We have all heard the wedding tradition – Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue …. But have you heard of the ending – a sixpence (or a penny) in her shoe? It’s surprising how many people have never heard the full saying.
Here we will outline the most popular traditions and also their origin and meanings. Traditions are a lovely way to incorporate rituals that have been used by brides across the world for 100’s sometimes 1000’s of years.
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue and a Sixpence in Her Shoe.
This represents the link with the bride’s family and their past. A popular choice is antique jewellery or a handkerchief that has been past down through generations. If you don’t have anything in your family to use, don’t be afraid to start your own traditions. Visit an antique store or go through your mum/grandma’s jewellery collection.
This represents success and good fortune for the bride’s new life with her husband and family – the most popular choice is generally the wedding gown.
This reminds the bride that family and friends will always be there for her when she needs help – This can be anything you choose, however must be returned for good luck.
The colour blue is the symbol of loyalty and faithfulness – The modern choice is a blue garter, however traditionally the bride would tie a small blue ribbon in her hair.
A Sixpence In Her Shoe
The sixpence is a wish of wealth for the bride and her new husband – Tape the sixpence (or penny) on the base of the shoe near the heel or inside the shoe under the arch. Some brides like to select a coin that is from the year their grandmother was born for added luck.
The Wedding Veil
The exact origin of the wedding veil is still unclear, however, it has been suggested that the wedding veil originated centuries before the wedding dress. A popular explanation is that it dates back to when the groom would throw a blanket over his brides head when he captured her and carried her away. Another theory is that during the times when arranged marriages were still used the bride’s family would cover her face until the groom was committed during the wedding ceremony, once he was committed it was too late for him to run away if he was not happy with his bride!
The bride’s engagement ring and wedding band are worn traditionally on the left hand, third finger. This tradition dates back to ancient Egypt, the Egyptians believed this finger (ring finger) followed the “vena amoris” otherwise known as the “vein of love” which runs directly to the heart.
Bridal flowers have a very long history and date back to ancient times, when the bride would carry strong scented herbs and flowers to send away evil spirits and ward off poor health and bad luck.
It is said that during Roman times floral garlands were worn by the bride and groom, to symbolise hope, fertility and new life. The bridal bouquet also symbolised that a woman was in full bloom.
During the Victorian times a different meaning was born. Courting couples would send love messages to each other using flowers, each flower having a different meaning and message. These meanings as still used today.
The most popular flowers for a bridal bouquet are tulips, roses and lilies. These flowers mean:
- Red Rose – Love
- White Rose – Worthiness
- Pink or White Rose– Love and Beauty
- Tulips – Love
- Lilies – Return of Happiness
Why Does The Bride Stand On The Left?
During the wedding ceremony, the groom will always stand on the right with his bride on the left. This tradition dates back to a time when the groom would steal his bride and if he had to fight off other men he would hold his bride with on his left arm and use his right hand to swing his sword.
The Best Man
Traditionally the best man was the strongest and best fighter the groom could find, he was used to fend off the brides father, brothers and other suitors. This was generally done if the marriage did not have the bride’s families blessing.
A Diamond Engagement Ring
The tradition of showing your enduring love by proposing with a diamond engagement ring came from the medieval Italians. The Italians believed that a diamond was formed and created from the flames of love. This was then given to the bride as a symbol of an unbreakable love.
The Wedding Garter
The tradition of the garter toss was founded in France, as the French considered anything the bride wore to be lucky. The garter would be thrown by the bride and the catcher would have good luck.
The throwing of rice over a couple who had just exchanged vows was first originated from the ancient pagans. The pagans believed that grain represented fertility and by showering the couple with grain they were wishing them many children.