There are few traditions that are important for your wedding reception.
Probably the most important and most celebrated tradition for your wedding reception is the cake. The tradition of the wedding cake dates back to early roman times when a thin loaf of bread was broken over the bride’s head at the end of the ceremony. The breaking of the bread symbolizes fertility. Guests would pick up the crumbs as good luck charms. The tradition later evolved and spread to England. In the middle ages, guests would bring small cakes with them to the ceremony and stack them together. The couple would then kiss over the cluster of cakes. Later the multiple cakes became one cake – today’s modern day wedding cake.
The tradition of cutting the cake and sharing the first piece has a few different meanings. One meaning is that by cutting the cake together and sharing the first piece, the couple is signifying sharing their lives together. Guests will share in the good luck by eating the cake. Another meaning is that by cutting the cake, the bride is breaking kinship with her family and by eating the first piece together, the bride is ready to accept all her new responsibilities as a wife and a mother. In ancient Rome, it was said that the couple creates a bond when they cut the cake and share the first piece. Wheat was symbolic of fertility and the sweetness of the cake was thought to bring sweetness to all areas of their lives.
Another must have tradition for your reception is the bouquet and garter toss. This tradition symbolically passes the torch to the man and woman that are lucky enough to catch them. The garter toss is the chance for a single man to share in the good fortune of the groom. In the 14th century, the bride actually tossed the garter herself. The tradition changed to the groom tossing the garter because of all the drunken men fighting to get a piece of the bride. The bouquet toss has its roots in England. It is believed that the bride could pass good fortune to others. In order to obtain this good fortune, guests would try to tear off pieces of the bride’s clothing and flowers. In an attempt to get away with her clothing intact, the bride would throw her bouquet to the crowd.
Trying shoes and cans to the bumper of the couple’s car is another tradition. Loud noises were said to ward off evil spirits. So by tying cans or other objects to the car, the loud noise made when the couple drove off would help ward off evil spirits as the couple begins their life together. The shoes are a tradition that started in Tudor times. Guests would actually throw shoes at the bride and groom. If they or their carriage were hit, it meant that good fortune had been bestowed upon them. In Anglo Saxon times, the groom would actually strike the bride with a shoe to establish his authority. Brides would then throw a shoe at the bridesmaids to see who would get married next. Throwing shoes at the bride is also a sign that authority over her is being transferred from her father to her new husband. A variation was for the bride’s father to throw her shoe at the groom as a toke of his surrender of his daughter. This evolved through the years to just tying the shoes to the car.