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#WeddingWednesday: Tradition and Superstition

#WeddingWednesday: Tradition & Superstition

Ever wonder why a certain tradition exists?  Or do you want to know what superstitions surround weddings?  This #WeddingWednesday we have a great deal of traditions and superstitions to share!  It is interesting to learn how different things came about.  Please share any that you know of that are not included below.

The Cake

Typically the top tier is saved for the first year anniversary.  The cake was originally bread and it was broken over the bride’s head to promote fertility.  Early Roman bakers changed the focal dessert to cake.

Retrieved from: Wedding Salon

There once was a game where the bride and groom would try to kiss each other over an ever-growing cake without knocking it over which brought about the now traditional tiered cake at weddings.

Retrieved from: Clever Wedding Ideas

The Wedding Candle

Three candles are used for the wedding.  The side tapers represent the families of the bride and groom signifying your connection to your family.  The middle candle which is also called the unity candle symbolizes your marriage and the unification of the two families.  As the two flames combine into one so are the bride and groom joined in marriage.  The side tapers can be blown out to stand for your new life as a couple.  They can also continue to burn showing the continued ties between your family or the continuation of your individuality.

Retrieved from: Frans Candles

The Rings

As a circle with no beginning nor end, the ring is meant to symbolize eternity.

Retrieved from:

It was previously believed by ancient Romans that the vein in the fourth finger of the left hand leads directly to the heart.  This belief is why all wedding and engagement rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand.

Medieval grooms would place the ring on three of the bride’s fingers to symbolize God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  The ring stayed on the third finger which is the customary ring finger for English speaking cultures.

In some cultures the ring is worn on the bride’s left hand before the marriage.  The ring is moved to her right hand following the ceremony.

Also in the past, husbands would perform a ritual to ensure their wives’ spirits would stay around for a while.  To complete the ritual the husband would wrap the bride’s ankles and wrists with ropes made of grass.  Now, brides no longer have their wrists and ankles bound only their ring fingers and grooms now do this as well.  The grass changed to leather then stone then metal and it is now gold and silver. These rings symbolize the love and bond between the husband and wife.

A sapphire in a wedding ring indicates marital happiness in the symbolic language of jewels

Retrieved from: Brilliant Earth

Since its shape appears to be a tear, a pear engagement ring is associated with bad luck

Retrieved from: Sylvie

At the age of two Henry VIII’s daughter, Princess Mary was given one of history’s earliest engagement rings.

Retrieved from: Queen Anne Boleyn

Seventeen tons of gold are made into wedding rings each year in the United States

Retrieved from:

The Bouquet

The single lady who catches the bouquet is next to be married.

Photo by Allana Taranto

Prior to using flowers in the bouquet women would carry bunches of garlic, herbs and grains to keep evil spirits away as they walked down the aisle. This changed to flowers so that the bouquet would represent fertility and everlasting love.

Retrieved from: Bride Box

In Hawaii the bride and groom wear leis and newlyweds in India wear floral headdresses.

Retrieved from: The Wedding Specialists

The Dress

Women did not always wear white on their wedding day—it wasn’t even until Queen Victoria wore a white gown on her wedding day that this became the tradition for weddings.

Retrieved from: History Today

Blue used to be the color that represented purity.  The bride and groom used to wear a blue band around the bottom of their attire.

Brides in Korea wear red and yellow when they are getting married

Retrieved from: The Marriage

Brides and groom cross-dressed to confuse evil spirits in Denmark

Today, it is not uncommon for brides to add a pop of color to their dress with a sash, cardigan, pair of shoes or piece of jewelry.  The bride could also have a light colored skirt with a white or ivory overlay.  Other popular dress colors also include champagne, black, blush and pastel hued dresses

Retrieved from: AllWomensTalk


Bridesmaids used to dress identical to the bride to help protect the bride from evil spirits on their wedding day.  It was believed that these spirits would not be able to differentiate the bride from the rest of the pack if they all looked the same!

In the past, a senior maid attended to the bride-to-be several days before the wedding.  She would ensure that the bridal wreath was made and assist the bride as she got dressed for her day.  Now, this role is known as the matron of honor.  All of the bridesmaids would help decorate for the reception.

Retrieved from: Sashes Now

Today, your bridesmaids do not need to match at the wedding.  You can let your bridesmaids choose their own dress which will let their personalities come through.  The bridesmaids will also be able to choose a dress that is flattering for her figure.  To pull off the mismatched look there must be at least one cohesive element.  The cohesive element could be the same fabric, color or length.  If you want them all to wear the same dress you can still allow them to personalize their look.  Different tights or jewelry could be worn to make each look original.

Photo by Dan Aguirre

Your bridesmaids could also have different kinds of flowers.  Each could carry a bouquet in a signature color.  Also, each could have different types of flowers all in the same hue.  Different fancy ribbon wrappings would also help to allow each bridesmaid to stand out.

The Groomsmen

Formerly ushers and best men were considered to be a small army who would assist the groom by kidnapping the bride from her family.  They would help fight off the bride’s angry relatives as the groom took her away.  The ushers dress in clothing similar to the groom’s attire to ward off evil spirits so they won’t know which is the groom.

Photo by: Dan Aguirre

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue and a Silver Six Pence in her Shoe

These objects bring the bride good luck. Something old is representative of the link with the bride’s family and the past.  Something new signifies good fortune and success in the bride’s new life.  Something borrowed symbolizes the bride’s friends and family being there for her when she needs them.  Something blue stands for faithfulness and loyalty.  The silver six pence in her shoe wishes the bride wealth.

Retrieved from: Wedding Wire

Giving Away the Bride

Daughters were considered to be their father’s “property” in the past.

Now, you do not have to have your father walk you down the aisle.  You could instead have a closer relative or friend walk with you or you could walk down by yourself or with your spouse.  The idea that a daughter is considered her father’s property is long gone now.  The tradition remains to signify the bond that a bride has with her family and also to show the family’s acceptance and trust of the bride’s groom.

Photo by Jared Charney

Throwing Rice

This tradition began as a way to shower newlyweds with fertility.

Peas are thrown at Czech newlyweds instead of rice.

Retrieved from: Bridal Guide

Confetti, glitter, popcorn or herbs can also be used in place of throwing rice.  Your guests can also wave ribbon wands or ring bells.

Garter Belt

This is considered to be good luck to whoever catches it.  The tradition comes from the ancient custom of having witnesses at the marriage bed who ensured that the couple consummated the marriage and would bring it forth to prove they were there.  Having witnesses became such a violation of privacy that the bride then had the groom throw it to prove consummation.

Retrieved from: Lightsounds

The Veil

Originally, in Roman times, the veil covered the bride from head to toe.  The veil was later used as her burial shroud.  It used to be a way to ward off evil spirits and protect the bride’s purity on her wedding day.  In some cultures in the Middle East and Asia the veil was worn to hide the bride’s face from the groom so that the first time he would ever see her would be after they were married.

Retrieved from: Strictly Weddings

Now, many brides opt for a headband, flower crown or a couple of sparkly head clips.  They may even choose not to have anything in their hair at all.

Over the Threshold

It was believed that the groom carrying his new bride over the threshold would prevent bringing bad luck into the household.

Retrieved from: Vintage Brides Tumblr Page

It was considered to be ladylike for the new bride to seem hesitant to “give herself” to her new husband.  Her husband would carry her over the threshold as encouragement for her to go in.

Shoes Tied to the Car Bumper

The brides’ shoes used to be symbols of authority and possession.  They would be taken away from her as she was led to the wedding place and given to the groom by her father.  The tradition symbolized the transfer of his authority to her new husband.  This signified that the husband took over possession of her and that she could not run away from it.  He would then tap her on the head to show his new role as her master.

Retrieved from: Wonderful Wraps

The Bachelor Party

This tradition was originally called the bachelor dinner or stag party.  The tradition began around the fifth century, in Sparta, where military comrades would feast and toast one another the night before a friend’s wedding.  This still takes place close to the actual wedding date.  It is representative of the groom’s “last taste of freedom.”  Today it has become associated with much risqué behavior.  The purpose of the party is so the groom can release his anxieties prior to the big day.

Bridal Showers

The bridal shower began in Holland.  If a bride’s father did not approve of the husband-to- be he would not give her the necessary dowry.  The bride’s friends would then “shower” her with gifts so the she could marry the man that she chose.

Retrieved from: Green Wedding Shoes 


The Teutonic people started the tradition of the honeymoon in ancient times.  Teutonic weddings were only held under the full moon.  Following the Teutonic wedding the bride and groom would drink honey wine for one full moon cycle or thirty days.  This became known as the honeymoon.  The purpose of the honeymoon has now changed.  Newlyweds leave their family after the wedding to do what they are supposed to do.  Today, a vacation is a piece of that.

Retrieved from: Dades Experience Tours

Some Other Fun Facts

  1. Tucking a sugar cube into your glove will sweeten your marriage

    Retrieved from: Pinterest
  2. If you find a spider in your wedding dress then that is symbolic of good luck

    Retrieved from: Pinterest
  3. Wednesday is the best day to marry, Monday is better for wealth and Tuesday is best for health
  4. Saturday is the unluckiest day to get married which is ironic as it is the most popular wedding day.
  5. The luckiest time to marry was determined by studying pig entrails in Ancient Rome
  6. According to Hindu tradition rain on your wedding day is actually good luck

    Retrieved from: Arboretum Weddings
  7. Egyptian women pinch the bride on her wedding day for good luck
  8. Middle Eastern brides paint henna on their hands and feet to protect themselves from the evil eyeTradition
  9. Princess Salama’s wedding in Dubai in 1981 was the most expensive wedding ever, costing $44 million.
  10. 7,000 couples marry each day in the United States on average.
  11. The phrase “tying the knot” came from the bride and grooms hands being literally tied together in some countries.  The tradition symbolizes the couple’s commitment to each other and their new bond as a married couple.

    Retrieved from: Pinterest
  12. If their younger sister is married first then the older sister must dance barefoot at the wedding.  If she doesn’t it is said that she will risk never getting a husband.

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