With the opening of our 1800s Replica Historic Church available for Weddings and Vow Renewals, we wanted to take a look into many common wedding traditions still performed.
Have you ever wondered why the Bride wears a white dress? Or why we eat a tiered wedding cake? Or why the Bride tosses her bouquet? Or why we host a bridal shower?
Where did these traditions come from? Why do we do them?
Join us for a multi-part mini-series as we uncover the history behind many common Wedding Traditions!
A veil is a length of cloth worn as a covering for the head and shoulders. More often worn by women, a veil may cover the face as well. A fine netting or lace is often worn by brides at their wedding.
The custom of veiling the face is as old as time and pieces of these ancient practices have come to be incorporated into today’s wedding traditions.
The ancient Greeks and Romans feared being attacked by evil spirits and tried to confuse those evil demons by hiding the bride’s face so the demons couldn’t distinguish her from the others in the room.
In the days before readily available cosmetics, people would cover their faces to protect them from the environment. Veiling a bride would both protect her from the elements and project a vision of purity and virtue.
A rather amusing custom comes from the time of arranged marriages when marriages were arranged by parents, and a bride and groom would not see each other until their wedding day. Brides’ faces were veiled or masked until the last minute to prevent the groom from bolting before the union was complete.
All of these ancient practices feed into the current-day traditions of the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding and of the bride wearing a veil.
Interestingly, by the 1700s, brides had moved away from wearing veils to wear festive hair adornments or hats. This became the wedding fashion norm until 1840, when the British Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in a white dress and veil. Brides wearing veils came back into fashion in no time at all.
Today, there are as many choices about veils as there are brides. One bride may chose a veil that covers her face and is lifted once she is delivered to her groom. Another may pass on the face veil, but wear one that floats behind her as she walks. Another may chose a hat with a veil trim especially for a second marriage or vow renewal. Another may forego a veil all together and choose another type of hair adornment.
Regardless of what she wears on her head, we wish all brides a beautiful and memorable wedding.
Have a question about a Wedding or party tradition that you want answered? Are you interested in renting the many venues managed by the Osceola County Historical Society for weddings, meetings, parties or events?
Making Your Story – History!
“History behind the Bridal Veil.” Metro Creative, July 7, 2013. richmond.com. http://www.richmond.com/life/celebrations/history-behind-the-bridal-veil/article_1d042232-e3f9-11e2-af1e-0019bb30f31a.html.
Raney, Rebecca Fairley. "10 Wedding Traditions With Surprising Origins" July 25, 2011. HowStuffWorks.com. https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/cultural-traditions/10-wedding-traditions-with-surprising-origins.htm.
Susong, Liz. “Wedding Veil Traditions Explained” September 28, 2017. Brides Magazine. Brides.com. https://www.brides.com/story/wedding-traditions-debunked-the-veil.
“Wedding Veil –Why?” seiyaku.com. http://www.seiyaku.com/customs/veil/veil.html.
Photo Courtesy: Placing the bridal veil - Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USZC4-1913. The marriage of Queen Victoria, in the Chapel Royal, St. James Palace - Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-111796.