Do you know why a Bride tosses the bouquet over her head? Or why the happy couple saves a layer of cake in their freezer for a year? or perhaps why brides go to such lengths to keep their grooms from seeing their dresses before it’s time to walk down the aisle?
Here, we answer those questions and more and give you some insight into the traditions and superstitions surrounding weddings. Remember though, that superstitions are only as true as you believe and are myths / old wives’ tales that date back to 100 years or more, so marrying on a Saturday (the most popular day of the week for weddings) does not really end in bad luck – these are merely a bit of fun for the couples going through the planning process.
Superstition #1: It’s bad luck for the Groom to see the Bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony.
Origin: Back when arranged marriages were the norm, the betrothed couple weren’t allowed to see each other before the wedding at all, this was out of fear that the Groom would see the Bride, decide she was unattractive and call off the wedding. It was a similar deal with the veil which hid the Bride’s appearance from the Groom until after the deal was done. Ahhh… sweet romance…
Today: Although arranged marriages are no longer common, most Brides still don’t want their Groom to see them all done up before the wedding. Many believe it makes the day more exciting and memorable. It’s completely up to you and your Groom. Talk about it before the big day arrives and find out what makes the most sense for you.
Superstition #2: The Bride must wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue (and a silver sixpence in her shoe).
Origin: This Victorian rhyme is a time-honoured tradition that is sup- posed to bring the Bride good luck. Wearing “something old” expresses the newlywed couple’s desire to retain connections with their family or the Bride’s “something old” be an old garter given to the Bride by a happily married woman so that the new Bride would also enjoy a happy marriage. Wearing “something new” conveys that the couple is creating a new union that will endure forever and looking to the future for health, happiness and success. “Something borrowed” is an opportunity for the Bride’s friends or family to lend her something special as a token of their love. And finally, “something blue” is a symbol of fidelity and constancy. This custom began in ancient Israel, where Brides wore a blue ribbon in their hair to symbolise this promise to their new husbands. What many couples forget though, is that the rhyme actually has another line “…and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” Placing a penny in the Bride’s shoe supposedly will bring her a life filled with good fortune.
Today: Many modern Brides find it fun to keep with tradition. Think of creative ways to incorporate all four items into your wedding-day ensemble.
Superstition #3: The person who catches the Bride’s bouquet or garter when she tosses it over her head will be the next to get married.
Origin: In medieval times, it was considered lucky to get a fragment of the Bride’s clothing, so hordes of guests would follow the newlywed couple into their wedding chamber after the ceremony and stand around the bed, trying to rip pieces of the Bride’s gown right off her body. Because dresses were often torn apart, Brides searched for alternatives to preserve their gowns and began throwing their bouquets to distract guests while they made their getaway. When 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 throngs of people waiting outside as a way of saying that he was about to “seal the deal.”
Today: At many modern weddings, the Groom removes and tosses the Bride’s garter to the Groomsmen right after the Bride tosses her bouquet to the Bridesmaids. Traditionally, the unmarried man who catches the garter must place it on the leg of the unmar- ried woman who catches the bouquet, and it is said that they will be the next two to marry (not necessarily to each other).
Superstition #4: The Bride and Groom must save the top layer of their wedding cake to eat on their first anniversary.
Origin: It used to be thought that once a wedding took place, a baby was going to come shortly after, so therefore the wedding and christening ceremonies were often linked, as were the respective cakes that were baked for each occasion. With fancy, elaborate, multi-tiered wedding cakes becoming a major trend in the 19th century, the christening cake began to take a back seat to the wedding cake. 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.
Today: As the time between weddings and christenings widened, the two events became disassociated and the reason for saving the top tier changed. Now, couples enjoy saving the top layer of their wedding cake to eat on their first anniversary as a pleasant reminder of their special day
Superstition #5: The Groom must carry his new wife across the threshold of their new home to prevent bad luck. * *Origin: In Medieval Europe, it was scandalous for a woman to show en- thusiasm about losing her virginity. By the Groom carrying the Bride over the threshold, she avoided looking too eager about consummating the marriage. Western Europeans, on the other hand, believed that a Bride who tripped over the threshold of her new home would bring bad luck to her home and her marriage. Therefore, the Groom carrying the Bride into the home was a good way to avoid such a mishap altogether. In ancient cultures, the threshold of the home was considered to be a hotbed of lurking, unattached evil spirits, and since a new Bride was particularly vulnerable to spirit intrusion, especially through the soles of her feet, the Groom ensured that his wife would not bring any bad spirits into the house by carrying her inside.
Today: The Groom carries his Bride across the threshold today not because of a fear of spirits, but as a romantic way to welcome her into his life.
Superstition #6: Receiving knives as a gift - (or can openers, scissors -- anything with a blade.)
Origin: Apparently it’s bad luck to be given something that can sever. The blade, its thought, will sever the friendship. It’s especially bad luck for a wedding gift, where the fear is that the sharp edge will sever the marriage vows. Some people hold this superstition so strongly that they disapprove of giving knives as wedding gifts.
Today: Some that still believe the tale will also include a coin in the gift for the Bride to give back to the gift-giver to ‘buy’ the knife which is thought to dispel any evil it contains.
Superstition #7: Lucky days/ months/ dress colours for your wedding
DAY: Monday for wealth Tuesday for health Wednesday the best day of all Thursday for losses Friday for crosses Saturday for no luck at all
BRIDAL GOWN COLOR: Married in White, you have chosen right, Married in Blue, your love will always be true, Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl, Married in Brown, you will live in town, Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead, Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow, Married in Green, ashamed to be seen, Married in Pink, your spirit will sink, Married in Grey, you will go far away, Married in Black, you will wish yourself back.
Married when the year is new (January), he’ll be loving, kind and true.
When February birds do mate, you neither 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 and 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 bread. 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.
The rhyme “Marry in May and you will surely rue the day” dates back from the ancient Pagan and early Roman traditions. During that period, Pagans celebrated outdoor orgies in the month of May which in present-day culture considered obscene and outrageous therefore bring bad luck for couples, while early Romans celebrated the Feast of the Dead sometimes in May, therefore symbolises sorrow and mis- fortune.
June is considered the luckiest month for marriage as it is named after the Roman goddess of love, marriage and fertility, Juno.
Superstition #8: Wearing pearls will bring unhappiness
Most cultures in other parts of the globe believes that a Bride should never wear a pearl (earrings, necklace, bracelet) on her wedding day, as pearls symbolise tears and unhappiness.
It is said that the Bride should do some stitching of her wedding dress (either by attaching some precious stuff on the inner part of the gown) before she wears it for the ceremony to attract fortune and happiness, other version of the practice allow unfinished portion of the dress (maybe on the inner linen) by the seamstress to be done by the Bride….this old belief signifies loyalty, fidelity and strength within the union, so they say.
The Wedding Cake should be made from fruits and nuts to ensure fertility and happiness and the Bride should be the one to bite first (to ensure she will conceive). An unmarried lady who will put a piece of the wedding cake under her pillow at night will dream her future husband…and most likely have a bed full of ants in the morning.
According to an old English custom, it is unlucky for a woman to marry a man whose first letter of the surname is the same as hers.
Almost all cultures dictate that the Bridesmaids’ dresses should be in the same color or style to that of the Bride, the reason of this is, according to an English tradition, is to confuse the evil spirits haunting the Bride on her wed- ding day ready to spell bad luck.
A beach wedding is often considered to denote a bad omen because the water/waves kissed-goodbye the seaside.
The Bride and Groom are advised not to take any long travel or adventure as the wedding date draws nearer because soon-to-be married people are accident-prone.
The Bride who has a period on the day of her wedding is very lucky and the marriage will be blessed with many children!
During the ceremony the couple with whose side the wedding candle lighted last will be a submissive partner so brief your candle sponsor now to hurry a little bit in lighting the candle.
There is a belief that if siblings both marry in the same year, one of them will suffer bad luck, so forget about a double wedding if you are twins.
Postponing a wedding date or repeatedly changing the date also denotes bad luck.
In some Philippine provinces, old folks often warned newlyweds not to break or drop anything during the ceremony (up to the reception) because it symbolises a difficult life ahead, broken marriage or unhappiness, this explains why traditionally, the wedding ring should be carried by the Best Man and Groom’s Mother respectively (and not by a young Page Boy) to take care of it.