Wedding Customs and Traditions
I would think that everyone was aware of the superstitions about wedding dresses in that the groom should not catch sight of it until the bride appears in the church.
Maybe not so well known is that it is considered bad luck for the bride to make her own dress.
The wedding veil is likely to have had it origins in Ancient Rome where it was the custom of dressing brides and bridesmaid alike and the veil helped disguise the brides identity against evil spirits until the marriage ceremony was completed. Nowadays it is more traditional for the bridesmaids to be dressed differently to the bride.
The most famous of wedding traditions follows the Victorian rhyme. ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’.
The bride should carry each on her person during the ceremony to ensure future happiness and prosperity.
Something old was traditionally a piece of clothing or a garter given to the bride by a happily married woman. This was said to transfer the happiness through the old item.
Something borrowed is usually a family heirloom or a prize possession of a close friend. If the bride fails to return it after the ceremony then bad luck will follow.
Something blue can be any piece of clothing, often a garter or undergarment. Blue is believed to symbolise faithfulness and loyalty.
Bride standing on groom’s left during ceremony. This goes back to the times when a groom would capture a bride by kidnapping her. If the groom needed to fight off other men he could hold her with his left arm and fight them off with a sword in his right hand.
Tradition is such that whoever of the newlyweds makes the first purchase then that one will rule in the relationship. That is why the chief bridesmaid should wear a pin. Immediately after the ceremony the bride will give a coin to the chief bridesmaid who will sell her the pin. This way the bride makes the first purchase of the marriage.
Confetti has its origins in Italy. The word for sweets in Italian is confetti and traditionally they threw sweets to bestow fertility on the couple. In many poorer villages rice was used instead of sweets. Often other substitutes were used such as raisins, petals and nuts. Modern society has replaced these items with the paper confetti used today.
The Wedding Cake was again from the Roman times. It represented the Roman fertility symbol, which in those days was not eaten but broken over the bride’s head!
The modern cake developed over a period of time and several layers were added to it. When the tower of the cake was sufficiently high to be a challenge then the bride and groom would stand on opposite sides and attempt to kiss without causing the tower to fall.
Good fortune could be expected if the kiss was successful. This tradition is now usually kept by having several tiers and a model of a couple on the top layer.
The Honeymoon came from many years back. Its origins go back to a time when a couple would hide from the bride’s parent before marrying. This was maybe for a month or so. During this time they would drink mead or honey wine and have a good time. Maybe that still happens today!
Over the threshold. This tradition may have two different explanations. One is that its origins came from the time when a groom would steal his bride away and carrying her into the home symbolised the ‘kidnapping’ when they first enter.
The other choice is that if the bride was to enter the home with her left foot first then she would be visited by bad fortune. In order to prevent this the groom would carry her into the home on the first occasion.
Shoes tied to car. This also goes back to the days of brides being captured. The bride’s father would show his anger at his daughters ‘abduction’ by throwing his shoe at the fleeing couple. The idea was that the leather had the power to protect against evil spirits.
The tying of shoes to the departing carriage or car would deter these spirits from intervening. But then another theory follows the Old Woman who lived in a shoe in so much that leather had great fertility properties!!