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Wedding Traditions

On 27 Jun | '2019

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Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

Most people have heard the rhyme “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” but did you know that the original rhyme was actually “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a sixpence in her shoe”?
This rhyme for the bride originated in the Victorian Era and essentially was a symbol of luck. Something old symbolised the bride’s past and continuity while something new represented optimism for her future with her new husband. Something borrowed was generally from a happily married family member or friend as a token of future happiness. The colour blue signifies purity, fidelity and love so it was thought that having something blue would bring these things to the new marriage. Brides would then pop a sixpence in the bottom of their shoe before putting it on which was thought to bring good luck, hence the part that is commonly left off in modern times “a sixpence in her shoe.”

The ring finger

Believe it or not, not all cultures use the same “ring finger”. The fourth finger of the left hand was historically believed to contain a vein that ran directly from it to the heart. This has since been discredited by science and a greater understanding of the circulatory system.

The white wedding dress

It is commonly believed that brides originally wore a white gown as a symbol of innocence and purity, and is a tradition that still continues today. However, historically, brides would actually just wear their best dress – of any colour or style or length. This is believed to have been more out of practicality as it would be a dress that they either already owned or would wear again.

The main reason the white wedding gown became a ‘tradition’ was after Queen Victoria wore a white lace gown to her 1840 wedding to Prince Albert. As we are all aware, royal weddings gain a tonne of attention and set many trends for future weddings. Evidently, the white wedding dress is a trend that has stood the test of time unlike no other!

The veil

Ancient Greeks and Romans believed a veil protected the bride from evil spirits. In some cultures, however, the veil was used to hide the identity of the bride until the nuptials. It is believed that this was, in part, to prevent the bride and groom from fleeing if their soon-to-be spouse was not quite what they were expecting.

Identical bridesmaid dresses

Historically, bridesmaids initially wore dresses similar to the bride’s in order to confuse evil spirits as they wouldn’t know which one was to be married. Over time, this progressed to bridesmaids wearing identical dresses that were different to the bride’s as a way to make the bride stand out.

Garter and bouquet toss

In the 14th century, it is believed that it was considered good luck to have a piece of the bride’s dress. Guests would quite literally tear sections of the brides dress off to keep. Understandably, this wasn’t ideal so to deter them, brides started to throw alternative items to the guests. One of these items was the garter. Over time, this evolved into a more structured affair where the groom retrieved and then tossed the garter and the bride tossed the bouquet.

It’s bad luck to see the bride before the ceremony

The tradition of the groom not seeing the bride prior to the nuptials originated back when marriages were arranged by the couple’s families before they had even met. The bride was essentially considered a possession for the family to trade for a dowry. The bride’s identity was kept hidden until the ceremony to ensure the “deal” could not be called off.

Carrying the bride over threshold

Traditionally, the groom would carry the bride over the threshold of his home once returning from their honeymoon. This was considered an act of bravery in an attempt to protect his new wife from evil spirits.

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