Wedding traditions

By definition a tradition is ‘a long-established custom or belief that has been passed on from one generation to another’, and when planning your wedding, there are lots of different traditions to consider. Some of these, over time, have become less popular as brides and grooms strive for their wedding day to be individual, while others are still as popular as ever as they have become as common as having a wedding cake.

Whether you choose to stick to them all or decide to add a modern spin to incorporate your own style and personality, there really is something special about following the traditions your family has. It is after all, how traditions are made!

I will talk you through some of the most popular traditions today, and how you may wish to include them in your big day.

Starting with the most popular tradition of all time (and my favourite), is the well known saying ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe’, which dates back to Victorian times.

Something old:

This represents the bride’s family and their history. An easy and popular way to include this in your day is to wear a piece of jewellery that has been handed down from an older relative.

Something new:

This represents good fortune and success in married life. Often the bride’s wedding dress is chosen for this, although proving more popular each year is a gift from the groom which is given on the morning of the wedding.

Something borrowed:

This represents the support the couple has around them and reminds them their friends and family will always be there for them. This could include the veil, jewellery and hair accessories.

Something blue:

This represents faithfulness and loyalty. The most popular choice for this is for the bride’s garter to be blue, although the newest trends for this are to have your wedding date sewn underneath your dress in blue cotton, or even blue shoes.

A silver sixpence in her shoe:

This represents wishes of wealth and happiness for the couple.

Making your big entrance can be a scary thought, without the pressures of deciding which timeless traditions to follow too. The two biggest choices to consider in this area are: who will give the bride away, and the order in which the bride and bridesmaids will make their entrance.

There are a handful of traditions surrounding this area, which are all commonly followed, and here are the reasons behind them.

Not seeing the bride:

It is considered to be bad luck if the groom sees the dress before the big day. It’s also considered bad luck if he sees the bride before she walks down the aisle.

The big entrance:

Traditionally the bride enters on the right-hand arm of her father, ahead of the bridesmaids. More recently the bridesmaids enter first to build excitement for the arrival of the bride.

Which side to stand:

The bride stands on the left of the groom during the ceremony, this is to allow his sword arm to be free to fight off other suitors and to protect his bride.

Other traditions include:


The tradition of giving guests a gift to remember the day by, and the form of favours has been around for hundreds of years. Traditionally, each guest received five sugar coated almonds to symbolise health, wealth, fertility, happiness and long-life. In recent years, couples have chosen to give alternative gifts such as chocolates, sweets, lottery tickets and candles.

Brides wedding bouquet:

Traditionally thrown, it’s said that whoever catches it will be the next to get married. More recently, this has started to be less popular as bride’s are choosing to keep their bouquet to preserve.

Top table:

Traditionally the top table order is: chief bridesmaid, groom’s father, bride’s mother, the groom, the bride, bride’s father, groom’s mother and best man. Nowadays, this tradition is mixed up to accommodate different families. The sweetheart table has also proved popular, seating just the bride and groom.


Traditionally three speeches are given after the wedding breakfast. The father of the bride welcomes guests and the groom into the family, he finishes with a toast to the newlyweds.

The groom responds by thanking the bride’s parents and his own on behalf of both himself and his new wife. He thanks those involved in the wedding including the bridesmaids and best man.

The best man concludes the speeches, usually the longest and most amusing speech, providing stories about the groom.

Whether you choose to follow some or all of the traditions, its important to try and personalise them so that they mean something to you and your family, they may even end up being handed down to future generations. But most of all, enjoy them, they are traditions to be enjoyed!

Sarah x