Wedding Traditions: The Ceremony

Everybody knows that the British and Irish have some (ahem) eccentricities when it comes to traditions, and with some of them dating back hundreds of years, it is hardly surprising! At Lily Houston Design HQ we are fascinated by some of the more charming traditions (as well as the outright bonkers ones!) Everything from your preparations ('Something Old, Something New'), right through to the ceremony itself has a superstition attached, and here are some of our favourites:lily houston design image for wedding tradition blog of couple at altar

Ladies stand on the left

We all know that women are actually always right (especially on their wedding days!) but this tradition dates back to the middle ages, when men needed their right arm free in case they needed access to their sword! Yes, often other men would attempt to steal the bride for themselves and the grooms would need to fight them off!

lily houston design picture of bridesmaids in white for wedding tradition blog

Bridesmaids were a decoy

Likewise, bridesmaids would originally dress just like the bride to distract and confuse any would be kidnappers and make sure the bride made it down the aisle to the sword wielding betrothed!

lily houston design princess bride man with sword

Best men

Perhaps unsurprisingly, they were their to help the groom fight off the potential kidnapping. 

image of cones of confetti for lily houston design blog


A slightly nicer tradition now; confetti has replaced the traditional throwing of rice, which was believed to be a symbol of fertility to wish upon the newlyweds. Confetti is, of course, a much nicer thing to throw and makes for gorgeous pictures!

clock pointing to noon for lily houston design blog on traditions

The time of day

Have you ever wondered why most people get married on the hour, rather than at half past? Well it was considered more godly if the minute hand is pointing to the heavens, meaning that your marriage would be blessed and happy. 

sugared almonds for lily houston design blog on wedding traditions

Sugared almonds

Whilst nobody quite knows why wedding favours are specifically sugared almonds (you are, of course, welcome to give your guests whatever you want!), the history behind their being five almonds in particular is much nicer. They were to thank you guests for coming, and to invite them share in your future wealth, health, happiness, fertility, and a long life. 

harvard veil for lily houston design


Veils were to ward off evil spirits, and also to further confuse those pesky kidnappers and make sure the bride was delivered safe and sound to her groom!


We love traditions in weddings, but what we love even more is when couples make them their own. Give favours that are five of your favourite sweets, or choose a birdcage veil (it might not ward off as many spirits but they are deliciously vintage!) It's your day, do everything your way!

Love, Lily x


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