There are lots of weird and wonderful wedding day traditions – your own wedding day might include a few ancient superstitions to avoid bringing ‘bad luck’ without you even realising! Here are a couple you might not know about…
Veils were originally intended to hide the bride from evil spirits who were jealous of her happiness.
Originally, people used to tie shoes to the back of a wedding car, but nowadays we’re more likely to use tin cans – they symbolise good luck, and the noise is 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 to bless their fertility.
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.
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 originated in a time when arranged marriages were common, and seeing each other was more likely to result in one or both parties doing a runner!
Have you ever wondered why the groom carries his new bride over the threshold? In medieval Europe, it was believed that evil spirits might make their way into the house through the soles of the bride’s feet!
Much of the bride’s outfit has been based upon superstitions, including a white dress to signify virginity and purity. Some think that a sugar cube in your glove will sweeten your union, whilst almost every bride knows the traditional poem, ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’.
Wearing ‘something old’ is meant to represent 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, and blue is meant to symbolise purity, fidelity and love.
The final part of the poem is ‘and a silver sixpence in her shoe’. Traditionally the bride’s father would slip a sixpence coin into his daughter’s left shoe on the way to the altar, to bring luck and wish the happy couple a long and 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, and 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.
Used to symbolise prosperity, love and unity, coins have a long-standing history within many wedding traditions across the world.
In Wales, silver coins are inserted into the popped champagne or wine 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 and the bride’s father gives her a silver coin to put in her left shoe to represent their wish that she will never be without.
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 is kept as a family keepsake and passed down from mother to her eldest son on his wedding day.
In Poland, coins are tossed over the newlyweds instead of confetti as they leave the ceremony. The couple is required to pick up all of the coins together as a sign of their new unity.