In this week’s “Wediquette Wednesday,” a bride asked resident “wediquette” expert Melanie Spencer if including a bouquet toss into her wedding celebration was absolutely necessary. The bride shared that she believed the tradition to be antiquated and not reflective of modern views on marriage.
At “Let Them Eat Cake” we are of the notion that a wedding is whatever the couple wishes. It’s the couple’s special day, so if a particular tradition or “norm” for a wedding isn’t exactly their cup of tea, we say, “let’s make a new tradition.”
However, we wouldn’t be LTEC without looking into the background of a tradition’s inception before suggesting to toss it out completely. Surprisingly, this one has nothing to do with Queen Victoria of England … at least not that we can find.
As most of you are aware, the bouquet toss is a moment in the night where the bride’s single female friends and family head to the center of a dance floor or stage as some song like Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” or Martina McBride’s “This One’s for the Girls” plays loudly throughout the reception room.
The idea is that the lady that catches the bouquet as the bride tosses it in the crowd’s direction will be the next to get married. As views of marriage and its “traditional” form have evolved and now reflect real relationships, this tradition does have the ability to alienate those who don’t fit into the cisgendered female box that this tradition paints.
(Kelly here: I have been in and attended many weddings and even as a cisgendered female who writes about and supports marriage for all, I feel like this puts a negative spotlight on me as the “single friend” and I tend to avoid at all costs.)
But back to the real question. Where did this tradition come from?
According to our research, the the tradition as we know it today started somewhere in the 1800s, with no real pinpoint to a particular person or timeframe. The origins of the act itself, however, date back centuries more with some believing it has a date as far back as the 1600s.
Unfortunately for many, weddings often weren’t an act of love. More commonly, it was a way for a woman to pull herself, and sometimes her family, out of poverty or a way for families to change their status and standing in the community. Many weddings even acted as a contract or business understanding between families – take every European royal’s wedding in history, sorry Anne Boleyn.
With that in mind, many women thought even touching a bride and her wedding dress on her wedding day would bring them good luck. It would go as far as the women ripping off a piece of the bride’s wedding dress and other bridal adornments as a token of good luck for their lives. The tradition stemmed from bride’s eventually having to toss their bouquets at the crowd of women while trying to run for safety.
Not exactly the picture of romance, if you ask us, more like desperation. And desperation is not a feeling any women wants on her wedding day or otherwise.
The bouquet toss can be a fun opportunity for many, and is usually done in conjunction with the garter toss for a groom and his single friends and family, but it can also cause its problems or just doesn’t match with the beliefs of the couple saying, “I Do.” Both of those things are OK.
As we said in the beginning, a wedding is supposed to be a reflection of a couple and the love they have for each other. Like Marie Kondo suggests, if it doesn’t spark joy, toss it out.