Old Wedding Customs and Traditions, Some Updated for the Modern Bride and Groom

Old Wedding Customs and Traditions, Some Updated for the Modern Bride and Groom

Most cultures celebrate the love, devotion and commitment called wedding, with unique customs and traditions. Because the wedding is a wonderful and touching event, brides and grooms want both ceremony and reception to be personalized and unique to them. Thus, they look for meaningful experiences and often adopt customs and traditions of cultures other than their own.

In this article you’ll read specifically about the wedding cake(s) and how they evolved, traditional anticipated and acceptable wedding money game, and interesting customs relating to wedding attire.

bride or wedding cake

The wedding cake tradition goes back many centuries to ancient times. Originally it represented fertility. Ancient Romans would cake was made of wheat or barley. Though the actual procedure is unclear, the custom was to break it over the bride’s head as a symbol of her fertility. Like just about anything else, the wedding cake evolved over time. Since the Roman wedding cake has passed various transitions. One of the major ones is that of stacking several cakes of different sizes atop one another, as tall as possible. The challenge was for the bride and groom to kiss over this tower without knocking it over. Another important transition occurred when the cake became palatable, iced and decorated. In modern times, the cake has a cake top that represents the bride and groom, their interests or wedding theme and even children. Traditionally the top layer of the cake is to be placed in the freezer and eaten on the first anniversary.


Southern wedding tradition enriched the wedding scene with A cake for the groom. Originally, Southern Belles ordered special single layer cakes for their beaus. Today it has become an integral part many weddings. However, this cake that is usually frosted in a dark color (chocolate is a popular choice) and represent his personality or interests, is usually kept secret. The groom who does not suspect that there will be a cake in his honor is often surprised to discover it at the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception.


With more and more FAMILY weddings, it has become quite popular for brides and grooms who have children to have a special single layer cake for the children. These cake designated to the kids in the wedding, are often frosted in their favorite colors and topped with a cake top that depicts a family. Many parents add inscriptions. Some choice inscriptions are:

  • The first names of all – children, bride and groom and the wedding date
  • Today we are a family – and wedding date.
  • A family since – Date of wedding Date
  • Welcome to the family – Love mom and… or Dad and… or first names and date.

    This cake may be served to their friends.

  • Auction Anyone?

    At the wedding reception in the upper Midwestern states, the best man – not the groom – auctions the garter instead of tossing it .He carries a hat around the reception site and guests put dollar bills in it. The bills are counted and the amount of money accumulated revealed. A specified time frame is announced and after it has elapsed, the best man gives the garter to the last person to put money in the hat. This and the money dance, raise money for the honeymoon and / or establishing a home.

    Another fun idea that is perfect for outdoors weddings is the Picnic Basket auction. Remember the movie “Oklahoma”?

    Money Dance

    Originating from most European countries, the Money Dance has become so popular across all weddings that a special Purse – Money Bag is one of the items present with the wedding accessories collection. Called in the USA the Dollar Dance, is where male guests “pay” to dance with the bride. Various methods are used by different cultures. In some, the bride carries a Purse and the dancers place monetary bills in it, in others the dancers pin the bills on the wedding gown, yet in others, the maid of honor wears an apron and collects the money given by the guests to dance with the bride. In all traditions, the guests are expected to be generous when “paying” for a dance with the bride. since the money collected is to be used by the newly weds on their honeymoon and for setting a household.

    The money dance is so widely accepted as an integral part of a wedding, that most guests anticipate that it will be included in the celebration providing a way for brides and grooms to generate cash without requesting or even suggesting money as wedding gifts.

    NOTE: We at A-wedding Day have received many inquiries regarding the proper way to ask wedding guests to give money instead of gifts. The answer to ALL was the same. There is NO proper way. It is tacky if and in bad taste. DO NOT do it!!!


    Brides in many Latin-American countries wear a light blue slip beneath their dresses.
    In many Latin-American countries as well as in in many Latin-American countries the flower girls and ring bearer may be dressed as miniature versions of the bride and groom.

    Brides from Eastern Europe tend to wear a floral wreath rather than a tiara or crown. In fact, in a traditional Greek wedding, gold crowns but more often wreathes made of orange blossoms connected by silk ribbon, are placed on the heads of both bride and groom, considered king and queen for the day. They wear them throughout their entire wedding day.

    In Hawaiian weddings, both the bride and the groom dress in pure white, with the groom wearing either a red sash or a black cloth belt tied around his waist. Both bride and groom also wear flower leis, which symbolize love and respect. Each flower lei consists of 40 to 50 fresh flowers strung on a colorful ribbon and are one of the oldest symbols of Hawaiian culture.


    The wedding veil which today is sheer, originated centuries ago and was not sheer. One theory is that the veil stems from the days when the Groom and his friends, the Groomsmen, would throw a blanket over the Brides head when he captured her.

    Another theory is that, during the time of arranged marriages, the Brides face was kept covered until after the ceremony. That way, the Groom was committed, and could not run off if he was disappointed in her looks.

    In some cultures the veil is worn to protect the Bride from evil spirits that might be floating around.

    There is also a reason why the veil is sheer. It goes back to the biblical story of Jacob who married Leah instead of his beloved Rachel. The custom of the day was for the groom to lift the bride’s head and face covering after the marriage ceremony. Since Leah wore a cloth covering, Laban, Rachel and Leah’s father, “switched”” brides as he wanted the oldest daughter to be the first to marry. So unbeknown to him Jacob was marrying the wrong bride.