Special Report

How Weddings Have Changed Over the Last Century

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21. Receptions

Couples today may spend months planning their weddings, including every detail that goes into the food, decor, and music for their reception. But wedding celebrations weren’t always this elaborate. Dating back to the 1960s, parents were responsible for planning and paying for the bride’s reception. They were a simple affair held in the parent’s home, involving things like cake and punch.

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22. Wedding cake

Wedding cakes are a tradition dating back to ancient Rome, where they were a scone-like wheat or barley concoction broken over the bride’s head for luck and fertility. What would become today’s wedding cake started to take shape in late 18th-century England and became a status symbol based on the whiteness of the icing and the tiers. The modern cake no longer needs to be white or feature tiers. It also no longer needs to be a cake — new trends include everything from donuts to cheese wheels.

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23. Bouquet toss

The bouquet toss is rooted in a tradition that dates back hundreds of years, when it was actually good luck to touch the bride. Guests would attempt to rip off pieces of her wedding dress. Brides started to toss their bouquets as a way to distract from the chaos. Although not as strong as the former tradition, tossing the bouquet is now becoming antiquated itself because single women do not like to be called out at a big event. Alternatives to bouquet tossing include handing the bouquet to a mother, grandmother, or couple who has been married the longest, or to just have a fun dance competition. 

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24. Throwing rice

The tradition of throwing rice at just-married couples symbolizes good luck, prosperity, and good fortune. Before rice, oats, grains, and dried corn were also used. Rice grew out of style due to reports that birds’ stomachs can expand if they eat the dried grain. Even though the reports turned out to be false, rice and other grains have proven to be a slipping hazard. That’s why flower petals are now the preferred alternative by wedding experts, as well as confetti, lavender, and bubbles.

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25. Honeymoon

The idea of a trip following the wedding started in 19th century England. Then, couples just traveled to see family and friends who couldn’t come to the ceremony. In the late 1800s, honeymoons started to change into trips of leisure only for the newlyweds. As world travel became easier, more couples started choosing more exotic destinations for their honeymoons in recent decades.