There are lots of weird and wonderful wedding day traditions. Your own wedding day might include a few superstitions without you even realising. We’ve got a few traditions you may, or may not, have heard of explained below.
15 Wedding day Traditions Explained
The reason behind brides wearing veils is two-fold. Traditionally, a bride wears a veil to protect her modesty and symbolise her virginity before her father gives her away. However, if you look even farther back, it was worn to protect brides from evil spirits as it acts as a barrier and a disguise.
Trying trinkets to the back of the car
Originally, people used to tie shoes to the back of a wedding car, but nowadays we’re more likely to use tin cans. The reason for this is that they symbolise good luck, and the noise is also meant to keep those pesky evil spirits away.
Now we throw confetti or flower petals over the newlyweds, but traditionally guests would have thrown rice over them as a blessing of their fertility and prosperity.
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Rain on your wedding day is thought to be unlucky, not only for the soggy guests but the rest of the marriage too. However, it is considered good luck for a bride to meet a spider, chimney sweep or black cat on her way to the wedding ceremony.
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Seeing the bride
One of the most familiar superstitions is that it’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding ceremony. This one isn’t such a romantic tradition – it originates from a time when arranged marriages were common and seeing each other was more likely to result in one or both parties doing a runner.
Carrying the bride over the threshold
Have you ever wondered why the groom carries his new bride over the threshold? Uniquely, in medieval Europe, it was believed that evil spirits might make their way into the house through the soles of the bride’s feet.
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Much of the bride’s outfit is based on superstitions, including a white dress to signify virginity and purity. Some think that a sugar cube in your glove will sweeten your union and some remember the coins in shoes. However, almost every bride knows the traditional poem, ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’.
Wearing ‘something old’ represents the life that the bride is leaving behind, while the ‘something new’ represents her new life as a married woman. The ‘something borrowed’ should come from someone who has had a long and happy marriage. Furthermore, the blue is meant to symbolise purity, fidelity and love.
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And finally, the last part of the poem is ‘and a silver sixpence in her shoe’. Traditionally the bride’s father would slip a sixpence coin into her left shoe to bring luck and also wish the happy couple a prosperous life together. Today, you can buy special wedding sixpences to recreate this tradition.
For many years it was also tradition for the bride and groom to give each other gold and silver coins after exchanging rings. This act is recorded in the first book of common prayer published in 1549. Gold Sovereign coins and silver Britannia coins are a perfect way to observe that tradition today.
Symbolising prosperity, love and unity, coins have a long-standing history within many wedding traditions, not just in the UK but across the world too.
Also, in Wales, they insert silver coins into the popped corks and given to the bride and groom as a lasting memento of their day of celebration.
In Sweden, the bride’s mother gives her a gold coin to put in her right shoe. The father also gives the bride a coin but a silver one to put in her left shoe. This is to represent their wish that she will never be without.
However, in Spain and Latin America, a coin is given by the groom to his bride after the blessing of the rings. It symbolises his willingness to share all that he has or will have. The coin then acts as a family keepsake to pass down from mother to her eldest son on his wedding day.
In Poland, instead of confetti they toss coins over the couple. The couple then pick up all of the coins together as a sign of their new unity.
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