Have you ever questioned why guests throw rice or birdseed as a newly married couple walks down the aisle together for the first time as man and wife? Are you curious to know the origins of the adage, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?” For what reason do men and women avoid seeing each other before they officially tie the knot? Will it really increase guests’ chances of getting married if they catch a flying bouquet or a frilly, lacy garter belt?
Most American wedding customs have their roots deeply planted in other countries’ traditions. For example, in Roman times, kissing was a way of signing legal contracts. Today, however, the bride and groom kiss after saying their vows to give their guests a nonverbal cue that they are now “man and wife.”
Before you commit to a lifetime of married bliss, consult this guide to make sure that you know the true meaning behind the old-fashioned customs you will incorporate into your special day. Learn about the origin of each rite and what kind of role it plays in preparing you for your big day.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and nothing says, “I love you,” more than a sparkling diamond set in a beautiful engagement or wedding ring. Medieval Italians were the first to favor the precious stone, claiming that it was created from the flames of love.
Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride
Bridal parties were started by Anglo Saxon grooms who appointed knights to guard the bride and her dowry from thieves and hooligans. Chances are great that the earliest bridesmaids were exempt from wearing hideous dresses.
Wearing White Wasn’t Always Right
Ancient wedding gowns were blue. Queen Victoria changed that tradition by showing up in a fashionable white dress in the mid 1800s. However, the tradition of incorporating “something blue” has still withstood the test of time.
“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence in her shoe,” was a verse written in the Victorian Era to symbolize the importance of friendship, new beginnings, happiness, fidelity and prosperity.
• Something old gives the bride a way to connect to her past and the life that she is leaving behind. Antique jewelry tends to be a favorite object to wear to satisfy this part of the tradition.
• Something new symbolizes the life a woman will share with her husband. The wedding dress itself meets the requirement of being something new.
• Something borrowed is any item used by the bride that was lent to her by a family member or friend. A happily married confidante shares her success by passing her good fortune on to the bride.
• Something blue is derived from the time where all wedding dresses were blue. Blue was a symbol of modesty and fidelity.
• Sixpence in her shoe was a way of generating prosperity for the blushing bride and her husband-to-be.
Visit MyExpression.com to find more about wedding invitations and stationery, and learn more about old fashioned wedding customs by visiting brides.com. Some rules may be hard to believe, while others will make more sense once you learn about their historical origins.