Something Old, Something New… and other traditions.

An image of a bride and groom dancing
The first dance tradition.

Hi Everyone.

Brr! I don’t know about you but I am not built for this weather. It’s far too cold! I’m going to try very hard not to spill my hot chocolate all over my laptop whilst writing this week’s blog. A daily hot chocolate in the winter is a tradition of mine and that segues neatly into my topic…. traditions. Even now in the 21st century, there are certain things we do in our lives that have been around for years and will more than likely be here long after we’ve departed the earth. This is never truer in the case of weddings. There are so many little superstitions, rituals and traditions that you would have thought would have died out by now, but they are still going strong.

I mean one of the main superstitions is the bride and groom spending the night apart, the night before the wedding. Even after the advent of co-habiting, in some cases already having children, this is one tradition that remains sacred. It’s more about being the symbolic gesture rather than the actual physical logistics. Spending your final evening alone, and then if you are the bride in the morning being surrounded by all the significant females in your life, before you take your Dad’s arm and he leads you to your groom to give you away. I know in these modern times people find the notion of ‘being given away’ at odds with feminism, but I don’t think it is about ownership or about being ‘passed on’. It is more a gesture of appreciation as opposed to the Roman tradition of literally giving your child away.

Another big tradition is ‘something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.’

Old- this symbolises the links and bonds between families. Notably some of the family jewels or an old heirloom.

New – this is usually the rings or a dress  (whether it’s reloved or not, it’s new to you) and represents future good fortunes.

Borrowed – this is to symbolise that the people you love and who love you back can be relied on. And if you borrow something you have to give it back. I know lots of brides who have borrowed veils from their friend or sisters. The options for ‘something borrowed’ are limitless. Anything you’ve ever coveted from someone – now is your time to call it in! I have a few items that I know I’d like to borrow from friends and family, it’s a shame I can only pick one thing. You could borrow a tiara, a veil or a handbag, which is what Jemma from our Maldon store did when she got married in September. She borrowed a gorgeous pearl clutch bag that our friend Joanna used on her wedding day. I’ve got my eye on it too if I am being completely honest.

Blue- as blue is often associated with stability, trust and faith it naturally comes in to weddings in some way or another. A little blue bow can be sewn in to your dress if you wish, just ask your seamstress.

Image of a small blue ribbon sewn into a wedding dress.
A tiny blue ribbon in a Vera Wang wedding dress.

We are so used to hearing those four things that we often forget about the ‘sixpence for your shoe’, but rest assured even if you do, here at Bridal Reloved we don’t! Each of our brides gets a sixpence to take away when she comes to collect her dress. This age old tradition is supposed to bring brides happiness and prosperity in their married lives and in all the weddings I have attended I haven’t yet; met one bride who hasn’t followed the tradition.

An image of a lucky sixpence
Lucky sixpence

I had a look at some other traditions and superstitions and found some really surprising ones.

* The reason a groom carries a bride over the threshold is to protect her from any spirits that maybe lurking underneath.

* The bride stands on the left so that the grooms right hand is kept free for sword fighting, should the need arise, you know, as it might, maybe?!

* Confetti – used to be rice or grain which was said to encourage fertility, and rather annoyingly rats and other vermin (!) This is probably the reason it changed to paper in the 1900s.

An image of a bride and groom being showered with confetti
Jemma and Toby being showered in confetti back in September.

* Gifts, it’s tradition to give gifts to help the happy couple set up home or a new tradition is to give holiday vouchers as the couple already have everything they need from living in sin for many years previously (shock face!)

* Cake, in medieval times cake was presented to the couple by the guests, they would each bring a cake and place it at the feet of the bride and groom, the bride and groom then kissed over the pile for good luck. This may be why cakes traditionally come in stacked tiers.

An image of a wedding cake.
A stunning naked wedding cake. A very popular new trend.

* Bridesmaids acted in Roman times as a decoy, to confuse evil spirits from cursing the bride. Traditionally they wore virtually an identical outfit to the bride…….. well that’s not going to happen – #StealingMyThunder – who do you think you are? Pippa Middleton?

An image of brodesmaids dresses
Bridesmaids – white/ivory dresses are becoming very popular. The Pippa Middleton effect perhaps?

* Veils were also worn to keep out evil spirits. The Victorians believed the longer the veil the more ostentatious the statement.

An image of a bride in a veil.
A veil to ward away evil spirits.

*Interestingly the best man was chosen by way of strength. Whomever was the best fighter/swordsman got the part in case he was called upon to fight against resistance from the bride’s family or any other threats.

An image of the best man
Best Man. Always vet the speech you don’t want Great Aunt Sally hearing about the unfortunate Mankini incident on the stag!

* In Hindu culture if it rains on your wedding day it is considered very lucky. It means you are being showered with blessings. All the more reason to get married in April.

*A South Asian tradition is to adorn the hands of the bride with henna.  The intricate patterns are beautiful and it is said the darker the colour the deeper the love your spouse has for you.

An image of applying henna
Applying henna. You want to pray it comes out dark! #HowDeepIsYourLove

* Apparently the reason engagement rings and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand is because it’s believed a vein from that finger leads directly to the heart.

An image of a bride's wedding and engagement ring.
Jemma showing off her bling.

* The western custom of wearing a white wedding dress is a relatively new one. It began in 1840 when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. Before then brides simply wore their best dress.

* Favours are a nice way of thanking your guests for coming to celebrate your day…. And of course traditionally to show off your wealth.

An image of various favours
So many favour ideas these days – you have to get a bit creative.

* Throwing the bouquet and tossing the garter generally comes hand in hand. The bride throws the bouquet and whichever lucky lady catches it is said to be next to marry, and for the men…… well the groom tosses the garter in to the crowed and whichever man catches it marries next….. To each other? Stranger things have happened (see most of the points above!)

An image of the bride tossing the bouquet.
Catching the bouquet at a wedding is an actual competitive sport. I’m on the GB team. #SeriousSportswoman

In the coming weeks I’m going to be looking at other wedding traditions and customs from around the world. Keep an eye out for those blogs, remember if you want to be sure your haven’t missed those then sign up and subscribe and give me a follow on Twitter @zbridalreloved

Zarina xx

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