Wedding Traditions and Superstitions
Interesting Wedding Gown Tidbits
Did you know that the color of choice for a wedding gown has not always been white? Back in Victorian times you could wear a wedding gown in any color you choose. Of course, wearing black to your own wedding was considered to be bad luck.
White did not become the color of choice until 1840 when Queen Victoria wore a white gown to her wedding to her cousin Albert of Saxe-Coburg. From that time on it was seen as an emblem of purity and innocence of girlhood. It represented the unsullied heart that she yield or gave to the chosen loved one.
In earlier times the white wedding dress had nothing to do with purity. In ancient times it was very expensive to bleach cloth and to have it be pure white took more than a few times of bleaching. The whiter the cloth the more affluent the family need to be. So, no matter how pure you were or were not, if your family had money you could have the white dress. White was a matter of money not virtue.
- Put a penny in your shoe for wealth in your marriage.
- Throwing rice is supposed to be a way of wishing fertility and prosperity to the bride and groom.
- The bride should step into the church with her right foot first to ensure good luck.
- If the bride cries on her wedding day, those shall be the last tears she ever sheds over her marriage.
- It is bad luck for the bride to make or help to make her own wedding dress.
- Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.
- The first partner, be it husband or wife, who buys a new item after the wedding will dominate the relationship.
- The Victorians believed it was lucky to marry on a day during the week the groom was born. But the luckiest day to marry was on the grooms actual birthday.
- The veil is to disguise the bride from evil spirits
- It is considered unlucky for a woman to marry a man whose surname begins with the same letter as her surname.
- The bride is on the left in Christian marriages so that the groom could have easy access to his sword to defend his bride from rival suitors.
- When you and your husband toast your new life together you must smash the glasses you toasted with so they can never be used for a better purpose.
- It is bad luck for the bride to remove her engagement ring before her wedding day.
- If the groom drops the wedding band during the ceremony the marriage is doomed.
- An old wives tale: If the younger of two sisters marries first, the older sister must dance barefoot at the wedding or risk never landing a husband.
- Having snow on the day of marriage is associated with fertility and wealth.
- Dressing the bridesmaids is to fool the evil spirits-so they won't know who is the bride and who is not.
- The top layer of the wedding cake should be saved for the couple's first anniversary.
- Brides carry or wear 'something old' on their wedding day to symbolize continuity with the past.
- 'Something blue' symbolizes purity, fidelity, and love.
- In the Jewish tradition it is bad luck to receive knives as a wedding gift.
- Superstition has it that if there is a full moon 1 - 2 days before the wedding, then your married life will be filled with luck and good fortune.
- Throwing rice at the new couple was to feed the evil spirits and distract them:thus keeping the marriage safe.
- When the bride-to-be opens her gifts at her bridal shower a count of every ribbon broken must be kept. For every ribbon she breaks she will have one child.
- The bride is never supposed to practice walking down the aisle during her rehearsal or it will bring bad luck.
- If the groom's mother throws an old shoe over the new bride's head (not at) as they leave the ceremony location, the bride and the mother-in-law will be friends forever.
- Peas instead of rice are thrown at Czech newlyweds.
- Brides tuck a sugar cube into their gloves according to Greek tradition, the sugar will sweeten the marriage.
- Chinese superstition says that carrying an open red umbrella over the bride will protect her from evil spirits.
- A Swedish bride puts a silver coin from her father and a gold coin from her mother, one in each shoe to ensure that she will never do without.
- In South Africa, the parents of both the bride and the groom traditionally carried fire from their hearths to light a new fire in the newlyweds hearth.
- In the symbolic language of jewels, a sapphire in a wedding ring means marital happiness.
- Brides carry or wear "something old" on their wedding day to symbolize continuity with the past.
- Middle Eastern brides paint henna on their hands and feet to protect themselves from the evil eye.
- The tradition of the wedding cake comes from ancient Rome where revelers broke a loaf of bread over a brides head for fertility's sake.
- In Holland, a pine tree is planted outside the newlyweds home as a symbol of fertility and luck.
- The wedding kiss is seen as representing sealing an agreement by the Roman's. When a man and a woman kiss at their wedding it means they are sealing an agreement of lifetime commitment.
- The English believe a spider found in a wedding dress means good luck.
- In the United Kingdom it is traditional to save the top layer of the wedding cake for the christening of the first child.
- For good luck Egyptian women pinch the bride on her wedding day.
- A superstition from Mexico says the bride cannot wear pearls on her wedding day. The pearls are the tears she will cry in her marriage.
Days of the Week Wedding Day Poem
Monday for health
Tuesday for wealth
Wednesday best of all
Thursday for losses
Friday for crosses
Saturday for no luck at all
Color of Wedding Dress Poem
Married in White, you will have chosen all right.
Married in grey, you will go far away.
Married in black, you will wish yourself back
Married in red, you will wish yourself dead.
Married in blue, you will always be true.
Married in Pearl, you'll live in a whirl.
Married in green, ashamed to be seen.
Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow.
Married in brown, you'll live out of town.
Married in pink, your spirits will sink.
Something Old Something, New...
- "Something old" is traditionally given by a relative. This signifies the continuity from generation to generation.
- "Something new" symbolizes home for the future.
- "Something borrowed" is to make your marriage a happy one. Borrow an item from a happily married woman.
- "Something blue" symbolizes fidelity, love and good fortune. Blue has been connected to weddings for centuries. In ancient Rome, brides wore blue.
- "A sixpence in her shoe" to wish the bride wealth.
Some of these little superstitions may seem silly or frivolous to us these days but they really did think about them back in he days of old as they planned and executed their weddings.
These little poems and sayings are included for your reading pleasure.
I wore a red shirt and a pair of jeans when I was married. Oh yes, I also got married on a Thursday. We have been happily married for over 20 years.
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“I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me.”— Roy Croft
Someone Old, Something New...
Wearing "something old" represents the bride's past, while the "something new" symbolizes the couple's happy future. The bride is supposed to get her "something borrowed" from someone who is happily married in the hope that some of that person's good fortune rubs off on her. "Something blue" denotes fidelity and love.
In many cultures around the world—including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings—the hands of a bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple's commitment to each other and their new bond as a married couple (giving us the popular phrase "tying the knot").
© 2010 Susan Hazelton