There are some wonderful traditions surrounding weddings so why not up hold a few on your day? Here are some of my favourites, from the romantic, to down right ludicrous.
Proposal – In the past when the marriage proposal was a more formal procedure, the prospective groom sent his friends or members of his family to represent his interests to the prospective bride and her family. If they saw a blind man, a monk or a pregnant woman during their journey it was thought that the marriage would be doomed if they continued their journey as these sights were thought to be bad omens. If, however, they saw nanny goats, pigeons or wolves these were good omens which would bring good fortune to the marriage.
The Wedding Dress – It is thought unlucky for the bride to make her own wedding dress.The bride should not wear her entire outfit before the wedding day. Some brides leave the last stitch unsown until she leaves the house.
On The Way To The Wedding – When the bride is ready to leave the house for the wedding ceremony a last look in the mirror will bring her good luck. However returning to the mirror once she has began her journey will result in bad luck.Seeing a chimney sweep on the way to a wedding is thought to bring good luck and it is still possible to hire one to attend wedding ceremonies. Other good luck omens when seen on the way to the ceremony include lambs, toads, spiders, black cats and rainbows.
Seeing an open grave, a pig, a lizard, or hearing a cockerel crow after dawn are all thought to be omens of bad luck. Monks and nuns are also a bad omen. This may be because the are associated with poverty and chastity. They are also thought to signal a dependence on charity by the newlyweds.
Bad weather on the way to the wedding is thought to be an omen of an unhappy marriage, although in some cultures rain is considered a good omen. Cloudy skies and wind are believed to cause stormy marriages. Snow on the other hand is associated with fertility and wealth.
The Couple’s First Purchase – It is said that the first partner who buys a new item after the wedding will be the dominant one in the relationship. Many brides ensure that they make the first purchase by arranging to buy a small item such as a pin from the chief bridesmaid immediately after the ceremony. Hence the sixpence in the shoe!
Shoes – In the past there have been a number of customs involving shoes which were thought to bring good luck. The best known, which is still upheld, is to tie shoes to the back of the newlyweds’ car. This has evolved from the Tudor custom where guests would throw shoes at the newlywed couple. It was considered lucky if they or their carriage were hit.
Less well known is for the bride’s father to give the groom a pair of the bride’s shoes to symbolise the passing of responsibility for the daughter to her new husband. A variation of the custom is for the groom to tap the bride on the forehead with one of the shoes to assert his dominance.
The custom of the bride throwing her bouquet over her shoulder, was originally performed by her throwing one of her shoes.
The Best Man – It is the best man’s duty to protect the groom from bad luck. He must ensure that once the groom has began his journey to the church he does not return for any reason.
He must also arrange for the groom to carry a small mascot or charm in his pocket on the wedding day.
When the best man is paying the church minister’s fee he should pay him an odd sum to bring luck to the couple.