We’ve all heard the superstition that the bride should wear “something old and something new, something borrowed, something blue” if she wants to live a happy life as a married wife. According to Greek culture, tugging a sugar cube into your glove will sweeten the bond. In England, the best day to get married is Wednesday, followed by Monday (wealth) and Tuesday (health). Stay away from Saturdays though, as they are considered bad luck!
The Collective Concepts team have explored some of the most common wedding traditions, which many of us consider when planning our weddings – the origins, as we have discovered, are surprising. Needless to say, we are happy a few of these traditions have evolved over the years!
The colour white
Until the 1900s a bride could wear any colour other than grey on her wedding day. However, after Queen Victoria chose a white wedding gown in 1840, this became a fashion statement and remains popular today. Rather than ‘purity’, the colour white was seen as a symbol of wealth and reflected the bridal party who were solely responsible for paying for the wedding expenses (read more in our Traditional Roles of the Wedding Party blog).
Something old, something new
The popular rhyme reminds the bride to wear something from her past and something new to symbolise her happy future. A happily married friend is contributes something borrowed in the hope that the couple will also enjoy a happy marriage. A blue item represents love and fidelity.
The bridal veil
For today’s Bride’s the veil can be both in and out of fashion, based on personal style, however the tradition of brides covering their faces while walking down the aisle has been around since the ancient Romans. They believed evil spirits were jealous of the bride’s happiness, so she disguised herself with a veil to avoid ill fortunes.
Over the threshold
In medieval Europe it was believed that brides were extremely susceptible to evil spirits through the soles of their feet. By carrying his bride over the threshold, the groom tried to avoid bringing these demons into the house.
Hiding the bride
The tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other before the wedding dates back to when arranged marriages were the norm. Families were afraid the couple might call off the wedding if they didn’t find each other attractive!
Ringing the bells when a couple exchanges their vows traces back to Ireland. Bells were traditionally chimed to chase evil spirits away and secure a harmonious future for the newlyweds.
In many Mediterranean countries it is customary to break glass or china at a wedding. According to legends, however many shards there are represents the number of years the couple will be happily married.
Throw it away
The throwing of the bridal bouquet, garter and rice is more than just entertainment. The groom removing the garter from his wife’s thigh represents her giving up her virginity. The garter is then tossed into the crowd of single men, as is the bridal bouquet for single woman. The two catching both items are said to get married next, often to each other. Showering the newlyweds with rice is said to enhance their fertility.
Earliest examples of weddings rings go back to ancient Egypt. In most countries, wedding and engagement rings are usually worn on the ring finger of the left hand. In ancient Rome it was believed that a vein in that finger led straight to the heart. However, in many central and northern European countries, weddings rings are worn on the right hand.
Roman traditions, have the wedding cake dating back to times when revelers used to break a loaf of bread over a bride’s head to enhance her fertility. Thank goodness we just stick to eating the cake these days!
If you’d like to continue exploring wedding traditions and discover how you can incorporate these into your special day, the Collective Concepts team would love to assist you!
Contact us now for a complimentary, obligation free, wedding planning consultation.