All of us have more than likely heard the term “It’s bad luck to see the bride before the wedding” or “something blue,” but many of us have never stopped to think where these traditions originate from and whether or not they are true. In this blog post, we are going to dive into 5 of the most common wedding traditions and superstitions.
Carrying a Bride over the Threshold
It is said the groom must carry his bride over the threshold to bravely protect her from evil spirits that are lurking below, but where did this tradition originate from? It is said that Western Europeans were one of the many who believed that if a bride tripped over the threshold of her new home, this would irrevocably bring not only bad luck to her home but also her marriage. However, the grooms appear to be immune from such thing which is the reason that he is responsible for carrying the bride into the home, eliminating this possibility all together. Not only does being carried over the threshold by the groom prevent her from bad luck but also from spirit intrusion. According to Western Europeans, brides’ bodies were supposedly great havens for unattached spirits. Carrying her across the threshold eliminates the possibility of both these occurrences and prevents her from both physical and mental illness.
Engagement & Wedding Rings
Many of us in the United States particularly wear our engagement and wedding rings on the fourth finger of our left hand but have you ever stopped and asked yourself why this is? According to the Romans the vein in your fourth finger on your left hand was once thought to lead directly to your heart. This vein was referred to as the ‘Vena Amoris’ or the ‘Vein of Love’. Unfortunately, science later disproved this theory finding that all of your fingers have veins leading directly to your heart, but the tradition lives on!
Seeing the Bride before the Wedding
It was often thought that seeing the bride before the wedding would bring bad luck on the couple. With the rising popularity of “First Looks” done by photographers, does this mean that couples are doomed? Think again! The tradition of not “seeing the bride before the ceremony” leads back to the time when arranged marriages were custom. The betrothed couple was not allowed to see one another before the wedding for any reason. During this time weddings were looked upon as a business arrangement between the two families rather than a coming together of two hearts because of love. A father would be pleased if his daughter were to marry into a family that was rich and land-owning which is why he would not allow the groom to meet his bride until the wedding. A father would fear that the groom would not find the bride attractive and then call off the wedding, leading to great shame on the family. Due to this, it became a tradition that the bride and groom were not allowed to see each other until the ceremony otherwise it was “bad luck”. And what about the veil? Believe it or not, the veil’s only purpose was to cover up the bride until the last possible second so that the groom could not see her. Romantic, right?
Something old, something new…
The Victorian rhyme “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”, is an old tradition that is said to bring a bride good luck. What does each saying really mean? Wearing “something old” would express a newlywed couple’s desire to maintain a connection with their family once they enter married life. A common gift would be an old garter given to the bride by a happily married woman so that the bride herself could enjoy a happy marriage. The saying “something new” meant the couple was creating a prosperous new union, lasting forever with health, happiness and success. “Something borrowed” was meant for the bride’s friends or family to give her something special as a representation of their love. “Something blue” represented fidelity and constancy which derives from an old Israel tradition to symbolize their promise to their new husband. And finally, “a silver sixpence in her shoe,” which ends the rhyme and is less commonly known. This phrase was meant for a bride to place a penny in her shoe to bring her a life filled with good fortune. Today, it is common for many modern brides to follow by this tradition. So, is it good luck? Who knows, but it never hurts to try!
Saving the top layer of your wedding cake for your anniversary
You most likely have heard this rhyme on your elementary playground, “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage!”. You’re probably thinking what does this song have to do with a wedding cake? However, there is a distinct connection between the two! It was once thought that once a wedding took place a baby would follow not long after, therefore a wedding and a christening were more often than not linked, as were the cakes that were baked for these occasions. With the rise of fancy, multi-tiered wedding cakes in the 19th century, many people got creative in which to save the leftover cake. Typically, the top tier of the wedding cake was left over, and couples would save the tier of cake for their babies christening. The bottom tier for the reception, the middle for distributing and the top tier for the christening. In today’s day and age, it seems that the time frame between weddings and christenings has grown wider. With these two events becoming disassociated, couples now enjoy saving the top layer of their cake to eat on their first wedding anniversary. Not everyone follows by this tradition, but many couples do opt to have their wedding baker recreate the top of their wedding cake to enjoy as a celebration of their anniversary. How cute is that?