Whether you're getting married onboard, taking a honeymoon cruise, or planning a shipboard vow renewal, we - the "cruise cupids" at 7 Blue Seas - think you'd like to hear something on the evolution of marriage traditions. Are these findings absolutely historically accurate? Maybe yes, maybe no. Regardless, they're fun to read up on whether you're ready to pop the question or pop the champagne cork on your 50th wedding anniversary!
Tying the Knot:
This expression comes from an ancient Roman custom that involved tying the bride up in knotted garments and then having the groom untie her. (We don't make this stuff up!) These clothing articles aren't available aboard any ship or included in any cruise line "wedding package" we're aware of, so if you're a wedding purist, we suggest you bring along your own suitable "cruisewear!"
Tossing the Bouquet/Garter:
It was once believed that a swatch of fabric from a wedding dress would bring luck to anyone in its possession. As a result, people would tear the bride's dress to shreds (after the ceremony, it is assumed). But brides who preferred to keep their dresses intact eventually began tossing other articles of clothing or accessories at their eager guests. The guests got their good luck charms and the wedding dresses survived!
Legend has it that the custom of giving a bride gifts before the wedding started in Holland where a poor girl had no dowry to help start her new household. However, the current name for these parties stems from an 1890's high-society gathering where one of the bride's friends hid small gifts inside a closed parasol. When the bride opened the parasol the gifts "showered" upon her. The society pages of a fashion magazine picked up the story and the name stuck.
Multi-tiered Wedding Cake:
One Elizabethan wedding tradition involved stacking a tower of cakes as high as possible. The bride and groom, standing at opposite sides of this teetering structure, would then be asked to a kiss. The idea, of course, was to lean around the cakes and complete the kiss without toppling the stack. Fortunately - and maybe not coincidentally - the full tradition seems to have come to a close about the time cake frosting arrived! But the stacked, or "multi-tiered" cake remains!
Tying Shoes to the Back of the Couple's "Getaway" Car:
In yet another English custom, the wedding was concluded with guests throwing shoes at the couple's departing carriage. If the vehicle or either passenger were struck it was considered good luck for the union. Words of Caution: For a shipboard wedding, it's unlikely the ship's officers will allow guests to tie old, smelly sneakers to the aft of their getaway vessel. This is one tradition you'll have to leave ashore - and no doubt the fish will thank you for it, too!
For his boutonniere the groom uses a flower also found in the bridal bouquet. This harkens back to a medieval knight wearing his lady's colors as a token of love.
This stems from a French tradition of putting morsels of bread in the bottom of the bride and groom's champagne glass. Each of them must then raise the glass and empty it. The first one to get to the "toast" at the bottom was believed to have more power in the new relationship. A short "speech" often preceded the contest. Bottoms up!
Something Old. The original theme was actually "old friends" - not material memorabilia. Something old represented a desire for the bride and groom to stay close with their childhood friends after their marriage.
Something New. Something new expresses hope for the couple's future health and happiness.
Something Borrowed: Something borrowed refers to a family heirloom presented to the bride as a token of her parent's love. The same "borrowed" heirlooms are often passed from mother to daughter down through the generations.
Something Blue: Blue symbolizes purity and fidelity. In times of yore the bottom hems of the bride and groom's wedding outfits would often feature blue ribbons.
OK, so why the white wedding dress? The bride's wearing of a white wedding dress is actually a relatively recent tradition. Prior to the 1840s, purple and blue - and even gray - were actually the favored colors. But when Queen Victoria wedded Prince Albert in 1840, she wore a gown of white satin, thus kicking off a new tradition!