Traditions and Superstitions

The meaning behind the rituals involved in a wedding


Weddings are steeped in tradition and myth, but do you know the meaning behind all the rituals?

‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ is an age old adage that many brides adhere to, but why? The superstitious believe that something old guarantees that the bride’s friends will be loyal in times of need, whilst something new will promise success in her married life. The something borrowed represents the love the bride takes with her from her family to her new life, and blue stands for constancy.  

Many brides opt to have the requisite something blue represented in their garter, but did you know that traditionally, unmarried elder sisters of the bride are expected to wear green garters to the wedding? This is a custom which dates back to medieval times where the costume of unmarried elder sisters was expected to include green stockings.

It’s a well known practice that the groom does not see the bride’s dress before the wedding, and that he shouldn’t see the bride until she arrives at the altar, as it is considered bad luck. It is also considered bad luck for the bride to try on her whole outfit before the wedding, and especially unlucky for her to try the dress and veil on together.

On the morning of the wedding the bride should only look at herself in the mirror at the last moment, and then should only make one final adjustment. No pins should be left in the dress as it is thought to bring bad luck. As frightening as it may seem, finding a spider in the folds of your wedding dress is thought to bring good fortune.

Another way to bring luck on your wedding day is to wear the veil of a happily married woman. Many brides opt to wear their mother’s or grandmother’s veil. This works as a ‘something old’, as well as a good luck charm! Be warned though, if you let a friend try on your veil after the wedding, superstition states that your new husband will leave you for her.

It is thought to be unlucky if the groom drops his hat, but a small horseshoe carried in his pocket will bring him good luck. Tradition dictates that no one should pass a telegram to the groom as he makes his way to the church, and that any sums of money he pays on the day should be offered in odd amounts.

Take great consideration when picking your wedding date; marrying when there is a full moon is seen as lucky, but a date during Lent is less so: “If you marry in Lent, you’re sure to repent”. Changing the date is thought to bring misfortune, so should be avoided at all cost.

It is said to be unlucky for a bride to try on her wedding ring before her marriage. A good way around this is to get the ring made to the same size as the engagement ring, so you can be sure it fits. If either the bride or groom drops the ring in church, they will be the first to die. It is also considered a bad omen to remove your wedding ring before the seventh year of marriage.


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