Unearthing The Wedding Traditions
One thing we love about weddings is the fact that they marry various elements and traditions to create uniquely memorable occasions. In fact, you could say that weddings are all about celebrating love and tradition.
From the wedding process to the white wedding dress and tiered wedding cake; the big day is not only an affair filled with pomp and celebration but one that's also shrouded in tradition. There are origins behind just about every beloved wedding tradition but most brides will agree that the fun part is making them as uniquely yours.
You can as well choose to skip the traditions, remake them, or settle for a few sentimental ones to spice up your nuptials. Whichever the case, you can't go wrong by embracing some of the time-honoured wedding traditions.
Popular American Wedding Traditions & Their Origins
This is a highly diverse world, and there's no set way to have weddings. Traditions also vary from one couple to the next based on factors like origin, culture, preferences, religion, and lifestyle. Some betrothed folks prefer to adhere to ancient traditions while others feel that it's best to give some aspects a modern twist or entirely skip others.
With that said, there are lists of treasured American wedding traditions that most couples still prefer to honour during their big day. It’s fair to note that they are not all American-centric traditions but simply popular practices that are honoured by most couples.
Wearing a White Wedding Dress
Almost every American bride chooses to walk down the aisle wearing a white wedding dress. It's one of the time-honoured elements that's borrowed from across the pond. England's Queen Victoria is credited for shaping and popularising the bridal ensemble as we know it. When she exchanged vows with Prince Albert in 1840, she wore a beautiful silk-and lace-made white dress.
Her gorgeous ensemble included a long satin train and it's reported that 12 attendants were at hand to help her get down the aisle. It wasn't long before every European bride was wearing a similar ensemble for their big day, and soon enough, the trend transcended borders in no time.
The Wedding Procession
Most American weddings include a procession where members of the wedding party walk down the aisle in a certain order. In most cases, the officiant is the first to walk down the aisle followed by the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and then the flower girl(s) and ring bearer(s). The groom is then escorted by his parents to the altar, and lastly, the bride follows suit escorted by her parents as well.
In some weddings, the bride is only escorted by her father down the aisle while other nuptials see the wife-to-be walked to the altar by both parents. This is yet another tradition that has roots in England, and it is first traced back to when Queen Victoria's eldest child walked down the aisle.
The Wedding Party
Yet another common American wedding tradition you'll witness in most weddings is the presence of a wedding party. Traditionally, 10 witnesses in total stood by the bride and groom's side as required by Ancient Roman law. In some cases, they were people who were not related or even known to the couple.
The women would stand by the bride's side and they all wore similar outfits to confuse the evil spirits of the day that were always lurking around at weddings waiting to attack the happy couple. These days, it's entirely up to each couple to decide who they want to be part of their wedding party and how many bridesmaids or groomsmen should be part of their big day.
In the case of bridesmaids and groomsmen, they are often an instrumental part of putting together the big day. They are also the group tasked with organising pre-wedding gatherings like bachelorette and stag parties.
The Wedding Cake
A tiered white wedding cake is often the grand presentation at most wedding receptions. The centrepiece does take many forms these days in terms of flavour, embellishments, and overall look. However, the bride and groom feeding each other pieces of cake is a tradition that has stood the test of time.
On some occasions, smushing cake on one another's faces is part of the tradition. It originates from ancient Rome when folks would crumble a wheat scone or small barley cake over the wife-to-be's head. It symbolised good fortune and fertility. In medieval times, merrymakers kissed over a large tower of scones and cookies. If the stack stays intact, it symbolises good fortune.
Burying the Bourbon
Burying the bourbon is a quintessentially Southern wedding tradition that most American couples choose to honour. A rainy day is one of the ominous things that could potentially put a damper on the big day. That's where the tradition of burying the bourbon comes in because it's believed to be an added measure in the hopes of having a bright, sunny wedding.
Those who swear by the Southern myth say that if done correctly it guarantees a couple the pleasure of enjoying a rain-free wedding. The betrothed folks are meant to visit their wedding venue precisely a month leading up to their big day. They should then proceed to bury a bottle of bourbon in an upside-down position. It also has to be a full bottle of bourbon, and yes it should be buried in an upside-down position.
The size of the bottle doesn't really matter but it's safe to go for a bigger-sized bottle. Obviously, you'll want to get permission first before going about digging the wedding grounds. It's also a moment worth capturing and a few friends as well as a photographer should be present for the auspicious occasion.
Last but not least, remember precisely where you buried the bottle and dig it up after your rain-free ceremony to share with guests during the reception. On the off chance that the age-old tradition doesn't work and the skies open up, dig up the bottle of bourbon either way and enjoy it with guests. After all, rain is still considered a sign of good luck!
southern wedding tradition: burying the burbon
From No Tran Photography – “It never fails here in the south, Georgia particularly that rain will parade on your wedding day! The idea for this inspirational shoot comes from a southern tradition, Burying the Bourbon.”
From No Tran Photography – “Tradition has it that if the couple buries a bottle of bourbon, one month before the wedding day, at the location of the ceremony site, it will not rain on the wedding day. I’m not quite sure how accurate that truly is but I’m totally for digging up the bottle of bourbon on the day of the wedding and toasting loudly to the couple, CHEERS!
There are even a few variations of this folklore. To bury it upside down, that it must be a full unopened bottle and even burying it on a nice pretty day (that’s to say if the weather permits) so that you’ll have that kind of day when the big event arrives!”
“Whitney of Whitewood Events approached me with the idea of Burying the Bourbon as an inspiration for a wedding, editorial and I was all for it. Joining us as the Medellin Bride and Groom was Christopher and Melody Munn. They are quite the charismatic couple. Christopher rocked his up do bun and Melody charmed us with her captivating beauty, as always.”
Floral Recipe for the bridal bouquet Gardenia Floral Design:
“Lenten roses, hybrid Anemone, maidenhair fern, white Astrantia, sword fern, dusty miller & Italian Ruscus combined for a textural, unusual late winter/early spring bouquet for the bride, and a complementing boutonniere for the groom!”
From No Tran Photography – “A greenhouse is such a unique place to have a ceremony. Since greenhouse venues are not as open to the public, this is a great idea and a backdrop for a small and intimate wedding, maybe even an elopement. I love all the lush green and the different varying plants. It was a natural backdrop that didn’t need much help from our simple human hands.
As a nod to spring we decided to add pops of pink and soft yellows, but still keeping small appearances of winter to show the transition. As you look around you can see the beginnings of spring and new blossoms awaiting. The rain is much-needed for this process. But we definitely don’t want rain on the wedding day so why not bury the bourbon and wish the rain away?!”
See another breathtakingly beautiful wedding inspiration shoot from No Tran Photography here.
Credits: Photography: Noi Tran Photography // Planning & Styling: WhiteWood Events // Petit Fours: Petit Fours Y’all // Wedding Invitation Suite: Wedding Paper Divas // Calligraphy: Lairsey Paper Co. // Hair & Makeup: House of Lux // Dress Designer: Sarah Seven // Bridal Dress Boutique: Ivory & Beau // Models: Christopher and Melody Munn // Bridal Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell // Florist: Gardenia Floral Design // Groom’s Jacket and Vest: The Modern Gent // Bridal Jewelry and Rings: Aurum Studios // Groom’s Bow Tie: Brackish Bowties // Film Scans: Photovision Prints // Venue: Goodness Grows in Lexington Georgia.