Where it All Began
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. It is time to talk traditions. Why do brides wear white? Why do we put a six pence in our shoe? What traditions can we incorporate from our culture?
Old, New, Borrowed, Blue...
This is the most well known tradition, but why do we do it? This is a tradition that started in the Victorian Era. It was primarily to protect from the Evil Eye, a curse that happens from evil glares which would leave the bride infertile. This is not only for brides, grooms can incorporate this as well!
Something old traditionally would protect from the Evil Eye and protect any future children of the couple. Today, something old represents the bride's past. It provides continuity of the families. Most often, something old is gifted to the bride/groom from a family member. For my something old, I had my seamstress sewed in a heart shape piece of my deceased grandfather's shirt.
Something new represents the couple's happy future. Something new can be anything... dress, shoes, veil, jewelry. It does not have to gifted from someone unless that is what you decide. For my something new, I had my dress.
Something borrowed is to bring the newly weds good luck. Something borrowed she come from someone that is happily married. Traditionally, the something borrowed item was an undergarment . Today, we borrow grandma's jewelry, mom's earrings, or even your sister's socks. My something borrowed was my cousin's angel pin that was given to her by my mother on her wedding day.
Something blue traditionally protected from the Evil Eye as well. It was often displayed in the garter. Today, something blue represents love, purity, and fidelity. My something blue was in my bouquet.
Sixpence in your shoe is often forgotten, partially because people don't know what it is. A sixpence is a British coin. If unable to acquire a sixpence, it is often substituted with a penny. It was traditionally presented to the bride by her father right before walking her down the aisle.
While veils are a common bridal accessory, they traditionally warded off evil spirits trying to take her happiness. Dating back to the ancient times, this is the oldest part of the bride's attire. It was originally wrapped around the bride from head to toe representing the gifting of an innocent maiden. The veil more recently is used to hide the bride's face from the groom as she walks down the aisle. When Queen Victoria wore a floor length veil at her wedding, the Victorians made it a status symbol based on weight, length, and quality. Religiously, the veil represents respect and modesty to God.
Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold
This tradition has a few different meanings. One is that it started in medieval Europe to protect from evil spirits. The first time that the wife enters a home she must not trip or fall, therefore, the groom will carry his bride. The other originated with the ancient Romans. The bride was known to not want to leave their father's home and so the groom would have to carry her to the new home.
The Engagement Ring
The engagement ring originated in ancient Egypt. The circle symbolizes never ending love. The diamond was added to the ring symbolism by the Sicilians and it symbolizes the fires of love. The placement of the ring came from Ancient Greece. The ring is placed on the fourth finger of the left hand since it contains the vein that connects to the heart.
Wedding flowers date back to ancient Romans and Greeks when brides would carry:
garlic to scare off the wicked spirits and temptation
herbs and grains for fertility
sugar to sweeten their marriage
ivy for eternal love
sage for wisdom
dill for lust
orange blossoms for fertility
Eventually, the herbs were replaced with flowers. The flowers were incorporated to signify new beginnings, fidelity, and fertility. Bridal bouquets were started by Queen Victoria when she married Prince Albert. During the Victorian era, flowers started being given as a symbol of love. Each flower represented a different trait that the bride would carry for the rest of her life.
In the past, bridesmaids would dress similar to the bride to confuse and distract the evil spirits. Th best man was the "best" swordsman, his job was to capture a runaway bride or defend from the bride's family when they did not approve of the marriage. The ring bearer is traditionally a child symbolizing innocence, the future, and new beginnings.
Wedding cakes started in medieval times. The wedding cake being made of wheat symbolizing fertility and prosperity.The white cake symbolizes purity. The cutting of the cake symbolizes the first task as husband and wife. Feeding the cake to each other symbolizes commitment.
This tradition dates back to the Dark Ages. This tradition originally started with the bride ripping off a piece of her dress to toss to a guest for good luck. Brides then created a specific article of clothing for this reason which is how the garter was created.
In Bulgaria, the couple will have good luck by walking into the church right foot first.
In Cambodia, the groom carries a sword down the aisle to the alter blessing the marriage with harmony and strength.
In the Czech Republic, peas are tossed for good luck.
In Germany, dishes are smashed by the couple to symbolize that nothing can break their marriage.
In Holland, lily of the valley is planted around the couple's house to represent a blossoming love.
In Thailand, white strings are tied to the bride's wrist for good luck.
In Ireland, bells are rung to wars of evil spirits and and ensure a happy family life.
In Italy, a vase is smashed, however many pieces it breaks into is how many years the couple will be happily married.
In Asia, it is traditional to embroider cranes on the bride's dress to bring fidelity and a long marriage.
Tea ceremonies were originally much more simple than they are today. During the ceremony, the bride and groom would pay respect to heaven, earth, and ancestors. After, the couple would serve the tea only to the groom's parents. Today, tea ceremonies still happen but are often the day before the wedding to pay their respect to both sets of parents.
It is traditional to do a firecracker sendoff to scare off the evil.
In Greece, sugar cubes were placed in the bride's bouquet to represent a sweetened marriage.
Jordan almonds are given as wedding favors where the sweet and salty combo symbolizes life's ups and downs. They frequently give 5 almonds each symbolizing something different: health, happiness, fertility, wealth, and everlasting life.
This is just a small list of of traditions. To incorporate religious or cultural traditions that aren't listed above reach out to me and I will do research for you to make your day extra special.
*all photos by the AMAZING Wilderlove Co. Photogrpahy