Why we tie cans to our wedding cars and other strange traditions explained

Have you ever stopped to wonder why guests sneak out in the middle of a wedding reception to tie tin cans to the back of the newlyweds’ car? Or why the bride needs a team of similarly dressed women to walk her up the aisle? To help you get to grips with modern wedding traditions, we’ve taken a look at the origins of some of the most common superstitions out there.

Cans behind car

Tying cans to the back of the car

There are lots of theories on the origins of this common wedding tradition. However, the most likely seems to be that guests would tie old shoes and tin cans to the back of the happy couple’s carriage so that the sound would scare away evil spirits as the newlyweds made their getaway.

Not seeing each other before the ceremony

Although today this tradition seems quite sweet and quaint, it has less than romantic origins. In the days when parents would arrange marriages for their children, couples were prevented from seeing each other before the big day. This was to prevent a bride or groom from deciding they didn’t fancy their future partner, and making a run for it.

Traditionally, the couple didn’t lay eyes on each other until the bride’s veil was lifted during the wedding ceremony and by then, it was too late.


These days, weddings are fairly civilised affairs. Few guests, if any, would ever dream of disrupting proceedings and most people go out of their way to ensure the newlyweds enjoy a perfect day. However, this wasn’t always the case. In days gone by, spurned suitors and other wrong’uns would attack the bride on her wedding day in an attempt to take her for themselves or steal her dowry. To help protect the bride, the bridesmaids would all dress alike in an effort to confuse the would-be saboteurs. As Babble says “It wasn’t tacky to dress like the bride, it was crucial!”


While the bridesmaids were there to try to protect the bride and help her get to the ceremony unscathed, the groomsmen were there to help steal a bride for their bachelor friend. Often, if local eligible women were in short supply, the groomsmen would head out to a nearby community or neighbouring town and steal the first woman they came across. The one who was most successful at kidnapping would become the ‘best man’.


Throwing confetti on the happy couple

Have you ever wondered why you pelt the newlyweds with handfuls of confetti as they leave the church? Well, traditionally you would have thrown rice at the happy couple. This was to help bless the union and make it fruitful. These days however we stick to more bird-friendly options like fresh flower petals.

Find out more about planning both modern and traditional weddings by exploring our site today.

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