Posted: Tuesday October 15, 2013
There are many customs and superstitions that surround weddings and the big day, some of which brides and grooms still adhere to today, often without knowing or understanding their meaning or history. While walking down the aisle, sealing the marriage with a kiss and the first dance are all customs that are seen as being romantic, other traditions originated many centuries ago when it was thought people were more susceptible to bad luck and evil spirits around the time of their wedding.
The most common customer to be followed by today’s bride is illustrated by the rhyme Something old, something new, Something borrowed, something blue. This rhyme dates back to the Victorian times and each part of it refers to an important element of married life. The "something old" refers to friends and family that the couple want to remain close during the marriage, and traditionally is represented by an old garter which given to the bride by a happily married woman. The newlyweds’ happy life together is symbolised by "Something new", and the "something borrowed" should be loaned to the bride by her family and should be returned after the wedding to ensure good luck. The custom of the bride wearing "something blue" originated in ancient Israel where the bride wore a blue ribbon in her hair to represent fidelity.
There are also many other less well known traditions that are followed, sometimes in part, by today’s bride. It is said that one last look in the mirror before setting off to get married will result in bad luck. Some brides are given miniature replicas of chimney sweeps on the morning of their wedding, and this relates to the belief that spotting a chimney sweep on the way to a wedding is thought to bring good luck. Some brides even hire one to attend wedding ceremonies.
Over the past few decades, Saturdays have proved to be the most popular day for weddings, with Friday and Sunday weddings growing in popularity. However this has not always been the case, and in fact, Saturdays were at one point considered an unlucky day to tie the knot, as were Fridays. In fact the first half of the week are, according to superstition, the most prosperous days for weddings, with Monday couples deemed to be successful with money, Tuesday couples benefiting from good health and Wednesday weddings thought to be the best day of all to get married.
Despite being an incredibly popular month for weddings, May is an unlucky month for tying the knot if you believe some traditions and rhymes surrounding the wedding day. This is thought to date back to Pagan times when, at the start of summer, the festival of Beltane was celebrated. This was thought to be an unsuitable time to start married life. This was echoed in Roman times when May marked the Feast of the Dead and the festival of the goddess of chastity. Although ignored by many today, this advice was taken seriously in Victorian times. It is thought Queen Victoria forbade her children from marrying in May, and April was a busy time for churches as people wanted to avoid being married in May. Lent was thought an inappropriate time for a wedding as this was a time of abstinence, while traditionally June is considered to be a lucky month to marry in because it is named after the Roman goddess of love and marriage, Juno.
All couples hope for good weather on their big day and bad weather on the way to the wedding is thought to be an omen of an unhappy marriage, with cloudy skies and wind are believed to cause stormy marriages. Snow on the other hand is associated with fertility and wealth.
Although not widely followed today, in the past there have been a number of customs involving shoes which were thought to bring good luck. One of these – the throwing of one of the brides’ shoes over her shoulder – has evolved over the years and is now celebrated by throwing of the bouquet after the wedding ceremony. The tradition of tying shoes to the back of the newlyweds' car evolved from a Tudor custom where guests would throw shoes at the newlywed couple and it was considered lucky if the carriage was hit. In the past it has also seem to be lucky for the bride’s father to give the groom a pair of her shoes, symbolising the passing of responsibility.
Braxted Park is a beautiful wedding venue set in the heart of the Essex countryside, just half hour from London. The stunning Queen Anne’s house is set in 500 acres of unique parkland, and its Pavilion can hold weddings up to 350 people, with dedicated spaces inside and outside licensed to host wedding services.