Monday, May 3, 2010



If you know me at all, you know I'm a bit of a nerd, and the queen of random facts. Before Wikipedia this talent was a lot more impressive, and before the internet, I was a marvel. I'm still a decent source for word etymology and "why do they do that?" inquiries. So in true Heatherly fashion, I bring you today's post of interesting wedding traditions.

Why Brides Carry Bouquets

For the same reason we have them at funerals: to fight the stink. Or as Nacho would say, "They are eh stinkeh."
Back in the day, people didn't bathe all that much. Cram them in a little space for a long, sweat inducing ceremony with layers of clothes and the wedding party's ripeness can overwhelm their loveliness. Solution: include some nice smelling flowers to mask it.
I also would wager that some cultures had them for the fertility symbolism that flowers represent, but this is more speculation.

Why the Groomsman Stand Where They Do

It seems that the secret Vegas run wedding isn't a new tradition. Save when you ran off with a lady in days of yore, there were consequences. Some weddings included such dialogue as:

"I challenge you to a duel for that lady!"

"What ho, knave! She is mine."

"Nay I say! You absconded her and I will not let her be taken!"

"Then prepared to be run through by my best man while yon priest finishes my hasty nuptials!"

[Best man draws sword and proceeds to defend groom]

Hence the groomsmen stand on a side where it is easier to draw a sword from their left hip and begin to battle for their mate's right to keep the lady. Talk about wingmen.

Why Brides Throw the Bouquet and Garter

A bride's clothes and bouquet were considered good luck, so after a wedding people would be eager to tear off a piece of the bride's outfit. To distract the dress-mongers, the brides began throwing bouquets and garters. The luck seeking guests would now have something else to gather without taking the bride's gown apart.

For the record, if anyone tries to tear a piece of my gown off after the ceremony, I will distract them with a punch to the face instead of a group of posies or lace.

Why We Have Honeymoons

Much like our duel situation, sometimes the bride's family and friends weren't real big on the marriage. After couples married in secret, the bride would be absconded for a month (a moon) to a hidden location. The honey part might be from the tradition of drinking honeyed mead during this time to celebrate and increase fertility.

Why We Wear the Ring on the 4th Left Finger

This one has a little more debate. The explanation I like best is Ancient Egyptians believed this finger/vein was the one that ran directly to the heart.


Well, that's all I have thus far, but I hope you enjoyed today's little history lesson. Especially you, Kappa Katie, my homegirl who has been reading my blog religiously. And Kaitlynn, the only soul who comments and makes me feel special.

If you feel you deserve a shout out for being a devotee, let me know why ;) .

Next entry is going to be about my day of planners and schedules, so stay tuned.


  1. I commented earlier too! I love all your stuff. The colors are fabulous, it like a candy store. The wedding traditions are magnifico, good job Heatherly. Lovey

  2. aww thanks for the shout! And I prided myself on knowledge of wedding traditions but the groomsmen/wingmen thing was new for me! Make sure Chaz's best man is packin'!

  3. Are you sure you aren't a secret History major? I'm pretty sure you are.

    What the wedding custom of:
    Something old, something new
    Something borrowed, something blue
    And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

  4. That's interesting; I like the part about the groomsmen. I knew their purpose, but I never connected it with what side men kept their swords on for a quickdraw.
    As for the rings, I think it actually differs by country; in the UK they sometimes follow old Roman traditions and put the wedding ring on the middle finger, not the fourth finger, for the same reasons--supposedly, the vein from there ran all the way to the heart.
    Of course, medically speaking, ALL veins technically connect to the heart.

    Oh, and just in case you're wondering, this is Jen Chou from Philly.

  5. Jen Chou!

    Well, one girl, I looked around for word on the something old, something new, rhyme. Apart from the blue aspect, I didn't know the answer from a book so I had to use the interwebs, which I generally don't trust ;-) .

    It seems something old, something new and something borrowed aspect has various interpretations. So I can't give a solid answer on that. General consensus says it has to do with old friends, family and new beginnings.

    However the sixpence in the shoe is a British custom by way of Scotland. A coin in the shoe was good luck.

    The color blue on the other hand has been associated with love and fidelity in Roman times, and fidelity in Jewish tradition. So it means the bride won't stray.

    Interesting stuff!