From tossing the bouquet to being carried over the threshold, weddings have been mired in tradition since ceremonies were first held.

But how did these traditions originate? And how many of these age-old customs are still being practised today? 

It’s hard to say because weddings are constantly evolving and changing. With the introduction of new trends, old traditions are quickly being replaced with modern customs. And while we’re fans of the more modern approach, we certainly appreciate the story and history behind some of the more ancient wedding traditions.  

Here are four customs whose origins may surprise you.  

Wedding dresses weren’t always white

According to it was Queen Victoria who started the white wedding dress trend.

While many associate the white wedding dress and veil with purity, the colour white only became popular after Queen Victoria married Prince Albert back in 1840 (which makes this trend, oh, only about 176 years old).

Apparently she simply chose a white dress because she fancied it. Of course, this went down a treat, as today white is the most popular wedding gown hue in Western cultures.

Before that, people were known to either wear their Sunday best, or blue. Blue was worn specifically among early Christians as the colour was closely associated with the Virgin Mary and represented wholesomeness.

Instead of being eaten, cakes were thrown at brides

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Sure, some couples love to playfully shove wedding cake into each other’s mouths, maybe smearing it across a cheek or a chip, but this tradition goes way back. Instead of being eaten, the first wedding cakes were thrown at brides (yes, at their faces!) to enhance their chances of fertility. The tradition itself stems from ancient Rome, where loaves of bread were broken over a bride’s head as wheat represented fertility.

READ: 5 wedding rules you don’t have to follow

Jumping the broom

According to the African American Registry the history of incorporating the act of ‘jumping over a broom’ during the wedding ceremony is said to have originated in Ghana.  This tradition is both heartbreaking and fascinating, as it is rooted in slavery.

Because slaves weren’t allowed to get married the act of jumping over a broom was implemented by African tribes to honour unions that weren’t legally recognised. In some African cultures the broom holds significant spiritual value (in many cases they are used to ward off evil spirits).

Thus, the act of jumping over a broom during a ceremony was incorporated as both a means to acknowledge the union, but also as a means to “sweep the floor clean” by starting afresh, leaving the old behind.

You know about ‘something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’ but did you know about the sixpence in the shoe?

While many brides choose to forego this age-old tradition, the ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue’ is a custom not only derived from an old English Rhyme, but associated with bringing good luck and fortune to the bride.

What you probably may not have heard of is the fact that many brides wore a sixpence in their shoe for added good luck. Today, Swedish brides are probably those closest to continuing with the tradition, except with a bit of a difference.

Instead of a sixpence, Swedish brides place one silver coin in their left shoe (gifted from her father) and one gold coin (from her mother) in their right shoe. According to this tradition blesses the couple.

Do you know of any other interesting wedding traditions? Or have you incorporated a little known tradition in your wedding? Tell us about it.