Five common wedding superstitions, their origins and why they seem to remain popular today.
- It’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony.This wedding superstition dates back to a time when marriages were arranged by families for their daughters based upon potential financial benefit. Often the betrothed couple did not see each other at all before the wedding for fear the groom did not find his future wife attractive. Wearing a veil formed part of this tradition, delaying the moment a groom first saw his bride to the last possible moment. There is an irony that a custom with such unromantic roots remains popular in modern times, although it does add to the excitement and sense of anticipation on the day.
- The bride must wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blueThis superstition dates back to Victorian times. Wearing “something old” expresses the newlywed couple’s desire to retain connections with their family once they enter into married life. “Something new” conveys that the couple is creating a new union that will endure forever and looking to the future for health, happiness and success. “Something borrowed” is an opportunity for the bride’s friends or family to lend her something special as a token of their love. And finally, “something blue” is a symbol of fidelity and constancy. The custom remains popular, with modern brides often finding a creative way to incorporate these items.
- The person who catches the bride’s bouquet when she tosses it over her head will be the next to get married.The story behind this tradition is somewhat less edifying! In medieval times, it was considered lucky to get a fragment of the bride’s clothing, so hordes of guests would follow the newlywed couple into their wedding chamber after the ceremony and stand around the bed, trying to rip pieces of the bride’s gown right off her body. Brides searched for alternatives began throwing their bouquets to distract guests while they made their getaway. There is evidence this tradition is perhaps not as popular as it once was, not least on health and safety grounds, but it remains a well known superstition.
- The bride and groom must save the top layer of their wedding cake to eat on their first anniversary.It used to be thought that once a wedding took place, a baby was going to come shortly after. With fancy, elaborate, multi-tiered wedding cakes becoming a major trend in the 19th century, couples would use the bottom tier for the reception, distribute the middle tier, and keep the top for a christening. Nowadays it is more common for couples to keep the top tier for their first anniversary.
- The groom must carry his new wife across the threshold of their new home to prevent bad luck.This tradition has several origins. In ancient cultures, the threshold of the home was considered to be place where unattached evil spirits lurked. A new bride was deemed to be particularly vulnerable to spirit intrusion, especially through the soles of her feet, the groom ensured that his wife would not bring any bad spirits into the house by carrying her inside. In Medieval Europe, it was considered improper for a woman to show enthusiasm about losing her virginity. By the groom carrying the bride over the threshold, she avoided looking too eager about consummating the marriage. Western Europeans believed that a bride who tripped over the threshold of her new home would bring bad luck to her home and her marriage. Therefore, the groom carrying the bride into the home was a good way to avoid such a mishap altogether. Today the custom is seen much more as a romantic gesture.