The History Behind Your Favourite Wedding Traditions

I’m a professional wedding photographer, so it’s probably no surprise to hear that I love all things ‘wedding’! As part of this, I love hearing about the history behind wedding traditions- I find it really interesting how ancient customs still make up part of our modern weddings today. Many of the weddings where I’m the photographer include some traditions, such as cutting the cake or throwing confetti, but most of the time we don’t even know why we’re doing these things!

Actually, all of these traditions hold their own unique significance and symbolism. Weddings in general are steeped in tradition, and in this blog, we’ll explore the fascinating history behind some of your favourite wedding traditions, shedding light on their origins and meanings… Let’s dive in!

Throwing Confetti

The tradition of throwing confetti dates back centuries and is rooted in ancient fertility rituals. In ancient Rome, guests would shower newlyweds with grains, seeds, or rice as a symbol of fertility and prosperity. Over time, this practice evolved into the use of confetti, small pieces of paper or petals, which symbolise blessings and good wishes for the couple’s future together. 

Nowadays, confetti shots are a fabulous opportunity to capture fun, colour, and joy. I don’t just mean a little handful of confetti: if you’re going for a confetti shot, go big! As a wedding photographer, I think the best confetti shots capture the happy couple in a tsunami of colourful confetti: less is certainly not more in this case! I always love the pure happiness that radiates from couples in these shots: it’s the moment after they have just exchanged vows and take their first steps together as newly-weds.

Confetti at Wedding

Cutting the Wedding Cake

As a wedding photographer, I love capturing a cake-cutting shot! The tradition of cutting the wedding cake has its roots in mediaeval England, where a stack of sweet buns would be placed on the bridal table for guests to enjoy. In the 17th century, the tradition evolved into the cutting of a single large cake, symbolising the newlyweds’ unity and shared future. The act of cutting the cake together signifies the couple’s first collaborative task as husband and wife, while feeding each other a slice symbolises their commitment to provide for one another.

Throwing the Bridal Bouquet

The tradition of throwing the bouquet is thought to have originated in mediaeval Europe, where it was believed that obtaining a piece of the bride’s clothing or flowers would bring good luck. To distract eager guests, brides began throwing their bouquets into the crowd, allowing them to escape with their garments intact. Over time, this evolved into the modern tradition of the bride tossing her bouquet to a group of unmarried female guests, symbolising the passing on of happiness and good fortune to the next bride-to-be.

Wedding photographer North Wales

Wedding photographer North Wales

The First Dance

Another of my favourite moments as a wedding photographer– I always love capturing the couple’s first dance! The tradition of the first dance dates back to the 17th century, when European aristocrats would open their wedding receptions with a grand ball. The first dance symbolised the newlyweds’ introduction to society as a married couple and showcased their grace and elegance. Today, the first dance remains a cherished tradition, providing a romantic moment for the newlyweds to share with their guests.

Wedding Favours

The tradition of giving wedding favours can be traced back to ancient Rome, where guests would receive small gifts or tokens of appreciation at the end of a wedding feast. These gifts, known as “bomboniere,” typically consisted of sugared almonds, which symbolised health, wealth, happiness, fertility, and longevity. Over time, wedding favours evolved into a way for couples to express their gratitude to guests for sharing in their special day, with a wide variety of gifts now commonly given as tokens of appreciation.

Whether it’s throwing confetti, cutting the wedding cake, or throwing the bouquet, wedding traditions are an integral part of wedding day celebrations. I love capturing these moments which connect couples to the past while creating meaningful moments for the future.

If you’d like to talk more about your wedding photography, I would love to help! I’m a professional wedding photographer in Cheshire, Chester and North Wales. Get in touch today to discuss your plans.