How Weddings Have Changed Over Time

A groom putting a wedding band on his bride's hand.

Weddings have always been an important event across nearly all cultures. So, it might not surprise you that many customs still implemented today have been around for a very long time. But, it might also intrigue you that certain details we consider as “classic” have actually come about only recently.

Are you now wondering how wedding trends have changed over the years? Let’s take a (virtual) trip back in time and find out how “traditional” certain wedding traditions actually are.

The White Dress

A bride wearing a white dress with a long train in a field next to a lake.

It’s still often strange to picture a bride in anything but a white dress. However, this hasn’t always been the norm. This only became popularized in 1840, when Queen Victoria of Great Britain got married and insisted that no one else was allowed to wear white at her wedding. Prior to that, brides wore anything they deemed as their best formal wear. And often, these dresses were anything but white.

Of course, modern trends are a different story. Today, brides are choosing all shades of the rainbow for their big day, and we will see a lot more colorful couples in 2020.

Diamond Rings

A woman's hand wearing a diamond engagement ring.

Some claim this is part of a conspiracy, but diamonds weren’t really a big deal until De Beers launched a spectacular advertising campaign that forever linked the sparkly stones with eternal romance. Talk about a successful marketing strategy! It’s been almost 80 years and diamonds are still an engagement and wedding ring standard.

The Processional

“Here Comes the Bride” is also a recent addition to the wedding world. The bridal chorus was written in the 1850s and first heard at a royal wedding in 1858. While it’s still a go-to for fans of tradition, many couples now choose their own processional song. Today, processional music is one of the ways brides and grooms choose to express their personalities on their special day.

Wedding Cakes

A bride and groom holding a small wedding cake decorated with flowers.

Although wedding cakes date all the way back to ancient Rome, they were hardly the fancy multi-tiered works of art we see today. Back in the beginning, they were rather small and simple—probably because the ancient Romans traditionally broke the cake over the bride’s head to summon fertility. (Thankfully, that tradition didn’t linger for long; we can’t imagine how to get the crumbs out of an expensive hairdo!) The classic tiered style of wedding cake was first spotted in 18th-century England, but even then didn’t pick up among common people until many decades later.

As we’ve probably seen on Instagram, today’s wedding cakes have come a long way—and some people don’t even serve cake at all! Instead, couples are getting creative with concepts like donut bars, cupcakes, and cake pops.

Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties

A group of women at a rooftop pool with champagne.

Bachelor parties have existed for probably as long as civilization. Bachelorette parties, however, have not. They only started to trend around the 1950s and became a big thing during the ’80s, when the women’s liberation movement was in full force. Originally, they were a substitute for a bridal shower. They only got “crazy” decades later when girls decided they also “just wanna have fun.”

Footing the Bill

The tradition that the bride’s family should pay for the wedding is still very much alive to this day and goes back to when they had to pay a dowry to the husband.However, in many modern cultures, this has now changed. Now, the couple themselves often pay for their wedding expenses. Or if they don’t, the costs are split between the families.

Religious Ceremonies

A bride and groom getting married in a church in front of a priest.

Less than a quarter of weddings today take place in religious venues. Even then, many of the ceremonies are not necessarily held in houses of worship because of religion, but more for the venue itself.

Similarly, traditional vows have changed as well. Over the years, certain phrases about obeying husbands have been removed. Today, especially with the rise of same-sex weddings, many couples are writing their own vows or opting for gender-neutral scripts instead.

Find Amazing Vendors