Traditions and Wedding Superstitions

Photo Credit: Berry photos

There’s a lot of luck associated with St. Patrick’s Day! This got us thinking about the traditions and wedding superstitions. There are so many! We’ve compiled a list of traditions and wedding superstitions that we see at almost every wedding. As with all traditions and wedding superstitions, they often vary through culture and beliefs, and are also highly personal to the couple getting married. Remember, these are just traditions and wedding superstitions, so feel free to choose which ones you want to incorporate into your wedding. The most important thing is to enjoy your special day with your loved ones.

The first tradition and wedding superstition is the old stand-by, which  you have probably heard about a wedding since you were very young. The adage is “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.” This tradition has its roots that date back to the 19th century. This rhyme refers to the five things a bride should wear on her wedding day to ensure a successful marriage.  “Something old” is meant to provide protection for the bride’s eventual baby and represents continuity with the past. “Something new” represents hope for the future.  “Something borrowed” represents borrowed happiness from another happy bride which she has already worn. This borrowed item is also meant to transfer their luck onto the new bride’s relationship and represents the borrowed happiness. The “Something Blue” item is meant to ward off evil spirits and represents purity, love, and fidelity. Finally, you may have also heard the variation that ends with “And a sixpence in her shoe.” This sixpence is a symbol of prosperity for the newlywed couple. 

Photo Credit: Anthony Niccoli

 Another tradition and wedding superstition  we hear a lot is “Avoid seeing each other before the wedding.” Some cultures believe that seeing each other or even just the bride’s dress before the wedding can bring bad luck. This tradition dates back to when many marriages were arranged and the bride and groom weren’t allowed to see or meet each other until they were at the altar. This tradition is becoming more obsolete in our cultures, as many couples have embraced the new idea of a “First Look” 

Photo Credit: Anthony Niccoli Photography

Tossing the bouquet is our next tradition and wedding superstition. This one originates in ancient England where guests would rush to tear off pieces of the bouquet themselves, believing that anyone who received a piece of the bouquet was bestowed with good fortune. This tradition has changed slightly over the years.  The bouquet is still thought to represent good luck and fortune but now can be passed  from the bride to an unwed woman via the  chance of catching the bouquet after the toss. Even today, however, the old can meet the new as many single ladies can still act as rowdy as attendees of the past in trying to catch the luck of the bouquet!

The next tradition and wedding superstition we explore is the placement of the wedding ring. The placement of the wedding ring is not the same in all cultures. In many cultures, the ring finger is designated as the fourth finger on the left hand. The tradition of wearing a wedding ring on this digit originated from the belief that this finger has a vein running directly to the heart. In most cultures, the wedding ring signifies that the couple is in a committed relationship. Be sure to have it professionally sized and measured, so this becomes a comfortable extension of yourself. 

Photo Credit: Berry photos

The first dance is likely the most personal of all the traditions and wedding superstitions we’ve covered. It is one of the most time-honored and highly cherished traditions and can be traced back as far as the 17th century.  However, it has certainly changed since the days of a formal ball. The first dance between the bride and groom is believed to set the tone for their marriage. And, today, the bride and groom share the first dance often to a song they have chosen specifically for that purpose. After the first dance, the bride and groom invite all the couples to the dance floor. There is also a more traditional route for first dances, as there is sometimes an etiquette in the order of traditional wedding dances. First, the bride and groom share their first dance. Next, the father of the bride dances with his daughter. The groom may also dance with the mother of the bride. After that, the bride’s mother and father dance together, then the grooms’ parents. Then, the bridesmaids and the groomsmen join the dance floor with the groomsmen taking turns dancing with the bride and the bridesmaids taking turns dancing with the groom. Finally, the dance floor is opened for all guests to come over and dance the night away.  

Photo Credit: Shooting Star Photography

The most popular tradition and wedding superstition surrounds the cutting of the wedding cake. Originally, the wedding cake was intended to be passed out to wedding guests by only the bride. This was a way to ensure her fertility. However, as time went on and weddings became larger events, this event became a task for both the bride and groom. This version is what you see at many weddings. It is believed that the couple should cut the first slice of cake together and then feed it to each other. This tradition is a symbol of the couple’s commitment to provide for each other. There is also symbolism in the hand placement when cutting, it is believed that the hand of the groom is placed over that of the bride’s, to show his support and as a promise to take care of her and their future.  The couple is also encouraged to cut from the bottom tier, as a reminder of the relationship’s longevity. 

These are by no means a list of things you must include on your wedding day. Choose to include the traditions and wedding superstitions that you and your partner feel connected to. If that means including none, that’s perfectly acceptable!

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