Some Weddings Traditions,

Rituals and Superstitions.

Read about the wedding cake.



The Cake.

The tradition of the wedding cake dates back to Roman times small oat cakes were baked and broken over the brides head to confrere fertility upon her.
Sharing the cake among guests continues this tradition. It is considered bad luck if one of the guests refuses a piece of cake, the bad luck befalling both the couple and the person who refused it.

Originally the cake was called the groom's cake. We haven't as yet found out why, can anyone help?

Something Blue. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
and a silver sixpence for her shoe.
This is an old wedding rhyme, the origins of which are described below.
Something Old. This is traditionally a garter or handkerchief from a happily married woman so that her happiness will rub off on the new bride.
Something New. This is traditionally the wedding gown itself.

Something Borrowed.

The borrowed was a piece of gold to symbolize future prosperity and a symbol of the sun
Something Blue. Blue is often a blue ribbon to represent the power of the moon to make dreams come true.
A Silver Sixpence for her shoe.

In some areas the silver sixpence was presented by the groom to the bride, as a token of love and sharing.
And in the hope that it would bring prosperity.
Nowadays it is traditional for the brides father to place the coin in one of the brides shoes (usually the right) before leaving home for the ceremony.

The Honeymoon.

The word honeymoon comes from medieval times when the bride and groom would drink honey mead for one month after they were married.

Read about honeymoon planning or find a honeymoon destination.

Why White.

White is traditionally worn as a wedding colour in the west. The origin again of this is Roman they considered white the colour of celebration. The white symbolizing purity, while the Victorians considered it a sign of affluence.

In Britain prior to the 1500's the wedding dress could be any colour, it was with the marriage of Anne of Brittany in 1499 that the tradition of the white wedding gown became established. In Asia including China and Japan white is the colour of death and is not used for weddings, red is considered the colour of celebration and is used mainly as a wedding colour in those countries.

Wedding Colour Rhyme's.
Marry in White, everything right
Marry in Blue, lover be true
Marry in Pink, spirits will sink
Marry in Gray, live far away
Marry in Brown, live out of town
Marry in Green, ashamed to be seen
Marry in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow
Marry in Black, wish you were back
Marry in Red, wish you were dead
Marry in Tan, he'll be a loved man
Marry in Pearl, you'll live in a whirl

Married in Red, you wish yourself dead.
Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow.
Married in Black, you wish yourself back.
Married in Pink, of you he will think.
Married in White, you have chosen right.
Married in Green, ashamed to be seen.
Married in Gray, you will go far away.


The Veil.

Ancient folklore dictates that an old veil is luckier than a new one, particularly so if it is borrowed from a happily married woman. The happiness good luck and fertility is supposed to pass on to the wearer in her new life.

In some parts of the world the veil would be brightly coloured to ward off evil spirits. In parts of the world where arranged marriages were the norm the purpose of the veil was to prevent the groom actually seeing the bride before he had made the wedding commitment.

Originally the veil symbolized youth and virginity.

The Threshold.

Carrying the bride over the threshold is said to bring good luck this must be done when entering their new home after the ceremony. The reasons for this are lost in the mists of time. One explanation is that it comes from Anglo Saxon times when the groom stole his bride and carried her off, another is that it avoids bad luck if the bride falls.

Decorating The Wedding Car.

Tying shoes to the wedding car comes from Tudor times, when guests would throw shoes at the couple as they left their reception, it was considered good luck if the bride or groom were struck by one of the shoes. Tin cans are tied to the car in the belief that the noise will drive away evil spirits.

Wedding Anniversaries.

At one time each anniversary was represented by a different material. These were practical things that the couple would need in their everyday life, as their wedding gifts wore out. This tradition is now reduced to just a few anniversaries such as Silver and Gold.

Most people think that a golden anniversary gift must actually be gold, this is not the case, it can simply be coloured gold or wrapped in gold paper. We have listed the anniversaries below.

Wedding Anniversaries.
1st Cotton Paper Clocks
2nd Paper Cotton China
3rd Leather Leather Crystal
4th Fruit Linen Appliance
5th Wood Wood Silver
6th Sugar Iron Wood
7th Copper Copper Desk Equipment
8th Bronze Bronze Linen or Lace
9th Pottery Pottery Leather
10th Tin Tin Diamond
11th Steel Steel Jewelry
12th Silk Silk Pearls
13th Lace Lace Fur
14th Ivory Ivory Gold
15th Crystal Crystal Watch
20th China China Platinum
25th Silver Silver Silver
30th Pearl Pearl Diamond
35th Coral Coral Jade
40th Ruby Ruby Ruby
45th Sapphire Sapphire Sapphire
50th Gold Gold Gold
55th Emerald Emerald Emerald
60th Diamond Diamond Diamond
70th Platinum Platinum Platinum
75th Diamond Diamond Diamond


Wedding Superstitions.

Read about superstitions in general.

1 May is traditionally regarded as an unlucky month for marriage.(Marry in May and rue the day.) The Romans used the month of May as a time to make offerings to the dead.
2 If a girl is a bridesmaid three times she is likely to be a spinster unless she can be a bridesmaid seven times.
3 A matron of honor is considered more lucky than a bridesmaid, as a matron of honor represents stability in marriage.
4 It is said that if it rains at the marriage it will be a sad marriage, or if a strong wind blows it will be a turbulent one.
5 It would be considered very bad luck if the bride were to trip or stumble when entering her new home for the first time, to avoid this the groom should carry the bride over the threshold of the hotel or house after the ceremony and also over the bedroom threshold.
6 It is considered lucky for the bride to cry during the ceremony, but bad luck at any other time during the day.
7 A certain way for the bride to ensure happiness is to feed the family cat before leaving for the church.
8 Whilst talking about cats if a cat sneezes on the wedding day it's a sure sign of good luck for the couple.
9 The wedding car breaking down on the way to the service is considered to be exceptionally bad luck for everyone concerned.
10 If the sun shines on the bride and especially if there is a rainbow in the sky it is considered to be a sign of exceptional good luck.
11 No matter how tempted you are, or how good a cook you happen to be, don't bake your own wedding cake or you may be destined to work hard for the rest of your life.
12 If any of the guests refuse a piece of cake it is considered not only to bring bad luck on them but also on the bride and groom.
13 It is said that sisters who marry on the same day or even on the same year are likely to be embarking upon unhappy marriages.
14 Meeting a chimney sweep on the way to a wedding is though to bring good luck. Other good luck omens when seen on the way to the ceremony include spiders, lambs, toads, rainbows, and black cats.
15 When the bride is leaving her home she should step over the threshold right foot first.
16 Jointly cutting the cake is said to announce that the couple intend to share all their possessions.
17 If the bride reads through the wedding ceremony before it takes place she risks bad luck and the possibility that the wedding may not take place.
18 The tradition of the bride feeding the first piece of cake to the groom, means that she is symbolically giving herself to him.
19 If a single girl sleeps with a piece of wedding cake beneath her pillow, it is said that it will cause her to dream of her future husband.
20 It was once the custom to keep a tier of the wedding cake to be used at the christening of the first child. Keeping a piece of cake was also supposed to ensure the husbands faithfulness.
21 In Rome there was a tradition that 10 witnesses were required five brides maids and five best men, they had to be dressed identically to the bride and groom so that mischievous spirits who were always around at times of celebrations would be unable to know which were the happy couple.
22 The bouquet was traditionally a symbol of plenty the greenery was originally ears of corn for fertility.
23 The confetti which is now thrown over the bride was originally wheat or rice, so that when the crop grew she would be with child. In Roman times nuts were thrown for the same reason, this is still carried on in parts of France. In Italy small sweets were thrown.
24 Yellow wedding veils were worn in Roman times in both the East and the West the bride was required to keep her face covered until the wedding.
25 Tossing the garter, this tradition evolved from the 14th century when it was considered good luck to have a piece of the brides dress, there doesn't seem to have been any etiquette as to how this was achieved, resulting sometimes in a free for all where the dress was literally ripped apart, to avoid this it became customary for the bride to throw the garter to the crowd.
26 The kiss this is perhaps one of the oldest of the wedding traditions, the kiss was used as a seal of agreement to contracts (mainly in the middle east.) So it follows that the kiss was used at the end of the wedding ceremony, to seal the contract.
When the bride is leaving the house for the wedding ceremony she should take a last look in the mirror will bring her good luck. She should not return to the mirror after she has began her journey or bad luck will follow.
On her way to the church if a bride sees an open grave, a pig, a lizard, or hears a rooster crow after dawn are all thought to be bad omens. Meeting Monks and nuns is also considered a bad omen's. It is thought that the couple may become dependent on charity, and because Monks and Nuns are associated with poverty and chastity.
29 If the bride encounters bad weather on the way to the wedding this is considered to be an omen of an unhappy marriage. Snows during the journey is a good omen as it is associated with fertility and wealth. Cloudy skies and wind are believed to cause a tempestuous marriages.

In some county's of Ireland it was thought that eating a double yoked egg would confer fertility upon the couple. A laying hen was often tied to the bed on the first night of the honeymoon for the same reason.

31 In Scotland it was customary for a woman with milk in her breasts to prepare the marital bed to promote fertility in the newlyweds.
32 The original bridal canopy was used so that malevolent influences could not cast an evil eye upon her before the ceremony.









The Ring.

The origin of the engagement ring can be traced to Rome where in 860 AD Pope Nicholas made a decree that an engagement ring should be worn to show the intent of the woman to marry.

The reason diamond's are used in engagement rings is because diamond is the hardest and most enduring substance known, so by using them in a wedding ring it was considered that the marriage would last for ever.

The ring has long been a potent symbol for lovers. It is believed that marriage rings were exchanged in Roman times. There were finger rings in use in early iron age Britain although it is not known if they had any significance to marriage.
In the Middle ages rings were used as a sign of wealth prior to the introduction of coinage. Wearing a wedding ring was considered to protect the bride from evil spirits.

Placing the ring on the third finger of the left hand is derived from the Roman belief that the vein in this finger "vena amoris" was directly connected to the heart

Love Ritual's.

Dreaming of Love.

According to custom this ritual is best practiced , on a Wednesday or a Friday. Open a prayer book bound with a scarlet and a white ribbon, at the marriage service and put a sprig of myrtle on the page which says "With this ring I thee wed" Place it under your pillow and you are promised a dream of your own wedding and will see the identify of the groom.

Love Divination in Water.

This ritual aims to see how an existing relationship will progress. Put two corks or acorns in a large bowl of water. If they float instantly together, the relationship will develop rapidly. If your partnership is long standing, you are close and on a very deep level. If the corks or acorns float separately or in opposite directions, you may have a problem which will need to be resolved. If your objects float together the apart again this signifies that your relationship consists of the normal ups and downs of life, but you should pay more attention to the romantic side of your relationship.

Mirror Marriage Divination.

The girl should stand in front of a mirror lit by a candle, just before midnight and speak the following words

Mirror, mirror tell me,
Am I pretty or plain,
Or am I downright ugly
And ugly to remain?
Shall I marry a gentleman,
Shall I marry a clown,
Or shall I marry old pots and pans
Shouting through the town?

At the stroke of midnight a vision of the true love should appear the mirror over the girl's right shoulder.


Why The Bride Stands on the Groom's Left.

This tradition comes to us from a time when it was not uncommon for a groom to go out and actually kidnap his bride, usually of course with her consent. After he had had captured his Bride, he would keep her on his left side, which would leave his sword arm free so that he could fight for and protect her.

The honeymoon tradition comes from this time too, after the couple had made good their escape they would go into hiding. And by the time the bride's family who may or may not have been pursuing them, catch up with them they would most likely be married and she pregnant.

St Valentine's Day.

St Valentine's day the fourteenth February is certainly the best known festival for lovers. It is a time when all from the great and the good to the humble Plough man pronounce their love in verse. And perhaps a gift of red roses for their loved one.

Tomorrow is Saint Valentine
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your valentine.
I love you, I love you, I love you almighty,
I wish your pajamas were next to my nighty.
But don't be mistaken, don't be misled,
I mean on the wash line and not on the bed.
William Shakespeare. Discovered in an old school desk in Yorkshire.

The Origins of St Valentine's Day.

The Roman emperor Claudius II issued an edict that soldiers should not be allowed to marry on the grounds that it made them poor fighters. Valentine was a young priest who defied the edict and married a number of soldiers. He was executed on the 14th February 269 ad. While he was in prison he is said to have restored the sight of the jailer's blind daughter. She fell in love with him, it is said that before he was taken to be executed he wrote on the prison walls "Always, yours Valentine."

The pre Christian Roman festival of Lupercalia was also held on the 14th February, at the place where Romulus and Remus (the legendary founders of Rome) were reputedly suckled by a she wolf. The fertility god in the form of the Lycean Pan or Lupercus, was the central figure in the festival. Partnerships were formed by drawing lots between the young men and women, this partnership was kept throughout the festival.

The Date.

As Christianity took hold the old pagan festivals were amalgamated with Christian ones and 14th February became St Valentines day and not the pagan festival which preceded it.

The month of May has always been considered an unlucky month to marry. In Roman times the festival of the goddess of chastity and the Feast of the Dead both were celebrated in May. In pagan times the festival of Beltane (1st May) which celebrated the fertility and plenty that summer would bring forth , this was considered an inauspicious time to begin married life.

In medieval times there was a tradition on the eve of St Valentine's day to cast lots to choose a valentine. Young men would put equal numbers of names of the opposite sex into a container, and the name chosen would be their partner for the valentine celebrations, and perhaps even longer.

Probably the majority of weddings take place on Saturday now, this was considered ill luck in the past, the early part of the week was considered the luckiest particularly Wednesday. Friday 13th was to be especially avoided. See the day rhyme below.

In Scotland one custom was for the bride to walk from East to West on the South side of the church so as to be in the sun, she then would continue and walk around the church three times.

Wedding Day Rhyme.
Wedding Date Rhyme.

Monday for wealth
Tuesday for health
Wednesday the best day of all
Thursday for losses
Friday for crosses
Saturday for no luck at all

Marry when the year is new,
Always loving, kind and true.
When February birds do mate,
You may wed, nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow,
Seed of fortune you will sow.
Marry in April when you can,
Joy for maiden and for man.
Marry in the month of May,
You will surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses blow,
Over land and sea you'll go.
Those who in July do wed,
Must labour always for their bread.
Whoever wed in August be,
Many a change are sure to see.
Marry in September's shine,
Your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry,
Love will come but riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November,
Lovely joy will come, remember.
When December's snow falls fast,
Marry and true love will last.

Wedding Rhyme's & Toast's.

"Never above you. Never below you. Always beside you."
"May your wedding days be few and your anniversaries many."

"To the man who has conquered the bride's heart, and her mother's."

" To my wife, My bride and joy. "
"Here's to the groom, a man who keeps his head though he loses his heart."
"I drink to the general joy of the whole table."
Shakespeare, from Macbeth
May the best of their past be the worst of their future
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever.
Here's to you, my beautiful bride."
John Keats
To keep a marriage brimming
with love in the loving cup-
When you are wrong, admit it
and when you are right, shut up!
"May your joys be as deep as the ocean,
and your troubles as light as its foam."
To our best friends,
who know the most about us,
but refuse to believe it.
May we never forget
what is worth remembering
or remember
what is best forgotten.
" Here's to the woman that's good and sweet,
Here's to the woman that's true,
Here's to the woman that rules my heart,
In other words, here's to you."
"May you grow old on one pillow."

"Down the hatch, to a striking match!"

"Here's to the bride and the bridegroom,
We'll ask their success in our prayers,
And through life's dark shadows and sunshine
That good luck may always be theirs."
Water make you wise
Wine makes you glad
So drink them both
In order both to be!
Every day you look lovelier and lovelier, and today you look like tomorrow."
"Let's drink to love, which is nothing - unless it's divided by two."
Weren't the last drop in the well,
An I gasp'd upon the brink,
Ere my fainting spirit fell,
'Tis to thee that I would drink.
To the two secrets to a long-lasting happy marriage:
Here's to good sense of humor
--and a short memory!
"Here's to the prettiest, here's to the wittiest,
Here's to the truest of all who are true,
Here's to the neatest one, here's to the sweetest one,
Here's to them, all in one - here's to you."
Here's to the bride that is to be,
Here's to the groom she'll wed,
May all their troubles be light as bubbles
Or the feathers that make up their bed! "

"Here's to marriage, that happy estate that resembles a pair of scissors: 'So joined that they cannot be separated, often moving in opposite directions, yet punishing anyone who comes between them.'"

"Because I love you truly,
Because you love me, too,
My very greatest happiness
Is sharing life with you."
" I have known many,
Liked not a few,
Loved only one
I toast to you"
"May these rich blessings be your due...
A wealth of friendships, old and new,
quiet nights and busy days, time for prayer and time for praise,
some service rendered, some solace given,
and gentle peace with God and heaven."

"May thy life be long and happy,
Thy cares and sorrows few;
And the many friends around thee
Prove faithful, fond and true."

"Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss within the cup,
And I'll not look for wine. --Ben Jonson


In some parts of Ireland it was the tradition for straw boys to come and dance at weddings, they usually arrived in the late evening. They had conical hats and capes woven from straw as well as straw masks and straw tied around their legs. They took no refreshment nor did they speak, they usually stayed for about half an hour, danced with everyone and left.

This tradition may possibly comes from Pagan times when fertility right's may have been carried out by people who dressed up and danced at sites of significance to their culture.

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