Weddings have always been steeped in tradition, serving as a timeless celebration of love and commitment. Over the centuries, countless customs and rituals have shaped the way we celebrate this special occasion. However, as society evolves and cultural practices change, certain wedding traditions that were once commonplace have gradually faded away. In this blog post, we will delve into the bygone wedding traditions of the past that are no longer observed, shedding light on the fascinating ways in which weddings have transformed through time.

  1. Tossing Rice: Tossing rice for newlyweds was a popular tradition believed to symbolize fertility, prosperity, and good luck. Guests would shower the couple with rice as they made their grand exit. However, concerns arose regarding the potential harm to birds that consumed uncooked rice. As a result, this tradition has been replaced with alternatives like bubbles, confetti, or bird-friendly options.
  2. Bride Kidnapping: Originating in ancient cultures, bride kidnapping involved the groom, sometimes with the assistance of friends, playfully abducting the bride-to-be. Though not a malicious act, it has understandably fallen out of favour due to its problematic nature and lack of consent. Nowadays, consent and mutual agreement are the foundation of modern marriages.
  3. Dowries: The practice of dowries involved the bride’s family providing a substantial financial or material contribution to the groom or his family as part of the marriage contract. It was seen as a way to ensure the bride’s security in her new household. Fortunately, the notion of dowries as a transaction has gradually diminished in most parts of the world, as marriages are now based on love and equality.
  4. Black Wedding Dresses: In Western cultures, it was customary for brides to wear black dresses as a symbol of modesty and respect. This tradition gradually faded away with the rise of the white wedding dress trend popularized by Queen Victoria in the mid-19th century. White gowns now represent purity and innocence, while black dresses are associated with mourning or formal evening wear.
  5. Throwing the Garter: The act of the groom removing the bride’s garter and tossing it to the male guests was once a raucous tradition. It symbolized the transfer of good fortune from the bride to the lucky bachelor who caught it. Nowadays, many couples opt out of this practice due to its sometimes uncomfortable or awkward nature, choosing to focus on more inclusive and lighthearted activities.
  6. Calling Banns: Calling banns was a formal announcement of an upcoming wedding made by the church during Sunday services, ensuring that no legal impediments existed for the couple to marry. With changes in legal requirements and the shift toward civil ceremonies, this tradition has become obsolete in many places, with couples simply obtaining a marriage license.
  7. Wedding Feasts and “The Bride’s Ale”: Historically, wedding feasts were lavish, multi-day celebrations filled with music, dancing, and copious amounts of food and drink. The concept of “The Bride’s Ale” referred to the custom of brewing a special beer to commemorate the wedding. While modern weddings still include receptions and food, the extravagant scale and specific brewing traditions have largely vanished.

As we journey through time, we witness the evolution of wedding traditions, each era leaving its unique mark on the celebration of love and union. While some customs have stood the test of time, others have gradually faded away, replaced by practices that align with contemporary values and sensibilities. Embracing change allows us to honour the past while crafting weddings that reflect the diverse and ever-changing world we live in today.