5 Unique Variations of Classic Wedding Traditions

Weddings are shrouded in tradition.

There are iconic moments that we’ve come to accept as part of the quintessential wedding, guests expect to see a first dance and the cutting of the cake. Nowadays, ceremonies and receptions are as unique as each couple to be wed.

Couples pick and choose which traditions fit with their values and beliefs and incorporate them as they see fit. These traditions are often rooted in ancient history and mythology. I’ve picked five classic traditions to explore deeper and demystify, showing some fun and unique adaptations of these classic traditions from real weddings.

Photo by  Jen Lee Light

Photo by Jen Lee Light

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

I have long wondered the significance of the four phrases "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue."

Traditionally “something old” represents the bride's past, “something new” symbolizes the couple's future, “something borrowed” should come from a happily married family member to cast good luck upon the bride, and the “something blue” represents fidelity and love.

Kaitlin’s birthday and wedding date are in September and she knew she wanted to wear blue sapphires, September’s birthstone, on her wedding day. Kaitlin and her mother were looking through her Grandma Anne’s jewelry collection and realized that her sapphire tennis bracelet was the perfect accessory for Kaitlin’s special day. She managed to get her something old, something new (to her!), something borrowed, and something blue in one foul swoop!

Bridal Bouquet 

Bridal bouquets date back to Ancient Greece. Brides would carry a bundle of garlic, herbs, and spices. Sage was often included to represent wisdom.

Today bridal bouquets are a wonderfully varied mix of creative and traditional. I’ve seen beautiful bouquets of succulents, buttons, and paper flowers.

Kali wanted to honor her great grandmother by replicating her cascading 1940s style wedding bouquet. Kali, her mom, and her bridesmaids created all of the bouquets and arrangements for the reception and the ceremony. On the morning of the wedding, Kali was surprised with a stunning bouquet of white hydrangeas, blush roses, white peonies, and stephanotis.

Ring Bearer

It is hard to identify the origin of the ring bearer tradition.

Some say it began in Ancient Egypt where it was customary for a young boy to carry jewels on an ornamental pillow during the wedding ceremony. Others say the tradition originated during medieval times when Northern Europeans would present the wedding ring to the bride on the tip of a sword! Nowadays, couples typically pick a ring bearer who is either a family member or close family friend who is usually about 4-10 years old to carry their rings down the aisle.

Erin and Darryl said "I do" last summer at the NW Maritime Center and chose to have their beloved dog Axel be the ring bearer for their nautical ceremony!

The First Kiss

The origin of the first kiss dates back to a custom where the priest would give a holy "kiss of peace" to the groom and then the groom would pass the kiss to the bride. This was a blessing of the marriage inside the church.

Nowadays the first kiss is the magic moment we all wait for. We dab away our happy tears as the couple exchanges beautiful promises and then that special phrase “You may now seal your vows with a kiss” is iterated in one way or another. It is a beautiful moment of joy, love, and bliss.  

Dale and Miko recently shared this magical moment at their beautiful ceremony at Semiahmoo Resort!

Exchanging of Wedding Rings

The history of the wedding band is interesting and complex. Dating back to ancient Egypt, rings have been a symbol to pledge your love to your partner. It is widely believed that the Romans who linked the ring to marriage, most commonly with a "fede" ring, depicting two hands clasping in love or agreement.

The wedding ring is an iconic symbol of marriage and it is such a joy to be a part of such a historic tradition that nowadays couples truly make their own. I love working with couples in love to help them design and create heirloom wedding rings.

Sources: Sapphire Event Group, Martha Stewart Weddings, Southern Living, Babble