else to take! Imagine a rabble fighting over your Enzoani gown - no thanks!

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8) The Ring Finger

Have you ever considered why the ring finger is actually the finger we wear our wedding rings on? Out of all bridal traditions, it probably has the sweetest meaning - the Ancient Romans believed that the vein in this finger lead directly to the heart, thus linking the importance of the ring with the couple’s undying love. Aww!

9) Confetti

Confetti as we know it isn’t the confetti of old! Traditionally, it was rice and grains that were thrown over the newly married couple to promote good health and fertility. Perhaps some eye-related injuries prompted a change to paper- or flower-based options?!

10) Over The Threshold

Far from being a lazy or tired bride (we know the struggle!), carrying over the threshold stemmed from when the brides were physically taken away to be married, so the groom was required to pick them up! This diversified over the years, and it then became a symbol of demureness to hesitate before entering the bridal suite - the husband then being forced to carry his new bride into the room to ‘seal the deal’!

Everything but the Dress: All in the Detail

Picture this: you’ve tried on in excess of 30 dresses, and not a single one feels like ‘the one’: with every gown being ‘perfect, if only it had more detail/the front was higher/the train was longer’… Sound familiar?

If you’ve ever seen an episode of Say Yes to The Dress, you’ll spot the moment they add delicate lace sleeves, a sash, or glitzy belt to a bride-to-be’s look, in order to sway her (or more often, her mother!) from a ‘maybe’, to a definitive ‘YES’.

Many brides aren’t aware of the vast amount of changes or adaptations that can be made to a dress to make it perfect. As a very basic start, almost all of the dresses from our most popular designer Enzoani can be ordered in various colour ways - so whether you want ivory tulle over sand lining, or a classic ivory/ivory combination, you can customise the colour to suit your style.

Here’s a selection of the alterations that can be made in-house here at MiliMili*; leaving you safe in the knowledge that any of our dresses can be your ‘one’.

katerina with added sleeves. photo: stillwhite

katerina with added sleeves. photo: stillwhite

Sleeves

As exampled by this gorgeous bride, wearing a Blue by Enzoani ‘Katerina’, sleeves can completely change the upper half of a dress. If you’re top-heavy, or broad shouldered, a strapless dress might be your dream, but may not be the most flattering silhouette - adding some delicate material to create Bardot-style sleeves can add give you the balance you need to pull it off!

If you’re getting married in a cooler climate, how about opting for long, lace sleeves for an extra touch of elegance? The beautiful ‘Nicolette’ can be ordered both without or without these full-length sleeves (the design alters very slightly between the two) - and this type of look can be created with any almost any of our dresses by our seamstress Alina, so you can always decide at a later date.

We can also remove or shorten existing sleeves (dependent on dress design). So whatever the weather, you can rest assured we’ve got your arms covered! (Or not.)

nicolette a (without sleeves)

nicolette a (without sleeves)

nicolette B (with sleeves)

nicolette B (with sleeves)

Lining

Many dresses come with an unlined or lined option - but it’s hard to envisage what an unlined dress looks like with the lining already in place! That’s why we tend to have unlined versions for our samples - giving you the flexibility to explore lining, if you feel that’s what you would prefer.

Lining colour can be chosen to match or contrast the outer layer of the dress - a darker lining can really make lace detail pop!

Embellishment

If you’ve found your dream dress, but it lacks that tiny bit of ‘wow’ factor, there is a world of options at your disposal. Diamanté, pearl, button, bead…you name it, it can probably be added! Perhaps a scattering of crystals down the train, or some soft floral appliqués on the bust, will complete your ideal bridal look.

Belt

We have a gorgeous selection of belts in store, designed and made by Alina and starting from £115. She can also create bespoke designs - so if your dress has pearl or floral embellishments that you want to build on, Alina can design something perfectly unique.

A belt can really accentuate an hourglass figure; drawing the eye to the waist, and also adds a glamorous finish to a simple dress - as shown by the rose gold Charlie Brear ‘Corello’ belt (£275 - styled with Camise dress and Voulaire overskirt)

charlie brear

charlie brear

belts by alina

belts by alina

Standard alterations

And of course, we can alter your dress in any way you need. Whether it’s shortening the train, nipping in the waist, or adding a bustle hook so you can dance the night away with ease; you can count on us to tailor your dress to perfection.

To book your bridal appointment at our boutique, click here or call us on 01206 616368.

*most alterations are made by our incredibly talented seamstress Alina, however they are dependent on the material. design and structure of the dress. Some larger alterations or adaptations to design are undertaken by the designer themselves whilst your dress is being created.

Prices correct at 8th August 2019.