Vintage in style, vintage in practice! Are you a stickler for tradition? Ever wondered why we hide our faces with sheer fabrics as we walk down the aisle with a handful of blooms? Why we throw our frilly lace garter into a pack of ferocious single gentlemen? Many of these assumed practices have some rather bizarre origins. Read on for these and some even stranger wedding rituals you may never have heard of!
As with most traditions we uphold these days, some wedding practices stem from deeply superstitious roots. A bridal veil is said to have acted as a disguise and protection from evil spirits, often made in shades of orange and red for this purpose. On the other hand, in times when it was not unusual for the couple to have their first meeting on the altar, a veil was used to hide the bride's face until the marriage was complete, just in case the groom did not like what he saw. Super romantic.
When you are making that right-together-left-together walk down the aisle, think about how lucky you are. Not just to be marrying the man of your dreams, to be surrounded by your loved ones, and to be looking like a total babe; but that you have beautiful wave of rose and lily perfumes coming from your bouquet. Back in times when the plague ravaged villages, brides walked through the church holding what resembled the smell of a Sunday roast rather than a cottage garden! Villagers would hold dear to herbs that would protect them from the deadly vermin-born disease. Therefore, a ye olde bouquet often consisted of dill, garlic and other remedial ingredients! Not quite the matrimonial garnish we now envision for our day of days.
The Lucky Garter
Aside from four leaf clovers and rabbit feet, a scrap of a bride's dress used to be considered good luck. Imagine saying your “I do's” and having to immediately cower in fear, as the community rushed at you to rip your beloved princess gown to shreds! Brides were often left teary and shaken immediately after her nuptials! Thankfully this tradition filtered down to what we now know as the tossing of the garter. A little bit sexy, a little bit fun, and my god, less intrusive!
Down the hatch?!
Ever played those drinking games where a central cup is progressively filled to the brim with various beverages, then consumed by some unlucky losing soul at the end? If these games make your stomach turn, beware of the French wedding! To this day in some regions it is custom for the guests to drop bits of cake and splash drinks into a chamber pot, to be drunk by the bride at the end of the night! I'll settle for a cheeky ouzo shot thank you very much!
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...and a sixpence in her shoe? Not really an unusual tradition this one, but I'll bet you never considered what it actually means! The “something old” is said to have a few meanings. One being a link to the bride's past, to not forget where she has come from, what brought her to this point in life. Another is a link to family, therefore the “something old” is often represented as a family heirloom like a piece of jewellery. “Something new” symbolises the new connection between you and your groom, a lucky charm for your futures together. “Something borrowed” also has a few different meanings. Using an item from a happily married woman is said to be an act of “borrowing happiness” for your own (but you must return it for it to work!). Borrowing something from friends or family is a way of showing that they will always provide support and love for the bride whenever needed. The colour blue is meant to symbolise a number of things when used in a wedding: purity, good fortune, faith, loyalty, modesty etc. Have some fun with your “something blue”! Many brides will wear a blue garter, blue underwear, have a blue pedicure or even sew a little blue fabric heart into the lining of their dress.
In the end, it's up to you, your origins and your culture as to what traditions you use to mark your wedding day. Make your past and your history a part of the day that celebrates your future. How you arrived at this matrimonial moment in front of your friends and family will shape how you move forward and find happiness with your partner from here on.