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Wedding Traditions

Wedding Traditions - Something Borrowed, Something Blue....



Ever wondered why we wear a ring or where the idea of something borrowed, something blue comes from? Here is our run down on the ideas behind the customs and superstitions:

Something old, something borrowed is a saying which dates back to Victorian times and refers to a variety of wishes for luck in marriage.  Something old would be a link to the brides family and her old life, while something new signifies that she has chosen a new life and a new family, and represents luck and good fortune for the future.

Something borrowed would usually be something worn already by another happy bride, to pass on her luck, while something blue is a tradition dating back much further.  Blue traditionally represented purity and fidelity and would often be a ribbon worn by the bride, which has evolved, somewhat cheekily, into the blue garter which is traditional today.  The silver sixpence of course is a symbol of wealth, worn in the shoe to encourage wealth and happiness in married life.

When to marry has long been considered a source of luck.  May is traditionally an unlucky month in the UK.  In pagan times it coincided with a festival celebrated by unruly behaviour, and was considered an inappropriate time to marry.  The Roman feast of the dead and festival of the goddess of chastity also fall at this time, which also suggested May was an unsuitable month, although the practice of marrying at the end of April to avoid this time no longer takes on much significance.

The dress is the source of much ritual.  As we all know, the groom should not see the bride in her dress before the event, as it was considered unlucky for either the bride or groom to catch a glimpse of the future before it happened, and seeing the bride in the dress represented this future.  There also seems to be a link back to traditionally arranged marriages, where the groom would not see the bride before the wedding as in fact the marriage was a financial and dynastic arrangement which should not be influenced by the appearance of the bride – this is also thought to be part of the reasoning behind the veil, dating back to the biblical story of Jacob who married Leah without realizing which sister she was.  The colour of the dress has also long been significant, with white being bought into favour by Queen Victoria and symbolizing purity.

The cake has been extant in many forms throughout history, and has taken on a ritual significance to the act of marriage.  The cutting of the cake is the start of a joint future, and the top tier was traditionally kept to ensure fertility and to be eaten on the birth of the first child. 
Confetti translates in the Italian to sweets or confits, but relates back to the tradition of scattering flowers, rice or grain to encourage both wealth and fertility onto the couple.
Being carried over the threshold of the happy couples new home might have many explanations, from ideas of bad luck if the bride used her left foot first to the idea that in times gone by the husband probably abducted his bride and thus carried her into the house!
The honeymoon is a very ancient ritual, with a variety of possible explanations.  There is thought that as far back as ancient Babylon, couples drank a honey based drink to celebrate and symbolise sweetness and happiness.  Again, in the times when a man might capture his bride, the moon, or month might be the period in which the couple hid from the brides father, and also have time away from the rest of the community, drinking honeyed wine to hopefully guarantee fertility.
 
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