Written by Eva Rutland, 15.08.16
Wedding superstitions – Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
Are you the kind of person that wants to hide in a darkened room for seven years after you’ve broken a mirror or do you deliberately walk under ladders and open your umbrella indoors? Either way, your wedding day is likely to turn even the most cynical amongst us into the kind of person crossing their fingers to catch a glimpse of that second magpie. Here’s my round up of the most popular wedding superstitions:
- Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe. This Victorian rhyme is supposed to bring the bride good luck. Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolises borrowed happiness; something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity; and a sixpence in your shoe is a wish for good fortune and prosperity. In order to receive the good luck, the bride must have these five items about her person on the big day and will often take the form of gifts and family heirlooms, with a garter usually being the ‘something blue’. Alternatively, you could get a little bit more creative with the interpretation: Something old – gran, something new – husband, something borrowed – the money to pay for the wedding (unless you’re very lucky!) and something blue – your uncle after an hour availing himself of the free bar!
- It’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her dress before the wedding. This dates back to when arranged marriages were customary and more of a business transaction between two families. The father of the bride would be concerned that if his son-in-law-to-be saw his intended beforehand, he may not find her attractive and consequently call the wedding off and bring shame to the family. Charming! Personally, I prefer to live with the romantic notion that you would just rather be wowed by the vision of beauty that awaits you both as you catch your first glimpse of each other as you start to walk up the aisle. Incidentally, that’s also where veils come from. Again the father of the bride felt that social graces would stop the groom doing a runner if the first time he clapped eyes on his bride was when she stood next to him at the altar. Again, not feeling that these dads were going to win any “father of the year” competitions or really understood the whole “beauty is only skin deep” concept either!
- The throwing of the bouquet. It all gets a little Game Of Thrones now! This dates back to Medieval times when it was considered lucky to get a fragment of the bride’s clothing. This entailed the guests following the newlyweds back to the wedding chamber and standing around the bed trying to rip off bits of the brides dress! In a bid to ensure that they didn’t end up like reverse Cinderella’s, brides searched for alternative ways to protect both their gowns and their modesty and began to throw their bouquets in a bid to distract their guests whilst they made their getaway. And so the throwing of the bouquet was born. Now, tradition dictates that whoever catches the bouquet will be the next to marry and it could be said that, as evolved and civilised as we may now be, I think this custom still channels a little of the Medieval in all of us because I have seen this fun tradition resemble a mash-up between a rugby scrum and Black Friday at an electrical goods store and ladies, it’s not pretty!
- Wedding rings. In ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt it was believed that there was a vein that ran from your left hand ring finger to your heart known as “Vena Amoris” – or the Vein of Love. The tradition of wearing wedding rings on that finger symbolises the bride and groom’s possession of each other’s heart. How romantic is that?! So much nicer than the previous superstition! Also, if you are writing your own vows and a little stuck as to what to say, I reckon that this little anecdote should just about do it – there won’t be a dry eye in the house!!
- Carrying the bride over the threshold. This is a hotly contested one with various different explanations proffered. In ancient Rome it was believed that the bride needed to be carried across the threshold as she was loathe to leave her father’s house. In many ancient cultures it was believed that brides were particularly vulnerable to evil spirits (and we’re not talking cheap supermarket own brand Vodka here!!) particularly through the soles of her feet so the groom would protect her against this by the simple expedient of picking her up and carrying her. In medieval times it was deemed scandalous for a bride to look too enthusiastic about her wedding night so the groom carried her to spare her blushes and to avoid her looking too eager (goodness knows what they’d make of an episode of TOWIE!!) Whatever the reason, this is a super romantic tradition but let’s be fair, unless you’re a size zero and he’s a bodybuilder, you’re jeopardising your blissed-out honeymoon with him in agony with his bad back and you in a self-loathing spiral, refusing to wear your bikini because you KNEW you were fat and it was a stupid idea in the first place and you told him that, and oh, hello first row as newlyweds!!! Apart from that, as I say, super romantic!!
Interesting to see how many of these sweet traditions have incredibly sexist roots but whether you choose to spend weeks before your big day scouring every inch of your lawn for that elusive four leaf clover; convince next door they really need to get their chimney cleaned on the day of your wedding (but it’s a gas fire….?!); take to stalking horses in the hope that one of them will have a Cinderella moment; or you prefer to defiantly fly in the face of superstition and book your wedding for Friday the 13th, order your red dress and try it on in front of future hubby, I’m sure you’ll have an amazing day and hey, you’re just about to marry the love of your life so how much luckier can you get!!!
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