Have you ever wondered where all the traditions and sayings for a brides wedding day come from? We did too! So, we did a big of digging and figured if we wanted to know…you might do too! From the cake cutting to the throwing of confetti we bring you a breakdown of the symbolism, where they came from and what they mean.
You would think, or so the rumors have spread, that the reason a bride wears white is to symbolize purity and virginity, however it was Queen Victoria who set the trend of wearing white on her wedding day. Before that the traditional colour was blue which reflected faithfulness, piety and the Virgin Mary. After Queen Victoria’s wedding dress went, shall we say, ‘viral’, many brides followed suit. Today the western white wedding dress comes in various hues of white such as nude, ivory, champagne and ecru.
‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’
This age old saying first came to print in 1883 with the full saying reading, ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe’. So let’s break it down. Something old traditionally came from the bride’s family to carry her heritage with her as she walked down the aisle. This could be an old piece of jewelry from a relative or the dress itself whether it be the full gown or simply using bits of old fabric. Something new symbolizes the bride’s entrance into her new life with her husband. Many brides today have their dress as their something new or their shoes. Something borrowed was generally on loan from another married woman as a good luck charm for the soon-to-be newlyweds, it may be a piece of jewellery or the veil. Something blue, for many Christian brides, was in keeping with the Virgin Mary to signify fidelity. Ironically many brides wear a blue garter on their wedding day! Finally, the sixpence in her shoe, part of the phrase most commonly left out as it’s a bit archaic nowadays, was to mark good fortune in the years to come for the happy couple.
What symbolizes unity and eternity better than a perfect circle? Over the centuries this tradition has been translated in many ways across the globe from Ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome. The exact date of origin of the exchanging ring tradition nobody quite knows. In today’s western world a band on the left-hand fourth finger is commonly accepted, but it wasn’t always this way - women used to wear bracelets too. The fourth finger was chosen as it was believed it held a vein which led straight to the heart. In India the wedding ring is worn on the right hand, as the left hand is considered unclean in Indian culture. Wearing a wedding ring on the right hand is also tradition in Poland and Russia. In Brazil a plain band is worn on the right hand until after the ceremony when then it is moved to the left, whereas in Germany an engagement ring is worn on the left and a wedding ring on the right.
The beliefs and suspicions tied to the tradition of a bride wearing a veil are numerous. One belief is the bride’s beauty must be concealed from evil spirits, another is that the groom must not see the face of his bride until the bond has been sealed. There is something to be said about that breath-taking moment when the veil is pulled back and the beauty of the bride revealed.
We couldn’t possibly fit all the magical history behind wedding day traditions into one post…so keep your eye out for our upcoming blogs. In the meantime, browse our collections to get your perfect ‘something new’.