Wedding Customs

Bridesmaids were traditionally used to ward off evil spirits by being dressed similarly to the bride in the hope that the evil spirits would become confused and the bride would be left unaffected. The tradition of the bridesmaid being dressed similarly to the bride is seldom followed in modern weddings, although many brides do choose dresses for the maids that have the same neckline or are made out of a similar material.

Almonds are the traditional favour as they symbolise fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. That’s why pretty much everyone has been to a wedding where the favour has been sugared almonds!

It is customary for the Bride to stand to the Grooms left during the wedding ceremony. This custom dates back to the Anglo-Saxon times when the Groom would hold his Brides right hand with his left so that he could hold his sword in this right hand in case anyone tried to steal the Bride from him.

When it comes to the speeches the first one should be given by the brides father, followed by the groom with the best man last. Slowly more couples are choosing to break this tradition by having the bride say a small speech after the best man speech.

The top table should be ordered from the left as follows: Chief Bridesmaid, Grooms Dad, Brides Mum, Groom, Bride, Brides Dad, Grooms Mum, Best Man. This top table arrangement is to symbolise the joining together of two families. This custom has all but fallen by the wayside due to complex family issues, meaning many couples opt a non traditional seating plan. If you don’t want to stick to this tradition why not have a sweetheart top table for just the two of you with parents ‘hosting’ tables, or have the top table with just the couple, bridesmaids, best man and ushers.

Something old, something new, Something borrowed, something blue And a silver sixpence in your shoe is the traditional list of what a Bride needs to be kitted out with for her wedding day. Although the Silver sixpence in the shoe is rarely still practised, old, new, borrowed and blue often still is.

In the past Saturday was not the favoured day to get married as although is isn’t an unlucky day it isn’t a lucky one either. In days of old most couples got married on one of the first three days of the week.
Monday for wealth
Tuesday for health
Wednesday the best day of all
Thursday for losses
Friday for crosses
Saturday for no luck at all

May has been considered an unlucky month to marry in for a number of reasons. In Pagan times the start of summer was when the festival of Beltane was celebrated with outdoor orgies. This was therefore thought to be an unsuitable time to start married life. In Roman times the Feast of the Dead and the festival of the goddess of chastity both occurred in May. The advice was taken more seriously in Victorian times than it is today. In most Churches the end of April was a busy time for weddings as couples wanted to avoid being married in May. Queen Victoria is thought to have forbidden her children from marrying in May.

Rings worn on the third finger of the left hand. This tradition dates back to the Greeks who believed that a vein in this finger lead directly to the heart. Technically all veins lead to the heart, buy we’ll let the Greeks off as their belief dates back long before a proper understanding of the circulatory system was gained.

White wasn’t always worn by the bride. White was first worn by rich brides in the sixteenth century and the tradition was given a boost by Queen Victoria who chose to wear white when she got married to Prince Albert in 1840 instead of silver which royal brides usually wore. Before wearing white became the norm after Queen Victoria brides just wore their best dress, which could have been any colour. A bride wearing green was uncommon unless she was Irish as it was seen as a sign of promiscuity (think rolling in the grass casing green stains).

Veils have a few different customary backgrounds. According to records veils were first worn by Roman Brides. Wearing a veil became popular in Britain in the 18 hundreds and is associated to modesty and chastity. In some Eastern countries the bride is left veiled until after the ceremony is complete.

Carrying the bride over the threshold is a popular wedding custom. Where this custom came from is unclear as different sources provide different reasons for why this custom came about. One belief is that because the bride was supposed to be a virgin before her wedding night, the groom carried her over the threshold to save her from the embarrassment and scandal of looking too keen to loose her virginity. In ancient culture people believe that bride was especially likely to be taken by evil spirits that would lurk in doorways and enter the bride through the soles of her feet, therefore the groom carrying her over the threshold protected her from the evil spirits.

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