Weddings and wedding planning are such serious affairs that we often get ourselves entangled in the detail of it and lose sight of what the ceremony is all about. I’m as guilty of that as the next person, which is why our post today is slightly less serious and much less about the wedding itself and more about the tradition of weddings.

So sit back, relax, forget about which flower goes with which, or where to sit everyone at the dinner. Read this article and learn a little more about weddings in general, it won’t help with the plans, but it will show you why weddings are important and why they are structured the way they are.

1. Wedding Locations

You can now get married almost anywhere in the UK. With relaxation in the law a few years ago, you can get married in a church, Register Office, meeting house, prison, hospital, a hotel, football stadium or any religious building.

The rules state that the building has to be permanent, normally open to the public and be some kind of structure. That’s why stately homes, castles and hotels are more popular than the beach or your local woods. Only a few councils would ever agree to licence the beach for a wedding.

Other countries have far fewer rules and will allow weddings almost anywhere. Travel to the Caribbean or Latin America and beach weddings are commonplace. Visit Florida if you want to get married underwater or North Africa if a hot air balloon is more your thing!

2. Wedding Rings

Ever wondered why your wedding ring is always on the fourth finger of the left hand? There are two theories, the first is the location of a vein and the second is for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

At some point in its early Roman history, it was thought that a vein stretched from that finger right up to the heart. The vein was referred to as ‘Vena Amoris,’ the ‘Vein of Love’ and was believed to run from that finger directly into the heart. As a bonus piece of trivia, the Romans used a wedding ring as a sign of ownership, not partnership. Good job that’s changed!

That second theory was from the early Christian period, where the priest would tap the thumb, index finger, middle finger then settle on the fourth finger while reciting ”In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

3. Colour Schemes

There are five main colour schemes that are hugely popular. So much so that they leave all other colours in the dust. While colours change with the seasons, or with whichever designer is hot right now, some have stayed the test of time.

In descending order, the most popular wedding colours of 2013 are:

Champagne gold


Navy blue



4.Bucking the Trend

After a 40 year decline, weddings are on the increase once more. In 2009, the number of weddings was at its lowest since the Victorians. Only around 233,000 wedding ceremonies were performed in that year, which was a low point of the entire last century.

In 2010, that increased to over 241,000 and three years later, it’s still climbing. With the changes in the law allowing gay couples to marry if they want to, that number is sure to keep rising.

5. The Wedding Veil

The wedding veil isn’t just a cool accessory or the ideal way to show off that perfect vintage look with lots of lace. The background to the veil is one of warding off evil.

While the specific origins are unknown, we do know that the veil was originally used to ward off the evil eye. At the same time, bridesmaids were dressed identically to the bride to confuse the evil spirits and keep them away from the bride. It’s a quaint superstition, one that gave us that finishing touch to our wedding outfit.

6. Something Old, Borrowed and Blue

The saying “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” is one of the staples of a wedding, but where did it come from? Firstly, it doesn’t end there. The full saying is “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe.”

Something old is said to represent roots, tradition and family, but the true meaning isn’t known. Something borrowed should actually be borrowed from a happily married person in the hope that their good fortune rubs off on you. You should also return it if you want that luck to remain.

Something blue is more of a mystery. Popular belief is that blue was a lucky colour in the early years of marriage, but we don’t actually know. The sixpence in her shoe is part of another myth from the Netherlands, where a bride would have a silver coin in one shoe and a gold one in the other. This symbolised the fact that the bride should never go without for the rest of her life.

7. Health and Long Life

Various surveys over the years have all concluded that married people are less stressed, healthier and live longer. While popular culture seems to contradict this, statistics support it. But and there’s always a but, the devil is in the detail. The reports all agree that married couples who get on and don’t argue are the ones who enjoy all those benefits!

8. Throwing the Bouquet

In Medieval Europe, it was customary for single women at a wedding to tear a piece off the wedding dress to act as a charm to attract their love. Understandably, brides didn’t like their dress being torn to shreds so a compromise was found. A bouquet was thrown instead to distract the female guests and to symbolise the tearing of the dress.

9. Throwing the Garter

While the girls are having all the fun with the bouquet, the groom is supposed to remove the bride’s garter and throw it to his single male guests. Whoever catches it is supposed to give it to the woman who caught the bouquet. According to superstition, it’s supposed to be their turn to marry next!

10. Throwing Rice

The throwing of rice, then confetti is an old European custom that symbolised fertility. Rice kernels are a symbol of that fertility and the couple are showered with them in order to pass that power onto them. Confetti was brought in later as churches began complaining about the mess and resultant pulp that rice created.