Wedding Traditions and Superstitions

weddingcustomsWhen planning for the big day, everyone knows that the bride should wear “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.”  But where did this saying come from?  This is an old Victorian rhyme, and it ends: “with a silver sixpence in her shoe.” The “something old” is to show the couples connection with their families once they enter into married life. “Something new” conveys that the couple is creating a new union that will endure forever and looking to their future with happiness. “Something borrowed” is for the bride’s family or close friends to lend her something special as a token of their love. The “something blue” is a symbol of fidelity and devotion, and the ending with “a silver sixpence in her shoe” belief is that placing a penny in the bride’s shoe will bring her a life filled with good fortune.

Besides the kiss, we all anticipate the sweetest part of the wedding: the cake.  This custom dates back to Greece and symbolizes fertility.  It is customary to freeze the top of the cake and eat it on the first wedding anniversary as a reminder of the wedding day.  Remember the old school rhyme? “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage!”  It used to be thought that once a wedding took place, a pregnancy would happen shortly after, so therefore the wedding and christening ceremonies were often linked, as were the respective cakes that were baked for each occasion. Since the top tier of the wedding cake was almost always left over, couples began to see the christening as the perfect opportunity to finish the cake.  If you do not care to freeze the top layer of your cake for that long, some couples have a baker recreate it to ensure its flavor.

At the wedding reception it is customary to toss the wedding bouquet and garter.  This custom dates back to medieval times when it was considered good luck to have a piece of the brides wedding dress.  The guests would follow the bride to her chamber after the wedding in attempt to shred a piece of her wedding dress.  Due to the fact that the dresses were often torn apart and destroyed, brides began searching for alternatives to preserve their gowns and began throwing their wedding bouquets to distract guests while they made their getaway. Once the bride and groom made it safely into their wedding chamber, the groom would then crack open the door and toss the bride’s garter to the people waiting outside as a way of saying that he was about to “seal the deal.”

Today’s weddings have updated these traditions where the groom removes the bride’s garter at the wedding reception and tosses it to the unmarried men right after the bride tosses her bouquet to the unmarried women. Customarily, the single man who catches the garter must place it on the leg of the single woman who caught the bouquet to ensure they will be the next two to marry (however, not necessarily to each other). Many couples now opt out of this ritual because of guest being easily injured or saving the embarrassment of the single people being dragged out to participate. An alternative to this custom is to have a longest married couple dance where you ask for married couples to join you on the dance floor.  Throughout the song, your DJ or emcee will announce “couples who have been married for __ years may keep dancing,” until there is only one couple remaining. The last couple announces how many years they’ve been married and the bride and groom present them with the wedding bouquet.  The wedding photographer then takes a picture of the newest and oldest couples and the party continues.  Later on, the newlyweds send a framed copy of the picture to oldest couple and keep another for themselves as a reminder that love always perseveres.

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