Anyone planning a wedding should take into account the many marital traditions. Simple observance of some traditions promises the marriage love, happiness and good fortune! Our research is nowhere near complete, but it will give you a guide!
In olden times, strong smelling herbs and spices would keep away evil spirits, bad luck and ill health. More recently, herbs and spices have been replaced by flowers associated with meanings: Our favorites…
Carnation – Fascination and love
Chrysanthemum – Red – I love you
Heliotrope – Devotion and faithfulness
Ivy – Eternal fidelity
Lemon Blossom – Fidelity in love
Rose (red) – Love
The word bride comes from the word for ‘cook’.
Bride Stands on the Left
In olden times, a man would hold his future bride with his left hand enabling him to hold his sword and fight for her with his right.
Bridesmaids and Ushers
The brides… maids and ushers originally dressed in identical clothing to the bride and groom so that the evil spirits would not know who was getting married.
We found many reasons for the tradition of the wedding cake coming from the ancient Greeks, the Romans and the early Anglo Saxons. The tiered, elaborately iced wedding cakes of today are based on the shape of the spire of St Bride’s church in London.
Carrying the Bride over the Threshold
We have found 2 possible explanations for this strange custom. Either it prevented a bride from stumbling in the doorway which was considered bad luck or to protect the bride from evil spirits.
The throwing of rice has the same symbolic meaning as the Pagan rite of showering the newly weds with grain to wish upon them a fruitful union. Be aware that throwing confetti is not permitted in many registry offices and churches.
Day to Marry
Monday for wealth. Tuesday for health. Wednesday the best day of all. Thursday for losses. Friday for crosses. Saturday for no luck at all.
The tradition of giving almonds comes from the Greek legend where Demophon offered a sacrifice to an almond tree declaring his undying love. The tree blossomed and since, undying love has been symbolized by the almond.
The long standing tradition of giving Favours or Bomboniere to celebrate special occasions started centuries ago in Italy. Most bomboniere contain five sugared almonds symbolizing health, wealth, happiness, fertility and long life.
The origins of the bride and grooms first dance is unknown but the full tradition is for the groom to first dance with his bride, then new mother-in-law and then his mother. This is while the bride dances with her new father-in-law and then with her father. When the bride and groom first change, the best man then joins in by dancing with the head bridesmaid and the ushers with the other bridesmaids. Guests are invited to join the newlyweds for the second dance.
Comes from the Germanic word which means ‘ the man who is marrying the bride’.
Every women has the right to propose on 29th of February in any leap year! As the day had no legal status in olden times, women could take advantage of this anomaly and propose to the man they wished to marry.
Month to Marry – Click here for poem
There are many origin variations including the brides father throwing his shoe in anger at the departing vehicle. Leather and shoes symbolize protection and fertility and so many couples marry in ‘old’ shoes!
Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue
The full wording of this popular bridal attire rhyme, dating back to the Victorian times is ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in your shoe.’
- Something Old represents a link with the bride’s family and her old life. The bride wears a piece of family jewelry or clothing like a (mothers) wedding dress.
- Something New is anything purchased new for the wedding and represents good fortune and success in the brides future life.
- Something Borrowed is an item that brings good luck to the marriage by having already been worn by a happy bride at her wedding. Borrow small things like jewelry, handkerchiefs or clothing.
- Something Blue in olden times was considered to represent purity and fidelity. Anything blue will do although a popular choice is a blue garter.
- Silver Sixpence in the bride’s left shoe is a symbol of wealth!
The Welsh custom has a man carving a wooden love spoon for his love may have come from the word ‘ spooning’ meaning to act amorously, or ‘ spooned’ meaning a sentimental lover. The spoons were carved into shapes with the following meanings:
Request to marry
I love you
You hold the key to my heart.
Links or beads
The desired number of children.
I plan to work hard for you.
Third Finger, Left Hand
One religious and one romantic reason might explain this tradition. The ring finger follows the vena amoris, the vein of love that runs directly to the heart or the 17th century practice of the Christian priest touching the fingers in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost and arriving at the 3rd finger!
Many explanations accompany this tradition but the one we like is that it covered the brides face until the groom had completed his marriage vows. Today the veil is lifted when the bride arrives at the alter.
Wed comes from old English (wedd) and old Scottish (wad) both meaning to pledge. Lock is old English (lac) and means carrying out an action. Wedlock originally meant pledging property to the brides father as payment for his daughter.