The walk down the aisle is one of the most frightening and favorite experiences for the new bride and groom. And everything we do when we say “I do” is significant. From the kiss to the tossing of the bridal bouquet, everyone has their favorite part of the wedding. Yet despite the romantic undertones of today’s weddings, few traditions began with love in mind. Many wedding traditions we still do today were the result of ancient superstitions about the joining of husband and wife. Following are some of those wedding superstitions that remind us that getting married is and never was something to be taken lightly:
The Wedding Dress
Nothing means more to a bride than her wedding gown. Here are some old time superstitions connected to the most important dress a woman will ever wear:
The bride is said to be doomed if she wears her complete wedding outfit before the big day. The consequences of such an action can lead to heartbreak and tragedy.
Victorian times saw the origins of the phrase, “Something old, Something new, Something borrowed, Something blue”. Traditionally, the “old” would have been the garter of a happily married woman, with the thought being that her good fortune would be passed down along with it. The “new” stood for the couple’s new bright and happy future together. “Something borrowed” was usually an item from the bride’s family. “Something blue” came from an ancient tradition in which the bride would wear a blue ribbon in her hair as a symbol for fidelity.
According to English lore, it is the best of luck omen for the bride to find a spider in her gown on her wedding day.
Hey, brides, tuck a sugar cube into your glove — according to Greek culture, the sugar will sweeten your union.
It was the Roman bride who originated the wearing of the veil. It was believed that the veil would disguise her and help to hide her from evil spirits that were jealous of happy people, and therefore, might do her harm.
Here’s a little a poem for future brides to remember when choosing their gowns:
“Married in White, you have chosen right
Married in Grey, you will go far away,
Married in Black, you will wish yourself back,
Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in Blue, you will always be true,
Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
Married in Brown, you will live in the town,
Married in Pink, your spirit will sink.”
When a bride makes her own wedding dress, for every stitch she sews she will cry a tear.
If you can persuade a cat to eat out of your left shoe one week before the wedding good luck will bless your married life.
In ancient times, it was thought that the white wedding gown served to ward off evil spirits, symbolized a joyful celebration and purity.
The preferred material for bridal gowns is silk. Satin traditionally brings bad luck, and a velvet dress will threaten poverty in the future. The dress must never be stained with blood. If also must not be patterned. Pictures of birds or vines must in particular be avoided. Another measure for luck is that the last stitch in the dress be left undone until the very last moment before the bride starts off for the ceremony. Another lucky tradition is for the bride to sew several hairs into her dress. Also, slipping a coin into her stocking or shoe is believed to ensure future prosperity.
Be it gold, silver, platinum or diamond, few things mean more to a woman than her wedding ring. Here are some superstitions surrounding a married woman’s most prized possession:
It is unlucky to go shopping for wedding rings on a Friday, due to the bad luck associated with that day (Friday the 13th).
It is unlucky for the bride or groom to wear their rings before the wedding ceremony.
Once the wedding ring has been placed on the finger, it is considered bad luck to remove it. If the ring accidentally comes off, your spouse must replace it on your finger.
Dropping the ring during the ceremony is an evil omen. Whoever dropped the ring would die first. If the ring rolls away from the alter and rested on a gravestone in the floor of the chapel, it would mean the bride would die first if the person buried there was a woman; the groom would die first if it was a man.
A tight ring might point to painful jealousy or the stifling of one party by the other.
Having the wedding ring(s) blessed by a clergyman is believed to give the ring the power to rid disease and guard the wearer from devils.
In the symbolic language of jewels, sapphire or aquamarine in a wedding ring means marital happiness and is said to ensure a long, happy marriage.
A ring that is too loose could mean a parting of the ways through careless acts of forgetfulness.
The reason the ring is placed on the third finger of the left hand dates back to Roman times, when they believed that the left hand was more clean and pure because most work was done with the right hand. They also believed the vein in this finger was directly connected to the heart, the center of love. The third finger is also symbolic of the Holy Trinity: The Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
What’s a wedding dress without a beautiful bouquet of flowers? Well, if you happen to choose the wrong flower for your bouquet, it can spell disaster!:
Orange blossoms, which represent purity, chastity, and fertility, have always been associated with weddings and were a required inclusion for Victorian weddings. Roses also signify love and were therefore, also commonly included.
Flowers to be avoided are peonies, as they symbolize shame, and any combination of red and white flowers should be avoided as well because they represent blood and bandages–not the best symbols for a wedding.
The Romans extended the tradition of bouquets to the wearing of garlands and wreaths. It was also believed that evil spirits could not harm someone inside a circle, so this may be another explanation for brides wearing wreaths upon their heads.
The throwing of the bouquet is a way of spreading the bride’s good fortune and luck. Whoever catches it will be blessed with good luck and will be the next to marry.
The Wedding Day
It’s the biggest day of your life. But woe to the couple who marry on the WRONG day or (horrors!) do the WRONG thing. Beware!:
Rain on your wedding day has good luck/bad luck connotations (depending on how you prefer to see it)–If it rains on your wedding day, it is said that the rain is a symbol of children in the future. The bad luck myth says that rain drops represents the many tears a bride will cry throughout her married life. You decide.
If candles lit on the wedding day splutter and go out it means those evil spirits are nearby, waiting to cause mischief.
It’s considered good luck for the bride to cry on her wedding day, as this symbolizes that she has shed all her tears and will not have any to shed during her marriage.
Superstition has it that it is tempting fate for the bride to write out or sign her married name before her wedding day. The nuptials are said to be doomed and the wedding will not take place.
In Victorian times, it was deemed unlucky if a woman married a man whose last name began with the same letter as hers. As was typical of the times, a little rhyme was created to help remember the rule:
“To change the name and not the letter
Is to change for the worse and not the better.”
All the guests should eat some wedding cake to ensure good luck. It is believed that an unmarried male guest who keeps a piece of wedding cake under his pillow as he sleeps will increase his chances of finding a mate. An unmarried bridesmaid who does the same will dream of her future husband.
It is held that a final look in the mirror right before the bride leaves her home for the ceremony will bring good luck. However, if she looks in a mirror once again before the ceremony, her luck will tarnish to bad!
Tradition says that the first member of the newlywed couple to purchase a new item following the wedding will be the dominant force in the relationship.
A bride should exit her house from the front door and step out right foot first.
Newlyweds are doomed to barrenness and will be dependent on charity if they run across a nun or a monk on their way to the church.
Marrying when the hands on the clock are on their way down is bad luck. It`s considered far better to marry between the half hour and the hour, when the hands are moving back up, otherwise, your marriage will always be going downhill.
How’s this for a wedding day planner?:
Married when the year is new, he’ll be loving, kind & true,
When February birds do mate, You wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you’ll know.
Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden & for Man.
Marry in the month of May, and you’ll surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you’ll go.
Those who in July do wed, must labour for their daily bred.
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see
Marry in September’s shrine, your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember.
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last.
Monday for health, Tuesday for wealth, Wednesday best of all,
Thursday for losses, Friday for crosses, Saturday for no luck at all.
It was believed that the kiss was a means by which to exchange a part of each other, to transfer a part of themselves into the other’s soul and a way for their spirit to dwell in their spouse for all time. (How romantic!)
The top layer of the wedding cake is customarily taken home and frozen by the bride and groom. They share it in celebration of their first anniversary. It is believed that a cake that lasts a year is the guarantee of a long marriage.
Some things that are considered lucky: seeing a chimney sweep on your wedding day (in England, it is popular to hire one to ensure good luck),lambs, toads, and rainbows. Unlucky omens include: a new wife tripping as she enters her home (this is why the groom carries her over the threshold), seeing a nun or a monk on the wedding day (because they represent chastity and poverty), open graves, pigs, and hearing a rooster crow after dawn.