The Wedding Bouquet
There are several reasons for the wedding bouquet. In ancient Poland for example, when you sprinkled sugar on the bouquet it would keep her temper sweet. For Greeks and Romans, the bouquet was a mix of garlic and herbs or grains. The garlic was used to ward off evil spirits, and the herbs or grain was to ensure a fruitful union.
Traditionally, brides didn't wear white! Up through the 18th century, most brides just wore their "Sunday best" to their wedding, including red as a favorite during the Middle Ages in Europe. Other colors were worn for symbolic reasons: blue meant constancy, green meant youth, and eventually white was worn as a symbol of purity.
One of the oldest wedding traditions, the custom of throwing rice originated with the ancient Hindus and Chinese. In these cultures, rice is the symbol of fruitfulness and prosperity. Tossing it after the ceremony was believed to bestow fertility upon the bride and groom. Eating rice and other grains was thought to guarantee health, wealth and happiness for the newlyweds. Today, rice tossing is being replaced by the more ecologically friendly birdseed tossing, because uncooked rice is damaging to birds who eat it off the church lawn.
Originally, the veil was thought to have been used to hide the bride from abductors, much like dressing the bridesmaids in similar dresses was supposed to do. But more recently it has been to romantically conceal the bride's face because it was believed what was hidden is more valuable. Another early interpretation of the veil was that it symbolized youth and virginity.
The wedding ring has traditionally been worn on the third finger of the left hand because it was believed that a vein in this finger ran directly to the heart. The third finger of the left hand has become the customary wedding-ring finger for all
The first kiss at the close of the ceremony is still very important today. Many cultures believe that when the couples kiss, they exchange spirits with their breath and with that, part of their souls are united.
The wedding cake has always played an important part in the wedding. Ancient Romans broke a cake over the bride's head to symbolize fertility or abundance. Many other cultures dropped wheat, flour or cake on the bride's head, and then ate the crumbs for good luck. The early British baked baskets of dry crackers, and every guest took one home after the wedding. In medieval times, guests brought small cakes and piled them on a table. The bride and groom then attempted to kiss over the cakes. Eventually, a young baker decided to put all the cakes together and cover them with frosting, thus the tiered wedding cake was born.