• Jordan Merlino

Something Old, Something Uniquely You

Wedding trends come and go, but many popular wedding traditions that we’re so familiar with have been around for centuries. Why do we feel so compelled to continue them during a time when weddings are continuing to become more and more modern? Should we continue them? And if so, should they be updated? Let’s delve into a few of the most popular American wedding traditions, and their origins.


Photography by Elizabeth Gibbs Photo

The Bride escorted by her father

We’re starting with a tradition that has more commonly known origins, and many women reading this likely know some of the story. Back when it was common for fathers to arrange marriages for their children, and daughters were often viewed as assets to be traded, dads walked their daughters down the aisle to their grooms who had yet to lay eyes on their brides in a similar manner to a business deal. While it certainly doesn’t have the most romantic beginnings, this is a tradition that can absolutely be updated for twenty-first century America. Now, walking the bride down the aisle is an honor that can be bestowed upon anyone that the bride feels has assisted in guiding her through life to this point. Whether that person is Dad, Mom, a step-parent, or another family member or friend, choose whomever you’d like to escort you. If those options still don’t feel quite right - walk yourself down the aisle! You are the center of attention on this day and absolutely reserve the right to be as independent as you’d like.


The wedding veil

Many people believe this tradition goes along with dads walking the bride down the aisle or serves as symbol of virginity, but it actually has a history that goes even farther back. During the Roman Empire, brides typically wore a floor-length red or orange veil that was sometimes decorated with flames or other scary embellishments to ward off evil spirits. This was all done in an attempt to shield and protect the bride so that she could safely make it down the aisle to marry her groom. Over time, the tradition evolved and wedding veils became fashion accessories primarily. While personally, I love wedding veils as they make for some beautiful photographs, they are purely for fashion. It’s not necessary to have a blusher cover your face as you walk down the aisle, or a cathedral-length veil, but if it is your style, go for it. If you have a gown with an elaborate back, or a special headpiece in mind, you may choose not to wear a veil at all; the most important part of your wedding attire is that you feel comfortable and beautiful.


The cake cutting

Perhaps the tradition with the most awkward history, cutting the wedding cake in the way we know now began in the 1500’s in England. The cake was traditionally bright white which was not only a sign of wealth, but also suggested the bride’s virginity. During these times, cakes were much smaller and not typically layered like we know them, so the bride cut the cake by herself. By cutting the cake, the bride symbolized that she would be losing her virginity that evening. See? I told you this one was awkward. As cakes became more elaborate, eventually the bride needed her new spouse’s assistance cutting and we’ve continued that tradition through today. After reading this one, do you feel the urge to update the tradition? Me too. Don’t get me wrong; I love wedding cake (let’s be honest – I love all cake), but I love when couples choose to personalize their sweet ending to the night with whatever dessert suits them best. Are you an apple pie fan? Let’s serve it up. Are you a fan of creative flavors? Don’t limit yourself to traditional white cake.


Traditions can be such a beautiful part of your wedding day, but they should never feel limiting. My wish for couples is to follow the ones that hold a special meaning to them and they feel drawn to, and to skip the ones that don’t feel meaningful. There are only 24 hours in your wedding day, don’t spend them doing tasks you don’t want to do instead of having more time to chat with your guests or kick your heels off on the dance floor. Are you ready to start building your wedding day? Click contact and let’s get started building your day – tailored to you.