Let’s Throw the Bouquet… and Other Antiquated Wedding Traditions

Instead, I dried the arrangement and it is now on display at home. I felt less guilty keeping it knowing that the bouquet toss stemmed from a weird tradition where single women chased the bride and tried to rip a piece of her dress off as a lucky keepsake. To escape, the bride would throw her bouquet and run away.

I also gave up the garter toss, simply because the concept gave me goosebumps: family and friends watching my husband go under my dress to retrieve a piece of my lingerie. Then throw it into a crowd of horny guys so one of them can hang it from their rear view mirror. No thanks.

The white wedding dress: yes or no?Credit:presentation tour

Without a garter to meet the “something blue” requirement, it was difficult to complete the Victorian era tradition of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”. But in examining the rhyme’s origins, I learned that brides often fell short of the lucky ritual without the lesser-known ending element “…and a tuppence in her shoe.” I was happy to tempt fate and kick start this tradition.

Then there is the iconic white dress as a symbol of purity. I learned that this is only a relatively modern tradition, with Queen Victoria starting the trend in 1840 when she married Prince Albert. Before that, brides wore what they considered their best dress in any color. I settled for a cream lace dress.

We chose bridesmaids and groomsmen because I knew I would need help managing my anxiety before and on the day. For the groom, the support was more to calm his nerves and make sure he gets to the ceremony on time.

However, the purpose of the wedding once played a more sinister role. According to an ancient superstition, bridesmaids acted as decoy brides to confuse evil spirits and intervene if abandoned ex-lovers tried to stop the wedding or steal the bride’s dowry.

The bouquet has become a wedding tradition.

The bouquet has become a wedding tradition.

A groomsman’s job, on the other hand, was to chase the bride away if she made a runner, especially in the days when arranged marriages were the norm. The best – or biggest and strongest – man was chosen for his ability to perform such a task. At five-foot-six, our best man wouldn’t have been the obvious choice for this assignment.

A tradition that we kept was to avoid seeing each other before the ceremony. Not because it was bad luck, but because I wanted to enjoy the experience of getting ready with just the ladies and avoid fussing with the guys before the big day.

Then there was the throwing of confetti or rice to symbolize fertility. My husband and I said we didn’t want kids, but we thought the bubbles would look great in the photos. To keep things COVID safe, we gave two friends bubble guns instead of floating bubbles filled with people’s breath.

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And when it came to our songs of procession and recession, there was no here is the bride Where At last by Etta James.

Instead, our nuptials were booked by Elvis and the punk band Rancid. An unlikely combination, but for our spin on the lore, the pairing was somehow perfect.

Mel Buttigieg is a freelance writer.