The Unique Origins Of Wedding Traditions 

Every milestone in life comes with traditions reflecting on culture and practices with the hope of bringing good fortune. The biggest day of anyone’s life is their wedding and we explore cultural backgrounds that are the foundation of wedding traditions.
One of the earliest developed wedding traditions is the honeymoon with origins from Ancient Norse that is actually based around real honey and a traditional form of fermented alcoholic known as mead. The story behind the honeymoon starts with raw honey that the bride’s father would make mead from honey for an amount that would last one whole month.
Ancient Norse newlyweds would go into hiding following the wedding and a family member would bring the couple a cup of honey wine for 30 days (or one moon) that coined the phrase honeymoon. This tradition created the term honeymoon that has been carried on through the ages in modern weddings.
A bride wearing a white wedding dress has several interpretations through history with the most common one insinuating wearing white was a sign of the bride’s purity but was more about making a fashion statement. The first popular white wedding gown was worn by Queen Victoria of England in 1840 that resulting in other brides following the trend of literally dressing like a queen.

No wedding dress is complete without a wedding veil with the origins often cited in cases of arranged marriages in which the bride and groom would meet for the first time at the altar. The purpose of the veil was to prevent the groom from seeing the bride which could result in backing out of the marriage.
Historians also propose the wedding veil has roots from Ancient Rome with the belief that the bride might attract evil spirits on the wedding day. In Roman and Greek culture, the veil was believed to protect the bride from evil spirits that were believed to impact the marriage before saying “I do.”
The engagement ring is symbolic in many ways starting with the ring finger as it was once thought the fourth finger on the left hand held a vein that led directly to the heart. The engagement ring was once a simple band for the finger but thanks to a clever marketing campaign by the international diamond industry leader, De Beers.
Amid the financial turmoil during the Great Depression, in 1938 the founder’s son of De Beers, Harry Oppenheimer, addressed the dwindling diamond industry with some clever marketing tactics by hiring the New York-based ad agency N.W. Ayer. By the late 1940s, Ayers came up with a marketing slogan that established the status symbol of a diamond engagement ring that you have probably heard of, “A Diamond Is Forever.” 

Along with this historic marketing campaign, De Beers was actively manipulating the supply and demand of diamonds to control, thus increasing the value that revived the diamond industry to thrive. De Beers’ wholesale diamond profits soared from $23 million in 1939 to $2.1 billion by 1979 and the company’s marketing budget increased from $200,000 to $10 million a year over those four decades.
De Beers created a great advantage in the market with an ad campaign that sold the idea of a forever diamond that promises endless companionship and romance, but a forever diamond is characterized as never being resold. DeBeers model made it easy to sell new diamonds but nearly impossible to resell due to the fluctuations in diamond prices (controlled by De Beers) resulting in the public undermining the confidence in the intrinsic value of diamonds. This model resulted in another wedding tradition of passing down wedding rings within families that holds more personal than financial value.
Another wedding tradition for the bride is to wear something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue with the origin traced back to an old English rhyme and each piece has its own symbolic meaning in marriage. Something old for continuity, something new represents future optimism, something borrowed that lent happiness, and something blue representing fidelity, purity, and love.