29+ Outdated Wedding Traditions Modern-Day Brides Have Ditched


| LAST UPDATE 03/22/2022

By Abby Wall

There are endless wedding traditions brides from all over the world hold dear to their hearts. From wearing garters to wooden gowns, here are some that most modern-day brides have since ditched...

An Announcement in the Paper

Instead of spending thousands of dollars sending out paper invitations, brides used to announce their engagements elsewhere: the daily paper. Even prominent figures like Jane Austen followed the tradition.

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In a letter to her niece, the great novelist once wrote, "One may as well be single if the wedding is not to be in print." As Austen explained, announcing one's wedding in the papers let the community know they were getting hitched. Nowadays, we have Instagram for that!

Having a Coin in One's Shoe

Before the big day, the mother of the bride used to give her daughter a gold coin for her right shoe. The father of the bride would give his daughter a silver coin for her left shoe. However, it might have made it a little tricky for the bride to walk down the aisle.

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This old tradition symbolized good look on the bride's wedding day and a life full of wealth. As a matter of fact, the original ending of the rhyme "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" included "and a silver sixpence in her shoe."

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No Gifting Knives to the New Couple

If one wanted a new knife set for their wedding, sorry: no knives were allowed except for the one cutting the cake! Before gifting cutlery was cool, it was considered bad luck for the couple to be gifted a set of knives. And perhaps there was good reason for that...

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According to old traditions, gifting knives symbolize a broken relationship that could be potentially cut in two. So overall, just bad luck. However, if someone did receive one a knife, they would lift the "curse" by giving the gift-giver a penny or two; that way, they "paid" for the knives.

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Burying a Bottle of Bourbon

This old tradition allowed the future bride and groom to fight off bad weather on their wedding day. It also gave them something to toast with after they said, "I do!" Southern folklore dictated this old wedding tradition, and it totally makes sense…well, sort of.

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The old tale says that burying a bottle of bourbon a month before the wedding day means there will be no rain on the big day! Plus, once the ceremony is done, one can dig it up and have a drink. No one wants rain on their wedding day… so maybe this one is still worth a shot?

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Hiding Behind the Veil

There are quite a few superstitions behind this next old tradition. During prearranged marriages, the bride and groom might have never seen each other. Cue the veil. The veil would hide a woman's face from her future groom if he decided to step out last minute!

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Brides would also often wear veils to keep out evil spirits who may be jealous of her new marriage and happiness. Nowadays, brides have ranging opinions about wearing veils - whether they prefer a short one or if they want to ditch them altogether and stand up against those evil spirits!

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The Groom Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold

This classic tradition is rooted in Roman times but still can be practiced today amongst couples. Even though it is glamorized still in movies and television, this sentiment actually originated back to evil spirits and a whole lot of bad luck for the newlyweds.

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The threshold of the home was a place where evil spirits could get the new couple and bring forth lousy luck for the upcoming marriage. The groom would carry his bride through the doorway and over the threshold to protect her from potential demons in their new home.

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No Weddings on a Saturday!

This out-of-style tradition would never work in modern times. Most people like to get married on a Saturday: it's the weekend, there's no work tomorrow, the guests can party from dusk till dawn, and it's a guaranteed good time. But back in the old times, getting married on a Saturday was a no-go.

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According to old English folklore, Saturday is far from the luckiest day of the week to marry. Instead, Wednesday is the day to tie the knot. "Monday for health, Tuesday for wealth, Wednesday best of all, Thursday for losses, Friday for crosses, Saturday for no luck at all" is how the old rhyme goes.

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Not Marrying in May

In addition to not getting married on a Saturday, it was also a big no-no to get married during the whole month of May. May seems like a beautiful time of the year to get married - not too hot or too cold - just the perfect temperature - so why was it a no-go for brides back in the day?

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 Express/Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Of course, an old rhyme prevented superstitious brides everywhere from having their special day during a beautiful day in May. "Marry in the month of May, and you'll surely rue the day," said the old tale. However, June was considered lucky, as the month is named after the goddess of marriage, Juno.

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Taking Pieces of the Bridal Grown

It was considered lucky for the guests to take a few pieces from the bride's gown in medieval times. Before privacy existed, guests would join the bride and groom in a room and grab samples of the beautiful ensemble to ensure luck and happiness for the future couple. That's definitely an interesting one!

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But from one tradition came another - throwing the garter. The garter is the one piece of the gown the guests can have. This tradition is still heavily practiced today towards the end of the ceremony, and the tale says whoever catches the lucky garter will be the next to take the plunge!

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Drinking From a Chamber Pot

This one really is as alarming as it sounds. Stemming from an old French tradition, the bride and groom would be gifted a "chamber pot," a.k.a. a toilet bowl. Over the course of the evening, the wedding leftovers would be disposed of in the bowl for the lucky couple.

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Once the wedding festivities were over, the newlyweds were gifted with a questionable concoction of trash and other goodies they were supposed to consume before heading off to the bedroom. Nowadays, chocolate and wine replace the leftover wedding trash, but we're still uneasy about this one…

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Rice Thrown at the Newlyweds

For years, having rice thrown at the future Mr. and Mrs. was an honorable tradition. But alas, no longer! Guests would throw rice at the bride and groom to signify a lifetime full of good fortune and fertility. But eventually, a rumor started that shattered the dreams for all future couples…

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An old rumor began that birds were dying due to eating all the leftover rice. Even if the gossip wasn't true, it put a hold on the tradition, and instead, modern-day brides got a little creative. Nowadays, friends and family throw confetti, pom poms, streamers, and other non-hazardous materials. But what a pain to clean up!

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Looking at the Sun

Who wouldn't love a good tan before their wedding day? We definitely would! However, this old Irish wedding tradition takes being in the sun to a whole new level. In addition to all the other Irish wedding traditions, this one happens right after the couple says, "I do."

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Once the couple is officially married, the tradition says, the bride should look at the sun as soon as she exits the church to have beautiful children with her husband one day. After all, the old Irish blessing does say, "May the sun shine warm upon your face." But there was no sunscreen back then!

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Having Bridesmaids Wear White

Some more evil spirits are coming our way, so strap in. Brides back in the day weren't the only ones wearing white - actually, their bridesmaids would also be wearing the coveted color to protect them from evil spirits! So what is the meaning behind this old tradition?

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In addition to the bride wearing white, her bridesmaids would wear white to confuse any evil spirits planning on harming the future Mrs. on her big day. Talk about loyal bridesmaids! Although modern-day bridesmaids are often seen in any other color than white, some bride tribes still rock the all-white look.

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Husband Rejects “False Brides”

This old Scottish custom dates back to when things were strangely acceptable - and it could have gone terribly wrong, terribly quickly. A few weeks before the wedding date, the bride's father was in charge of organizing a party where the groom was presented with "false brides."  

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So what exactly was a "false bride" party? The father of the bride would gather a bunch of "false brides," typically old women, and the groom would reject each of them until he landed on his real bride as the reward. Talk about an outdated tradition; the modern bride would likely never allow this…

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Don’t Drop the Ring!

Safe to say, this one really does make sense. However, according to old Irish tradition, it was considered horrible luck if someone accidentally dropped their wedding bands on the floor. So much so, that drastic action would be taken in such an event.

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If the rings were dropped, the ceremony would have to start all over again! Additionally, it was said the person who drops the ring is the first of everyone at the wedding to die. That feels like a drastic consequence if we do say so ourselves. But again - just don't drop the rings, those things are expensive!

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Cutting a Log in Half

Once upon a time, sawing a log in half on one's wedding day was considered a sweet gesture. Today? A Monique Lhuillier gown could never and would never. This classic German tradition is called Baumstamm sägen and represents something way more than just cutting a giant log in half…

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Cutting a log in half may sound outrageous, but it actually holds a wholesome sentiment. The log cutting signifies the couple is now a team, which is the first obstacle they will face together. See, it's cute! But get that sawdust far away from our dress…

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No Dogs Allowed

This old tradition would definitely not fly today, especially for all the dog-lovers out there! In Ireland, it was considered bad luck for a dog to lick the happy couple before they walked down the aisle and said their "I do's." The modern couple would never let this one slide!

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Nowadays, a family pet is a part of the family - and in return, a part of the wedding! On the big day, couples often have their pet, not only at the wedding but even in the ceremony! From ring bearers to flower dogs, these furry friends are an honorable part of the happy day.

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The Unlucky Green Dress

It appears Ireland has some rather specific wedding traditions - some that were ditched in the 21st century and some that are still intact today. However, this one states that the bride cannot be seen in the unlucky color green! Not that the traditional wedding dress is green, but still…

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In fact, it is considered lucky for brides in Ireland to wear blue! The color represents the old Irish flag and symbolizes fertility and commitment, whereas green causes mayhem. An old poem stated it would make the bride "ashamed to be seen" because it could anger the fairies. And no one wants angry fairies at their wedding!

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Strongly Scented Flowers Only

Flowers are arguably one of the most crucial parts of any wedding, so what's the deal with this outdated tradition? The medieval bride sought out to find the most pungent-smelling flowers on her wedding day. We're all for a beautifully scented flower, but not for this reason…

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Many, many centuries ago, there were no showers, and people were infrequently bathing, so the flower's strong scent was there to disguise the smell! On top of that, the flowers were thought to ward off evil spirits, of course. But between the odor and the evil spirits, we don't know which one is worse….

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Having a Spider on Wedding Gowns

Finally, let's talk about some good fortune on the big day. While many people intensely fear this eight-legged creature, according to the old English wives' tales, it was actually considered a good omen for a bride to find a spider inside her wedding dress!

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Apparently, if one found a spider in their wedding dress, it meant financial fortune, so killing the creature would mean an economic downfall. An old English proverb says, "He who would wish to thrive must let spiders run alive." We definitely weren't expecting that one!

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Talking to Mom and Dad First

According to the 1872 book by Florence Hartley, The Ladies' Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness, there were many rules that many modern ladies do not follow any longer. Whoops. Amongst the very outdated book, Hartley wrote this particular rule…

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Hartley wrote, "After the ceremony is over, the parents of the bride speak to her first; then her near relatives, and not until then the other members of the company." So after the nuptials were official, the new bride would speak to her parents before her new husband. This outdated practice has mostly been left at the altar.

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Keeping the Honeymoon a Secret

This tradition couldn't be far from the truth today! Most couples post every detail of their marriage on social media. However, it was considered "bragging" to share where one was going on their honeymoon during the Victorian days, so it was kept a secret to everyone except for the Best Man.

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But there's more! When couples didn't formally know each other before marriage, it was pretty typical for a third party to join the Mr. and Mrs. on their honeymoon. The third-party guest would often be a close female friend or sister. Talk about no privacy!

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Selecting a 'Best Man'

Speaking of the Best Man, here's another outdated wedding tradition the modern couple would likely never have! Nowadays, the Best Man, or Best Woman, is simply the grooms' close friend or family member. But in the past, the Best Man was considered to resemble a "security guard" to the groom. Intense!

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So who was worthy of holding this highly ranked position? Seeming it was his job to protect the future couple from kidnappers and robbers, the Best Man was chosen based on the size of his sword. Duh. as tempting as this tradition may be today, this one was definitely left at the altar.

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A Sugar Cube for Good Luck!

This next outdated tradition goes way back to ancient Greek culture. The old belief said that having sugar cubes nearby were a necessity when getting ready for the wedding. We're thinking today it could be necessary for a little pick me up later in the evening!

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So why tuck a sugar cube into one's glove before walking down the aisle? Well, the sugar cube signified a sweet union between the future couple, of course! In fact, the sugar cube didn't even need to be in the bride's glove but could be hanging around anywhere near her. Interesting...

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Wooden Wedding Dresses

This one might not exist today, but we give major props to the women who once more these very particular wedding dresses. If a bride was married in the Tudor era, between about 1485 and 1603, they wore a wedding dress stiffened with wood! That's right.

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A few millenniums ago, Catherine of Aragon wore a skirt reinforced with wood upon her wedding to Arthur, Prince of Wales. Although the dress must have looked gorgeous, and the wedding itself must have been a lavish affair, it sounds far from comfortable. The modern bride has 5-inch heels to worry about, let alone a wooden dress!

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Spiced Buns Wedding Cake

Before there was a wedding cake, there were spiced buns. Before a triple-tiered wedding cake was the centerpiece, towered cakes of spiced buns were the tradition in the Middle Ages. The wedding guests would pile spiced buns between the newlyweds and watch them try and kiss while leaning over it.

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Wedding cakes have always played an essential role in wedding celebrations, no matter what they're made of! Nowadays, couples often kiss over their wedding cake instead of their spiced bun cake. But the tradition still stands, and the wedding cake won't tip over!

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Freezing the Wedding Cake

This next outdated practice has turned into a tradition some couples still keep today - just on a smaller scale. In the 19th century, couples used to save a piece of their wedding cake and eat it years later. Sounds questionable. They would freeze it to keep it from rotting - duh!

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The method behind the madness would have the couple save the top tier of their cake and eat it on the christening of their first baby. But nowadays, the tradition has shifted a little. Today, couples maintain the practice by still freezing a piece of their wedding cake and having it on their first wedding anniversary.

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Sprinkling Crumbs Over the Bride

Another wedding tradition involving food! In ancient Roman weddings, the groom would break the bread of wheat or barley over the bride's head, take a bite, and sprinkle the rest over his bride to symbolize good fortune. However, after hours of getting hair and makeup done for it to be ruined by bread crumbs? No thanks.

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Once the newlyweds ate a few of the crumbs, their guests would collect some of the crumbs and eat them as well for good luck. Nowadays, we don't think anyone is eating anything off the floor, so the happy couples have started a more sanitary food tradition of feeding each other a piece of wedding cake. Sounds better to us.

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Something Borrowed to a Whole New Level

Talk about questionable practices. This next one likely wouldn't make the cut today, but brides today still somewhat follow the tradition. Back in the day, English brides were expected to bear children right after marriage and as a result, would go to any lengths to make it happen…

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Brides would often wear the underwear of a woman who had already given birth in hopes of becoming a mother soon herself. So, given this seemingly unhygienic practice, the modern woman still goes by the old proverb, "something borrowed." But instead of underwear, she borrows something else, like a pair of heels or a purse.

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Giving Coins to Children

Another good wedding omen is coming our way! This next wedding practice took place in Scotland when children were getting paid to be at the weddings! Well, kind of. Amongst many other Scottish traditions, this practice had children gathering coins after the bride and groom left the altar.

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The Best Man would often give children silver and copper coins as the newlyweds left the church, and the children gathering the coins would represent good luck for the new couple. Occasionally, even the father of the bride would gift the children coins. Not sure that wedding practice exists today...

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