Have you ever attended a wedding ceremony and wondered why people do things a certain way during the ceremony? Maybe you’re planning your own wedding and are trying to decide which traditions to honor and which to discard.

Many wedding traditions date back hundreds or thousands of years. Over such a long period of time, the meaning behind certain traditions can get lost. Nevertheless, the original meaning behind some wedding traditions is still known. Sometimes the reason behind the tradition is superstitious, while other times, it is actually quite practical.

1. Tissue Paper in the Invitation

When you choose wedding invitations from a printing company in Asheville, some of the options include a translucent piece of tissue paper. With the advent of laser printing, this serves no real purpose. However, in the old days when invitations were printed with ink, a sheet of tissue paper inside prevented the words from smearing into illegibility.

2. The Ring Finger

Ancient Egyptians believed that a vein ran from the fourth finger of the left hand straight to the heart. That’s why married couples wear rings on those fingers. The circular shape of the ring represents a love that never ends.

3. The Wedding Bouquet

In medieval times when Europe was ravaged by the bubonic plague, certain herbs were believed to have the ability to ward off infection. Therefore, it was common for brides during that time to carry bouquets of dill and garlic to protect themselves. They would then toss the bouquet to a good friend to afford her the same protection.

4. The Garter Toss

In medieval France, a piece of a bride’s wedding dress was considered an omen of good luck. Unfortunately, people were so desperate to obtain such a prize that after the ceremony they would rush the altar and start ripping apart the bride’s clothes. Obviously, this was a frightening and disturbing experience for a bride. Eventually, tossing the garter was derived as an alternative, and it seems to have been successful at placating the mob of self-interested wedding guests.

5. Bridesmaids’ Dresses

In the past, it was the custom to dress attendants exactly the same as the bride. There was both a practical and a superstitious reason for this. In the past, commercial dyes were hard to come by, so it was easier and less expensive to dress the entire wedding party in white. Also, ancient cultures held the belief that brides were susceptible to evil spirits. Bridesmaids supposedly served as decoys so that the demons wouldn’t know which one to attack.

It’s fascinating to learn about the origin of different wedding traditions. Keep in mind, however, that when planning your own wedding, you need only incorporate the traditions that have meaning to you.