Something Old......Something New....Something Borrowed....Something Blue....and a Sixpence in Her Shoe
This good luck saying dates back to the Victorian times. Today, many brides incorporate it into their weddings.
Something Old represents the link with the bride's family and the past. Most brides wear antique family jewelry or a mother's or grandmother's wedding gown.
Something New represents good fortune and success in the bride's new life. Often the wedding gown is used as the chosen new item.
Something Borrowed is to remind the bride that family and friends will be there for her when she needs help and is an opportunity for the bride's family to give her something as a token of their love (it must be returned to ensure Good Luck). The borrow object is often a lace hankie.
Something Blue is thought to be lucky and has two traditions: Pagan Roman maidens wore blue on the borders of their robes to denote love, modesty and fidelity while Christians associated it with the purity of the Virgin Mary. Often the blue item is a garter that the bride throws in the bouquet and garter ceremony.
A Sixpence in Her Shoe is to wish the bride wealth.
Proposing on One Knee The custom of proposing on one knee goes back to the days of knighthood and chivalry when it was customary for a knight to dip his knee in a show of servitude to his mistress.
Asking the Bride's Hand in Marriage This tradition comes from a Roman custom called "joining of hands". The groom would give the bride's father a coin and the bride would then be passed from her father's hand to her husband's.
Engagement Rings In Anglo Saxon history the gift of a ring became a token of promised love. The circular band became a symbol of eternal love and unity, and in later years the diamond, because of its composition, became a sign of the strength of never-ending love.
Wedding Rings The custom of a wedding band can be traced back to the Egyptians who presented their brides with circlets of hemp or rush. The circle is the symbol of the sun, the earth and the universe, of wholeness and perfection, continuity, and love. The wedding band is worn on the third finger because of an ancient Greek belief that a vein from that finger goes directly to the heart.
White Bridal Gown The traditional color of bridal gowns was red or other bright colors in ancient times. The tradition was broken by the wife of Napoleon III, Empress Eugenie, when she wore a white gown. Then brides began wearing white gowns as a symbol of their wealth.
Bridal Veil Long ago it was believed that a veil would protect the bride from evil spirits. Today, the white veil is a symbol of modesty and virginity.
Bride & Groom's Attendants In ancient times the attendants wore clothing similar to the bride and groom so the evil spirits would not be able to recognize the couple and cast evil spells on them.
White Aisle Runners In ancient times, Chinese brides were carried to their weddings so the bride's feet would not touch the ground and come in contact with the evil spirits that lurked in the ground. Today's aisle runner carries on that tradition....with the added practicality of helping keep the bride's gown clean. The aisle runner is used to signify a pure pathway into happiness. Rose petals in the bride's path lead her to a sweet and plentiful future.
Ring Pillow The ring pillow originated with the carrying of the coronation crown to royalty. The tradition has evolved as a symbolic way to prominently present the most precious of gifts.
Flower Girl The tradition of a flower girl walking before the bride and tossing petals dates back to an old English tradition. It was customary for the entire bridal party to walk all the way to the church behind a small girl tossing flowers.
Bridal Bouquet The bridal bouquet started with the Romans and Greeks as a garland of fragrant fresh herbs which the bride wore in her hair. They were used to discourage evil spirits from getting too close to the bride. Particular herbs that symbolized fertility were also used.
Groom's Boutonniere The groom's boutonniere is a nod to medieval times when a knight wore his lady's "colors", proudly displayed for all to see.
Bride & Groom's Family Seating in Church The bride's family and guests sit on the left side of the church and the groom'sfamily and guests sit on the right. The bride walks down the aisle on the left arm of her father or step-father. In medieval times the men wore their swords on their right side and they needed that side free in case they needed to draw their swords and protect.
Unity Candle The unity candle is a fairly new tradition. There are several ceremonies that can be used for the unity candle, but the symbolism is the same. The unity candle is a symbol of family unity. The unity candle is usually a large candle, representing the newly married couple. It is lit during the ceremony using 2 aper candles, one on each side, with the one on the left representing and bride's family and the candle on the right representing the groom's family. Often the side candles will be lit by the bride & groom's mothers after they are ushered down the aisle before the ceremony. The groom's mother is ushered down the aisle and she lights the candle on the right, and is then ushered to her seat, followed by the bride's mother lighting the candle on the right after she has been ushered down the aisle and before she is ushered to her seat.
Kiss at the End of the Ceremony In ancient times, the kiss was legally binding and signified mutual acceptance of the contract of marriage. It is said that the bride and groom exchanged a bitof their souls with the breath of a kiss.
Tied the Knot The expression "Tied the Knot" dates back to ancient times when the bride and groom literally were tied at the waist with wreaths at the end of the marriage ceremony to signify that they had been united.
Ringing Wedding Bells at End of Ceremony Meant to scare away the evil spirits so they could not destroy the couple's happiness.
Wedding Day Garters The bridal garter had a very practical beginning. When silk stockings were standard garb, this accessory was a necessity. The tradition of stealing the garter began in England. Young men took this pre-ceremony procedure quite seriously, as it was considered very good luck to "win the prize". To avoid embarrassing the bride, the custom evolved from stealing the garter into throwing the garter instead.
Throwing the garter began in France when pieces of the bridal attire were considered lucky. When the bride threw the garter to the guests at the wedding reception the person that caught it could expect good luck. In the US, the groom traditionally removes the garter from the bride's leg and throws it to the unmarried men. At some weddings, the man who catches the garter places it on the leg of the lady who caught the bouquet or they may start the next dance. It is also common for the recipients of the bouquet and garter to have a photograph taken with the bride & groom. The garter to be thrown is placed on the bride's right leg, just above the knee. Brides usually wear 2 garters, one to keep and one to throw.
Tossing the Bridal Bouquet The practice of the bride tossing her bouquet before she leaves on her honeymoon started in France in the 1300's. The tradition began with the bride tossing a garter or stocking. The single woman who catches the bouquet is thought to be the next to marry.
Throwing Confetti Throwing confetti over the newlyweds originated from the ancient Pagan rite of showering the happy couple with grain to wish them a fruitful union. The Pagans believed that the fertility of the seeds would be transferred to the newlyweds. The throwing of rice has the same symbolic meaning. Today rice is replaced by showering the newlyweds in bubbles, birdseed, or rose petals, or releasing birds, butterflies, or ringing small bells.
Receiving Line In ancient times it was believed that the bride and groom were blessed and those who touched them would have good luck.
Wedding Favors The bride and groom are considered to be lucky, as is anything they touch. Giving their guests wedding favors is a way for them to thank their guests for sharing in their happiness and to symbolically pass on their good luck.
Wedding Toasts Toasting the bride and groom at the wedding reception represents the collective best wishes of friends and family. Champagne is a wedding favorite, but toasts may be offered with any beverage. Raising a glass together is a way for everyone to share in wishing wellness and happiness to the newlyweds.
Guest Book In ancient times, the guest book was a necessity and everyone who attended a wedding was considered a witness and was required to sign the marriage document. Today, for the wedding couple, the guest book remains a wonderful remembrance of those who attended the wedding.
Wedding Cake The wedding cake began with bread (traditionally wheat) and was broken over the head of the bride for a plentiful life and years of happiness. Guests scrambled for the crumbs as they were assumed to be tokens of good luck. Later, brides and grooms kissed over bunches of little cakes, and most recently, the cakes were made into several large cakes with icing which were tiered. In the past the top layer was frozen and eaten on the first anniversary. However, nowadays many couples eat the top layer on their first month anniversary.
Groom's Cake Traditionally, the groom's cake is a fruitcake that is said to bring fertility to the newlyweds. It is usually a gift from the bride to the groom. In the past, it was believed that if a single woman put a piece of the groom's cake under her pillow, she would dream that night of the man she would marry. More recently, the cake was dark, liquor-soaked, chocolate or deep chocolate fudge, displayed next to the wedding cake and cut up and put into small white boxes for the guests to bring home.
Bride and Groom Cut the Cake The bride and groom cut a piece of cake and then feed each other. Feeding each other symbolizes how the couple will feed and nourish the relationship for the rest of their lives.
Victorian Wedding Cake Charms In early Victorian times, there were usually three wedding cakes...two smaller cakes for the bride & groom and one large, elaborate one. The larger cake was cut and boxed and given to guests as they left the reception. By taking a piece of wedding cake home and placing it under your pillow, you were to dream of the person you would marry.
Traditionally, the wedding cake was a dark, rich fruitcake with ornate white frostings or orange blossoms, scrolls, etc. The bride and groom's cakes were not as elaborate as the larger cake. The bride's cake was a white cake, and the groom's cake was dark. The cake was cut into as many pieces as there were attendants and often favors were baked inside for luck. Each charm had its own meaning.
This tradition disappeared with the century as the brides did not wish to soil their gloves looking for the favor. The cake the bride cut was not eaten, but was packed away for the 25th wedding anniversary.
Today, this tradition has been revived and silver charms are put into the frosting rather than being baked into the cake. The ceremony of the bridesmaids pulling a charm and the reading of the meaning of the charms is done before the bride and groom cut the wedding cake.
Shoes Attached to the Newlywed's Car The tying of old shoes on going-away vehicles is a Hindu custom of good luck. Shoes also represent power and signify the creation of a new family unit. Shoes and cans were attached to the bumper of the car to cause a noisy clatter as loud noises were said to chase away evil spirits. Today, it is traditional that the bridal party honk their car horns while leaving the ceremony. Cars are also decorated with balloons, streamers, just married signs, window clings, etc.
Honking of Horns Loud noises were said to chase away evil spirits, and during the ceremony, the guests would make noises to keep the spirits away. Today, it is traditional that the bridal party honk their car horns while leaving the ceremony, and to decorate the bridal car.
Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold It was believed that evil spirits hovered at the threshold of the home the newlyweds would enter. The bride was lifted over the entrance to keep the evil spirits from entering through her feet.
Compiled by the Special Event Network Staff
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