Wedding lore, superstitions and traditions
The word, “Wedding” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “wedd” that meant a man would marry a woman and pay the Bride’s father.
Virtually every part of a wedding, from the engagement to the honeymoon, has rich history. Cultural roots, ancestry, and religious beliefs have shaped marriages for thousands of years. The following Wedding lore, superstitions and traditions are our interpretation & will provide you with a brief history of various wedding elements.
Wedding lore, superstitions and traditions White Wedding Dress
This was made popular in the 1840’s by Queen Victoria, who chose this instead of the traditional royal “silver” wedding dress. Prior to this, Brides simply wore their best dress on their wedding day.
Seeing each other on the night before the wedding
This superstition dates back to the time of arranged marriages, when people believed that if the couple saw each other before the ceremony, it would give them a chance to change their minds about the wedding.
The veil originally symbolized the bride’s virginity, innocence, and modesty. This symbolism has been lost over the years but the veil is still customarily worn. In some Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, the veil was worn to hide the bride’s face completely from the groom who had never seen her. Only after they were married would the groom be allowed the lift the veil to see his new wife’s face.
Originally bridal wreaths and bouquets were made of herbs, which had magical and meaningful definitions for the couple’s future life. Flower girls carried sheaves of wheat, a symbol of growth, fertility, and renewal. Later, flowers replaced herbs and took on meanings all their own. Orange blossoms, for example, mean happiness and fertility. Ivy means fidelity; lilies mean purity.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.
This good luck saying dates back to Victorian times and many brides try to arrange their wedding attire accordingly.
- Something old represents the link with the bride’s family and the past. Many brides choose to wear a piece of antique family jewellery or a mother’s or grandmothers wedding gown.
- Something new represents good fortune and success in the bride’s new life. The wedding gown is often chosen as the new item.
- Something borrowed is to remind the bride that friends and family will be there for her when help is needed.
- The borrowed object might be something such as a lace handkerchief. Something blue is the symbol of faithfulness, loyalty & purity. Often the blue item is the garter.
- And a silver sixpence was given to her by her father and placed in her shoe is to wish the bride wealth.
The Ring Finger
All wedding and engagement rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. The vein in this finger was once believed (by ancient Romans) to go directly to the heart. Pretty obvious symbolism there, but in reality, all veins go back to the heart.
Giving the bride away.
In times gone by, female children were deemed to be the property of their fathers. When it came time for the daughter to marry and her father approved of the arrangement, he was actually transferring ownership of his daughter to the groom. Today, the act of giving the bride away is symbolic of her parents’ blessing of the marriage to the chosen groom. Wedding lore, superstitions and traditions are our interpretation
Bells are traditionally chimed at Irish weddings to keep evil spirits away and to ensure a harmonious family life. Some Irish brides even carry small bells in their bouquets as a reminder of their sacred wedding vows, and they are a common gift for newlyweds. Wedding lore, superstitions and traditions
Carrying The Bride Over The Threshold
Two trains of thought, generations ago it was considered lady-like for the new bride to be, or to appear to be, hesitant to “give herself” to her new husband, whether or not she truly was. At the threshold to the bridal chamber, the husband would often have to carry the bride over to encourage her to go in. An older meaning is that during the days of “Marriage by Capture,” the bride was certainly not going to go peacefully into the bridegroom’s abode; thus, she was dragged or carried across the threshold.
Or in medieval Europe where many believed that a bride was extra vulnerable to evil spirits through the soles of her feet. To avoid bringing in any evil spirits, the groom carried the bride into their new home.
In ancient times, the Teutonic people began the practice of the honeymoon. Teutonic weddings were only held under the full moon. After the wedding, the bride and groom would drink honey wine for one full moon cycle (thirty days). This “moon” (i.e., “month”) became known as the “honey moon.” While the name survived, the purpose of the honeymoon changed. After the wedding, newlyweds would leave their family and friends to go and do what newlyweds are supposed to do. Today that purpose survives, only now a vacation is incorporated, usually to a romantic get-away locale. Wedding lore, superstitions and traditions
Tradition: Changing the Bride’s Surname
Because in olden times, women were treated as property, her name was changed to signify the change in “ownership” form father to husband.
Thankfully, women are no longer viewed as property. Today’s brides can choose the name they wish to use. More and more, brides are opting to keep their own names, either for professional or personal reasons. It is even common for today’s brides to hyphenate maiden and married name.