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Wedding ceremonies for todays couples are often a thoroughly modern affair. Despite the dj’s, the photo booths and the cocktail hours of today’s weddings, they are events that are steeped in traditions hundreds of years in the making. While upholding tradition isn’t always the modern couples primary intention when planning for their big day, they still manage to creep in, how then have these traditions adapted to the changing times and how can they be slotted into today’s wedding ceremonies?
Regardless of how fashion conscious a bride might be, very few British brides, even today, will be willing to walk down the aisle without their ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’. These four ‘something’s’, worn as part of the brides wedding day attire are from British folklore dating from the 1800’s, however could very well have existed in some form before this. It is thought that by wearing these items, the bride ward off evil on he wedding day and bring luck upon herself and her marriage.
Something old is thought to symbolise the brides past, something new symbolises the bride and grooms future, something borrowed is traditionally given to the prospective bride from an already married woman and is intended to give the new bride a piece of her own marital happiness while blue is an ancient symbol of purity and loyalty. In today’s weddings, these items are often organised and gifted by the brides female friends and family as little tokens to carry with her on the day. How can they be incorporated into your own day? Customisable vintage safety pins with items such as a sixpence pieces or blue beads are a good way to incorporate these items in a subtle and beautiful way. They can be pinned to garters or the inside of a wedding gown for a more hidden nod to tradition or alternatively, pinned to the ribbon of your bouquet for a more obvious token of good luck.
Another quirky tradition is the tossing of the wedding bouquet. Tradition dictates that whichever female guest catches the brides bouquet will be the next to marry. This is a tradition that is still largely upheld by many brides, however, interestingly, this is also linked to another quirky tradition- the removal of the brides garter. The groom removes the brides garter and it is then thrown amongst the male guests, whichever man catches the garter is meant to place it in the left leg of the woman who caught the bouquet. If loosing your beautiful bouquet is the last thing you want to do, but you still fancy a little taste of tradition, consider having a smaller, less extravagant bouquet made up for this purpose, that way, you get to keep your original and you can still have a little fun with the bridal party.
Some other quirky little wedding traditions? One that has remained throughout history is the wearing of the wedding and engagement rings on the fourth finger of the left hand. Why is this? It’s because historically this finger is thought to contain a vein that led directly to the heart. Brides all over the world still uphold this. The throwing of confetti is something that dates back hundreds of years. Traditionally however, it was not small fragments of coloured paper that were showered upon the newlyweds but rice or grain. This was thought to symbolise fertility. In terms of how this evolved into the paper confetti favoured by today’s wedding guests, the Victorians showered newlyweds in coloured leaves, which is perhaps where the notion of leaves of coloured paper originated from. The carrying of the bride over the threshold of the couples home is another that has withstood the test of time. It is thought that this custom protected new brides from any evils that could be lurking in the marital home. While evils in the marital home aren’t necessarily a modern worry, it’s now become a fun little tradition to enter into married life as a newly joined couple.