Couples in the UK spend in excess of £10 billion on weddings each year. Despite the financial value of a wedding having steepened in the last century, the traditional values associated with the big day have changed substantially. Ston Easton Park, one of most popular wedding venues in Somerset has highlighted ten wedding traditions which have evolved in recent years. While some have grown in popularity, others have slumped and become almost non-existent.

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Asking the bride’s father for permission to marry

This tradition has been around for centuries and many grooms to this very day will still seek their future father-in-law’s permission before popping the question. However, over the past few decades this tradition has begun decline in popularity. Asking the bride’s father for his permission first is seen by many as an outdated practice which asserts male dominance over the bride, seeing her as a possession to be passed from one male to another. On the other hand, many see this as a romantic custom which should be upheld. This is definitely one tradition that looks like it’ll be up for debate for many years to come.

Father walks the bride down the aisle

Last century it was believed a bride’s father walking her down the aisle was to become a thing of the past as many brides opted to walk alone. It may now then surprise many to know the popularity of the tradition has begun to strengthen again. However, with the recent legalisation of same-sex marriage it will be interesting to distinguish whether this tradition becomes more or less popular. Some brides have even opted for their mother to walk them down the aisle. It looks like the key to this traditions longevity is its ability to adapt and update with the times.

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Parents of the bride pay for the wedding

The tradition that the bride’s family pay for the wedding is derived from the notion of a dowry. In the past, when women weren’t allowed to live on their own, work outside the home, or own property. An unmarried daughter was a considerable burden, especially on families living at or near the subsistence level. To remove this burden, her family would pay a man to marry her. With women now fully independent, luckily for the father of the bride, he no longer has to foot the bill alone.

The best man speech

This tradition has grown over the last 250 years. While the role of the best man was primarily created to act as a ‘protector of the bride’ until the day of the wedding, the best man speech became more popular in the late 19th / early 20th century. This tradition is now at its strongest, but the best man speech is now more so focused on entertainment and humour during the wedding breakfast.

Tying tin cans to the back of the car

This tradition originated from the Tudor period. When the bride and groom were to depart from their wedding festivities, guests would throw their shoes at them. It was considered to be good luck if you hit the carriage/vehicle. With few guests in modern times satisfied walking home with just one shoe, the Americans twisted the tradition slightly and started using aluminium cans instead. Over the last 100 years this tradition has faded out, but in recent years more couples have gone back to the tradition and it is once again deemed quite trendy.

The first dance

Simply by typing ‘first wedding dances’ into YouTube you will be able to see how the first dance has changed over time. While some still believe the first dance is a special moment just for the bride and groom, others prefer a high level of participation. It is not unusual for the bride and grooms to have planned group routines or flash mobs to some of their favourite upbeat tracks.

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Cutting the wedding cake

This has always been a popular tradition, however, many will be surprised to know that this has become more popular over time and more people are said to cut the wedding cake together than they did in the 20th Century. It is also worth noting that more couples tend to opt for a sponge wedding cake as oppose to the traditional fruit wedding cake.

Wearing a white wedding dress

The wearing of a white wedding dress as we all know symbolised the virginity of the bride. While this tradition remained sacred right into the 20th Century, it is fair to say it no longer is applicable within non-religious marriages.

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Throwing the bouquet of flowers

This tradition came into being when other women attending the wedding would try and take a piece of the brides dress or flowers as a token of luck. To avoid any hard feelings in the 21st Century, the bride throws her bouquet of flowers into a crowd of her bridesmaids and female attendees to pass on the luck of marriage.

Leaving for the honeymoon straight after the wedding

While many still do leave straight from their wedding to their honeymoon retreat, many now use donated proceeds from their guests wedding gifts to pay for their honeymoons. Otherwise, those who do not have the money to afford a lavish honeymoon straight after their big day, many embark on a mini-moon, a small romantic break before their more adventurous honeymoon experience.

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