We’ve all heard the “Something borrowed, something blue, something old, something new” rhyme and we all know that the groom shouldn’t see the bride before they are at the altar, and what about tossing rice at the newly married bride and groom or even having a flower girl; we’ve all heard it, we all do it, and we all love it. But where did these traditions come from and what do they mean for the outcome of your marriage? Are they all based on superstitions invoked by warding off evil spirits or bestowing fertility on the couple? Will your marriage really suffer if a pig runs across the road in front of you on your wedding day? We’re here to let you know what you should and shouldn’t do to avoid wedding day woes.
- Engagement and Wedding Rings: It was once thought that the third finger on your left hand contained the “vein of love” which led directly to your heart.
- Bridal Shower: There are a few different stories for the origin of the bridal shower but my favorite one is in the 19th century friends of the bride would get together and put gifts in a parasol then open it over the brides head…literally showing her with gifts. Now a days I don’t think it would be a great idea for a Crock Pot or an eggplant Kitchenaid Stand Mixer to fall onto your head.
- Stag Parties: We can thank the ancient Romans for this age old tradition. Roman soldiers used to feast with the Groom the night before the wedding to help him kiss his bachelor days goodbye. Thank you Romans Soldiers!
- Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Lucky Sixpence in her Shoe: Bet you didn’t even know about the Sixpence in your shoe. This is a classic superstition that has brought a lot of fun to modern weddings, but here’s what it all means:
- Something Old: Symbolizes continuity in the transition from being a single person to a married couple.
- Something New: A representation of marriage bringing the couple into adulthood.
- Something Borrowed: The trick here is to borrow something from a happily married couple to bring good fortune to your own marriage.
- Something Blue: Symbolizes purity, fidelity and love.
- Lucky Sixpence in her Shoe: The idea behind this is that it will bring Good Luck and Fortune to the Bride and Groom. (It couldn’t hurt to try right?)
Dropping the Wedding Ring: If the ring is dropped by the Bride or Groom during the ceremony it is said that the marriage won’t last. Probably the reason we came up with a handy little Ring Bearer.
- Rain on your Wedding Day: This may seem like a horrible omen but it’s actually considered Good Luck to have some sprinkles on your Big Day. Let’s just hope it’s all taking place inside though.
- Wearing a Veil: The veil became a wedding day accessory back when most of us were still being sold off by our fathers for a dowry. The catch here was that often times the Bride and Groom hadn’t ever seen each other before. The father veiled his daughter until just before the ceremony in case the Groom didn’t like the appearance of the Bride! Although many of us don’t wear a veil that covers our face anymore, we typically have something attached to our hair for the glamour of it, and besides who wants to cover up that beautifully made up face!
- Flower Girls Dropping Petals: Traditionally this was thought to ensure the Bride and Groom had many chances to have children.
- Bouquet: Traditionally the bouquet was made of strong smelling herbs to ward off not only evil spirits but to cover up the stench of unbathed people. Thank you personal hygiene!
- Garter: Originally the Bride tossed her Garter instead of her Bouquet. But after centuries of other men trying to remove the garter from the Bride themselves, women took a stand and decided to throw their Bouquet instead. You go girls!
- Bouquet Toss: Traditionally it was thought that the Bride was especially lucky on her wedding day. The point of the Bouquet Toss was to share her luck with the unwed women at the wedding.
- Groom Carrying the Bride Across the Threshold: It is thought to be extremely unlucky to the married couple if the Bride trips when crossing through the door of her home after she is wed. So men took it upon themselves to carry the woman over the threshold to keep that from happening. So what if the Groom trips while carrying the Bride over the threshold? Is it double bad luck or does one cancel out the other?
- Tossing Rice: Because the Bride and Groom are thought to have great luck on their wedding day, guests used to shower them to insure abundant harvests and many children. Modern day twists include blowing bubbles at the Bride and Groom instead of making a huge mess of rice or birdseed. Plus then you don’t have to worry about getting it in your eyes!
- Additional Good Omens:
- Seeing a Rainbow
- Meeting a Black Cat (hmmm)
- Meeting a Chimney Sweep
- Additional Bad Omens:
- A pig, a Hare, or a Lizard running across the road in front of you
- Seeing an open grave
- Meeting a monk or a nun which foretells barrenness
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the reasons we do some of the things we do. No matter what you do or don’t believe or do or don’t do at your wedding I’m not sure that the superstitions following the ideas will have any effect on your Wedding Day or the years to come afterwards. And this is coming from a girl who has been happily married for 7 years and got married in a courthouse with none of the old traditions present. No bouquet, garter, rice tossing, something blue, or meeting a chimney sweep. So here’s to a Happy Wedding Day and an even Happier Marriage traditions and superstitions aside!