Bridal Club Magazine
Roots of Common Wedding Superstitions and Traditions
Origins of the Word 'Wedding'
The word 'wedding' actually comes from the Gothic word
wadi, meaning 'to pledge'. In Old English, the ceremony
was either called a weddung (state of being wed), or a
bridelope (bridal run), in reference to the practice of
escorting the bride to her new home.
The Roots of 'Tying the Knot'
Nobody knows exactly where the phrase 'to tie the knot' comes from.
The are several major theories: that a) it dates back to Ancient
Roman culture, where the bride's mother would tie up her daughters
undergarments in a very difficult knot, which was to provide a
challenge to the groom on the wedding night; b) it dates back to
Ancient Greece, where either the priest or bride's patriarch would
tie the garments of the couple together to symbolise marriage; c)
nets of knotted string were used to support mattresses prior to the
invention of bedsprings- so in order to make the marriage bed, one
needed to tie the knot(s); d)an old English custom where the bride
and groom's hands would be tied together, and not allowed to be
untied until they had consumated the marriage; or e) illiterate
sailors and soldiers would send a piece of rope to their
sweethearts as a marriage proposal- if they sent the rope back with
a knot, it meant that they'd agreed.
Contrary to popular belief, wearing white does not symbolise
virginity or purity in general. It was a trend begun by Queen
Victoria when she married Prince Albert in 1840. Up until that
date, brides eiither wore a particularly beautiful or lavish dress
of any colour, or any more functional colour like black or brown,
to be reused again. This trend was slowly picked up by the public,
and used as a form of conspicuous consumption- wearing a white
dress indicated wealth as it would be irreperably spoilt by any
work or spillage (implying that your family had money to spend on
non-functional, beautiful pieces).
The Engagement Ring
The engagement ring was first used in Ancient Egypt, where the
circle was used to symbolise the cyclical and never ending nature
of all things in existence, and the space in it as a spiritual
gateway. Betrothal rings were similarly used in Ancient Greece and
Rome, but did not reach widespread popularity throught Europe until
the thirteenth century. They are worn on the fourth finger as the
Ancient Greeks believed that was where a vein leading directly to
the heart existed.
This stems from an Ancient Roman tradition, where veils were
believed to protect brides from evil spirits who would attempt to
attack her purity. During the 1800's
in Britain however, the veil came to symbolize modesty and
chastity. Many religions additionally use head coverings to
symbolise modesty and humity before God during a religious
New, Borrowed and Blue
'old' is supposed to represent the bride's past, the 'new', her
future with her husband, the 'borrowed' object should be from a
person with a successful marriage, in the hopes that some of this
good fortune rubs off on her, and blue is representative of love
Seeing Each Other
Before the Wedding
considered to be bad luck as it would allow for either party to
reconsider the marriage- presumedly on account of wedding jitters.
Avoiding each other meant that there was no opportunity for this.
Today, however, this superstition is often disregarded, and it is
now common practice for the bride and groom to meet for photo
shoots immediately before the wedding.
Using Your Married
Name Before the Wedding
known superstition maintains that using your married name or
initials before the wedding day will tempt the fates, and that your
wedding day will never take place! So for those who consider
themselves superstitious: you have been warned.
dates back to Celtic Ireland and Scotland, where it was believed
that ringing bells had the power to ward off evil spirits and grant
wishes. Although such pagan beliefs have been widely abandoned, the
tradition has remained and come to symbolise the announcement of a
new life spent together and happiness.
Rain on Your
one of the earliest and most ubiquitous wedding superstitions. And
the explanation is simple- rain symbolises renewal and
Carrying the Bride
Over the Threshold
superstition originated in Europe during the Dark Ages, where it
was believed that newly- wed women were unusually susceptible to
evil spirits, who would attack her through the soles of her feet.
So in order to avoid this potential chaos, new bridegrooms tok to
carrying their wives over the threshold of their new home.
back to pagan wedding rituals throughout Europe, where throwing
rice at a couple represented fertility and prosperity. Some
cultures will throw small pieces of crumbled cake with the same
meaning. Nowadays, confetti or rose petals are thrown in place of
rice due to a number of both practical and environmental
newlywed couple symbolise their unity, shared future and lives
together by cutting the wedding
cake together. The
traditional fruit cake originated in Britain, with the fruit and
nuts being a symbol of fertility. If the bride and groom were able
to kiss over the cake without toppling it, this was considered to
be indicative of a lifetime of good fortune and
tradition actually began with the Norse custom of 'kidnapping' the
bride. What began as a relatively quick ritual developed into more
lengthy and elborate enactments of this custom. Eventually, it
became customary for a bride and groom to go into hiding for 30
days (or one lunar cycle). Each day, a close friend or family
member would bring a cup of honeywine to the couple- hence the name
this ritual still retains: the honeymoon.