Wedding Traditions & Superstitions
Why do we have bridesmaids & groomsmen? Why is it called a wedding breakfast? The answers to all your wedding queries…
We love insider knowledge and little tale about weddings. We’ve gone through the history books, asked our suppliers and questioned our nana’s all to give you an insight into those wedding traditions (and superstitions) and where they came from.
Today, your bridesmaids are your closest friends and family members chosen to help with wedding planning and share ideas with, however the tradition of bridesmaids is actually a Roman custom. In Roman times, the bride would have 10 witnesses dress identical to her, acting as decoys against evil spirits trying to harm the bride – those evil spirits were once a busy bunch! The lookalikes were also seen as extra protection should a rejected suitor try to kidnap the bride on her way to the temple. Just a little bit more responsibility than helping with colour schemes and bathroom breaks!
Groomsmen – a couple of close family and friends that have been selected on the basis of throwing a great stag party? Well that wasn’t always the case. Traditionally a groom selected his groomsmen based solely on how good they were with a sword. The Best Man was actually just the best swordsman that would be able to protect the bride and groom during the ceremony from any potential threats.
The Bouquet Toss
One of the most well-known traditions and one that has many single ladies hovering behind the bride most of the night: the bouquet toss. This tradition began in medieval times: it was considered good luck for guests to get a piece of the wedding dress, so as the night went on they would take pieces of the brides dress. To make a clean getaway (with dress intact) brides started tossing the bouquet to distract potential un-dressers, talk about a tough night!
Tin Cans on Wedding Cars
As the newly-wed couple make their exit from their wedding day, often the car is decorated with writing, balloons and more often than not, tin cans. There are various insights into this tradition, but our favourite is that is was a way of protecting the newly-weds and their marriage by warding off any evil spirits, allowing the couple to begin their journey through life together, safely and happily. Apparently evil spirits were prolific in years gone by!
We’ve all heard the traditional rhyme, ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’. But did you know each has a wonderful meaning, making the items unique to each bride?
- Something Old: creating a link with the bride’s family and her past
- Something New: representing good fortune and success in the bride’s new life
- Something Borrowed: there to remind the bride that her friends and family will be with her in times of need
- Something Blue: symbolises faithfulness and loyalty – this actually dates back to biblical times, where blue represented purity
To the Left
Ever wondered if there is a correct side for bride and groom to stand on while giving their vows? Of course there is! Traditionally, the bride always stands to the left of the groom in order to leave the groom with his right hand free – also known as his sword hand. When the priest asked for any objections, it was expected that possible suitors would attempt to steal the bride and that the groom would need to be able to protect her and fight them off. It was treacherous times for brides in the olden days!
The Wedding Breakfast
One of the most popular asked questions – why is it called a ‘wedding breakfast’? The meal has nothing to do with the time of day it is served, but it’s simply the first meal that the newly-wed couple share after their marriage has taken place. Traditionally, people would have fasted from midnight before the wedding took place and then once you were married, the priest would bless the first meal taken.
Mirror Mirror on the Wall
Steer clear of full-length mirrors. A lesser known superstition, but brides shouldn’t look at herself in a full-length mirror once she is dressed. It’s not known why it is bad-luck, but better safe than sorry right?
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Many brides might be horrified at the thought of a spider crawling over their expensive wedding dress, but in English folklore it was seen as a sign of good luck! It was so lucky in fact, that you would often find the bridal party hiding a spider in the hem of the dress.
Keep his tie Straight
The groom’s tie should be perfectly straight when he enters the ceremony. Not for fear of being a slob, but apparently if it’s crooked, superstition has it that the groom will be unfaithful to his future partner. So, if you must, have your bridesmaid go to check that his tie is as straight as a ruler, or opt for a bow-tie for good measure!
Ready to make your own traditions for your wedding day? Come and see what all the fuss is about!