The Origin of Wedding Traditions

Have you ever wondered about the origins of the 5 most popular American wedding traditions? We have [most] of the answers and we can’t believe these are the reasons!


The Bachelor Party:

In the early 20th centuries, bachelor parties were usually black-tie affairs hosted by the groom’s father with toasts to the bride and groom — very different than bachelor parties today! The concept of the bachelor party actually goes back as early as 5 B.C. Ancient Spartans would hold a dinner in their friend’s honor. Like bachelor parties today, these ancient events were often designed for male bonding and a pledge for continued friendship before the big transition to marriage.

The Groomsmen and Bridesmaids:

Ancient Roman custom required that there be 10 witnesses to dress like the bridge and groom to confuse the evil spirits. Eventually, this evolved to a role that fulfills duty and dedication to friendship which ranges from packing wedding favor bags to helping the bride/groom get ready for the wedding.

The Bouquet:

During the Plague, the mid-14th century, brides would carry bouquets of garlic and dill to presumably ward off death. The bouquet eventually evolved to herbs, especially for Celtic weddings. Fresh flowers didn’t become popular until Queen (then Princes) Victoria wed Prince Albert in the mid-19th century. Not only did she start a more pleasant smelling bouquet trend, she made white wedding gowns popular too!

The Veil:

Some historians attribute this tradition to ancient civilizations attempt to ward of evil spirits and demon. In some cultures, it’s used to prevent the bride and groom from seeing each other until their vows are exchanged. In western society, it has evolved to symbolize obedience and modesty in religious ceremonies. For some, it’s just a delicate and beautiful fashion statement.

The Wedding Cake:

In ancient Rome, the groom sealed the deal by smashing cake on the bride’s head. Back then, wedding cakes weren’t exactly tasty: they were often made from barley cake. Throughout the centuries, the flavor of the cakes eventually evolved. In the 19th century, fruitcake became popular and it is still a tradition that is seen in many British weddings. The sweet modern wedding cake we’ve come to know and love in the United States didn’t really become popular until post-World War II. P.S. Want a tasty cake for your wedding? Contact {Palate} catering l design!

Don’t want to follow tradition? Do what feels right for you and your fiance. Sometimes rules are meant to be broken! Contact us and we’ll help you plan the wedding of your dreams.

The Origins of Wedding Traditions


  • Kristina Seleshanko’s book, “Carry Me Over the Threshold”