American wedding traditions – Ah, weddings. A time for us to suit up, watch our loved ones make one of the biggest decisions in their life, and get rip-roaring drunk while the DJ plays “Shout!” It seems like everyone is getting married these days, and after attending so many weddings, you’ve probably picked up on some of the wedding traditions people still use today.
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Most of these seem pretty quaint and reasonable, but other traditions are just plain weird. Weddings are as old as time itself; they happen in every culture, in every language, in every denomination. While most weddings follow a pretty standard, generic outline, our melting pot culture has collected thousands of traditions that we still use today. Whatever wedding you go to, wherever you are, you’re bound to see some pretty weird things. Have you ever wondered why the groom throws a garter? Or why only the bride is allowed to wear white?
Even some of the not-so-weird traditions are actually pretty weird. Having bridesmaids and a best man may seem like a normal idea, but the sordid history behind bridesmaids and best men is anything but normal. Carrying the bride over the threshold may seem romantic, but the origins of this tradition are far from romantic. Somehow, these traditions have withstood the test of time. Sure, men no longer pay for their brides with precious stones (at least, not in the U.S.), but they still give their fiancées diamond rings (you’ll think about that next time you ask a girl to marry you, won’t you?). From the seemingly normal to the completely bizarre, we’ve compiled a list of the weirdest tradition weddings and what they mean.
15. “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue”
If you’ve lived in the US, chances are you’ve heard this phrase before–whether from an older female relative or from that one episode of Friends. Traditionally, a bride had to have something that fit each of the criteria in order for her to have good luck at her wedding and, symbolically, a happy marriage. The “something old” is supposed to represent continuity with the past while the “something new” is supposed to represent the new life upon which the bride and groom are embarking. The “something borrowed” traditionally meant the undergarments of a woman who had previously been blessed with children so as to bestow the same fertility upon the new bride. Today, it can be anything, and thank goodness for that–no one wants to wear Aunt Caroline’s panties. The “something blue” is a little more dubious, but most historians have attributed it to the wearing of a blue garter–possibly also the borrowed undergarment meant to bestow fertility. Many garters today are still blue.