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Traditions & Tips to Make Your Wedding Shine

Why the wedding march? What moves should you avoid at all costs? Your wedding wonderings, answered!

  |   By Staff Writer

Traditions you can take or leave, absolute do-nots from folks who live and breathe weddings, and the winning moments, as shared by the Wedding Bells team and their closest confidants. This collection is a must-read for every future bride and groom!

No.
01

The tradition #1: The ring finger

Why is the ring worn on the left hand on the fourth finger?

In ancient Rome, it was believed that the vein in the fourth finger of the left hand travelled directly to the heart of the person wearing the ring. This particular vein was thus named “vena amoris,” or the vein of love. Unfortunately, no such vein exists since all the veins in the hand have the same vasculature.

husband putting wedding ring on wife's finger at wedding ceremony

No.
02

The tradition #2: White wedding

Why are wedding dresses traditionally white?

One of the first wedding trendsetters was Queen Victoria, when she married Prince Albert in 1840. She donned the first white bridal gown, which was made out Honiton lace and cream Spitalfields silk satin. The press made her bridal fashion an overnight success as it spread internationally, and thus the tradition of the white wedding dress began. Additionally, white is also considered to represent purity and virtue in some societies.

top-down view of a bride in a white wedding dress

No.
03

The tradition #3: The wedding party

What are the origins of bridesmaids and groomsmen?

Having bridesmaids dates back to ancient Rome where, in order for a wedding to be legally binding, there had to be at least 10 witnesses present. The role of the bridesmaid was to dress very similar to the bride in order to confuse evil spirits who may try to harm the newlyweds. In Christianity, the term bridesmaid is taken in its literal form: a maid to help the bride on her wedding day.

wedding party photo with bridesmaids and groomsmen

No.
04

The tradition #4: Let the bells ring

What is the symbolism behind ringing the church bells at a wedding?

Wedding bells originate from ancient Celtic and Irish history. The bells were perceived to help ward off evil spirits and it blessed the newlyweds with the loudness of the bells. Additionally, the literal ring of the bells was a way to spread the news that a wedding took place.

tropical church bell tower with palm trees

No.
05

The tradition #5: The wedding march

Why do some weddings play the wedding march during the ceremony?

This musical trend started 160 years ago when Princess Victoria married Frederick William IV of Prussia. The “Wedding March” or “Here Comes the Bride” were actually never written to be used as wedding songs. The composer of the "Wedding March," Felix Mendelssohn, wrote the piece for an 1842 production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “Here Comes the Bride” originated from Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin that played in 1850.

bride and groom at the alter for a roman catholic wedding ceremony

No.
06

The don'ts: Killing time

Don’t leave your guests in the lurch between ceremony and reception.

Make sure you have something planned to keep them busy because this can be a real party killer! While you are having your photos (which can take a while!) plan to have food and drinks available for your guests at your reception space as well as some fun entertainment and activities (photo booth, scavenger hunt, digital portrait artist are a few great examples) to keep them engaged.

wedding guests standing together at outdoor wedding ceremony Samantha Gades/Unsplash

No.
07

The don'ts: Dance it out

Don’t limit your music playlist.

Just because you love hip-hop or classic hair metal, that doesn't mean all of your guests will. Whether you hire a professional DJ or have the best man put together a playlist, having a variety of music is key to getting everyone having fun on the dance floor. If you have a number of older guests attending, consider skewing the music to the classic side early in the proceedings to encourage them to boogey down before they depart (they will inevitably leave before all of the younger guests, after all). Plan for a good interactive number shortly after your first dance/father-daughter dance (hello, YMCA is calling!) to get everyone limbered up and then let it all flow from there.

bride and wedding guests dancing

No.
08

The don'ts: Let them eat well

Don’t opt not to invest in your food!

If there's one thing people will complain about when it comes to a wedding, it's the food. People have so many different dietary needs, having a caterer who understands how to accommodate those demands AND create delicious food is an absolute necessity. If the in-house or preferred caterer for your venue of choice doesn't meet your needs, consider looking elsewhere. Spaces can be transformed with decor and florals, but bad food is bad food, and that's what people will remember.

wedding desserts table

No.
09

The don't: New friends

Don’t seat all friends together.

Mixing and mingling with new people is something most people love about weddings. Instead of seating everyone who knows each other together, mix things up a bit by seating people you think have complementary personalities at the same table. This is also a great way to make out-of-town guests or single friends more comfortable: if every table is a mix of strangers and those who know each other, no one is left feeling like a third wheel.

wedding guests raising glasses in toast

No.
10

The don'ts: Precious parting

Don’t give a takeaway gift without special meaning.

The best wedding favours are tasty, useful or thoughtful. Consider donating to charity the amount of money you had planned to spend on favours. Have a small note at each place setting explaining that in lieu of favours you and your partner have donated to (insert charity of your choice here) in honour of your guests as a gesture of thanks for their generosity and love.

basket of wedding favors in brown paper

No.
11

The quote: Organization is key

“In true editor fashion, I am all about impeccable event execution and curation. The best parties are ones that feel seamless, run smoothly and are perfectly cruise-directed. That means the wedding day events are well paced and perfectly planned making everything easy. Don’t neglect spending energy on planning your run-of-show for the day—it will ensure you and your guests have the best wedding." —Alison McGill, editor-in-chief

clipboard with wedding list and laptop computerT

No.
12

The quote: Keep it cozy

“The best wedding experiences feel intimate and personal. A fave element is a looping multimedia elements featuring images of the bride and groom from childhood up to present day. Many guests only know one of the partners well, and even then, may only know them from a specific era of their life. Mix it up with goofy, charming and heartfelt images and you’ll have a knock-out detail guests will talk about forever.” —Kate Yorga, copy editor

little boy and girl dressed like bride and groom

No.
13

The quote: Get personal

The best part of weddings is the personal touches throughout the day and into the night. It is very difficult to have a wedding stand out and be different. It isn’t about being over the top but about making the day about the couple and for the details to be effortless yet personal." —Annie Gabrielian, director newsstand/consumer marketing

bride with unique bouquet and groom photograph

No.
14

The quote: Wow them with vows

 “I am a real romantic and I love the power of words so the best part of a wedding to me is definitely the vows. I love it when the bride and groom find a way to make it really personal with a touch of humour making the guests going from laughing to crying. I love that moment of emotion before everyone kicks into high party gear!” —Emmanuelle Ghersi, managing editor, Mariage Quebec

man reading his vows to his new wife Tai's Captures/Unsplash

No.
15

The quote: Boogie all night

"I love weddings and I love to dance, so for or me it's all about the music. A good mix is key, new and old, fast and slow. I'm all in. Oh, and a little Macarena never hurt anyone!' —Tara Williams, contributing stylist

Wedding couple and guests dancing in the street Oytun Babur Ozen/Unsplash


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