Wedding traditions date back thousands of years; experts believe the ceremony itself to be over 4,000 years old. That’s over 4,000 years of old wedding traditions, many of which have been forgotten.
Once humans discovered agriculture and began settling down in more permanent social groups, families began sprouting roots. Before institutional, organized religion even existed, marriage arose as a way to organize these social groups. Some of their old traditions are worth throwing out, like women becoming male property, but others are quite interesting.
To hear more about some of these old-fashioned wedding traditions, check out the list below.
1. Writing a Love Letter
One of the sweetest wedding traditions not often practiced today is for the bride and groom to write one another a letter before the big day. A wedding day letter might seem redundant after writing wedding vows, but they actually have different purposes. Couples should keep these letters unopened until their first anniversary.
Wedding vows should contain promises and a bit of humor, while wedding letters can contain more personal, private anecdotes. Wedding letters should describe how the couple made it to their wedding day and their personal feelings.
2. Wedding Cake Charms
This is one of those old southern wedding traditions that should still be embraced by any bride or groom from the South. Also known as cake pulls, it involves charms with fortunes inside that are placed inside the wedding cake, which guests pull out before the cake is cut.
The charms themselves can take many different shapes, each with its own meaning for the guests. For example, a guest who pulls a heart charm has a fortune of new love.
3. The Handfasting Ceremony
Handfasting is the literal practice of tying a knot around the bride and groom’s hands during the wedding ceremony. This old Celtic tradition originated in Scotland hundreds of years ago, but “tying the knot” is still a phrase commonly used today.
4. Custom Wedding Coins
The tradition of custom wedding coins dates back to Ancient Rome, when a bride and groom used to break a gold or silver coin into two equal pieces to symbolize their partnership. In other cultures, specifically Latin or Catholic, they may place a number of coins into a decorated box.
5. Fun Send-Offs
It’s not uncommon to see fun send-offs in old movies featuring weddings. Typically, the bride and groom ride off together in a fancy car with “Just Married” written on the back window, maybe with some tin cans hanging from the bumper.
In fact, there are many fun ways to make a grand exit; everything from releasing doves to throwing flower petals.
Try These Old Wedding Traditions
History buffs are sure to love these old wedding traditions, but every culture has some that speak to the identity of the bride or groom’s family. The weird wedding traditions can be skipped over, but it’s worth considering ways to highlight the unique cultural features this couple brings to their relationship.
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