Wedding Traditions & Superstitions Explained

Rachel Simpson

Posted on November 13 2020

Wedding Traditions & Superstitions Explained


Today is Friday 13th, which can feel a little ominous so rather than getting all glum about it, we're going to take the opportunity to explore some of our favourite wedding related superstitions and traditions, find out where they come from and exactly what they mean...

“Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue”

Perhaps one of the most well known wedding traditions, this old English rhyme is one of the most popular today. The rhyme names four objects which are thought to bring the bride good luck...

Something old- traditionally this was used to ward off evil, but in more recent times it is seen to represent continuity. This can often be a piece of family jewellery but one option we love is the gift of a photograph of the bride's grandparents at their wedding;

Something new- this represents optimism for the future as the couple start their new life. It's possible one of the easiest too as it can literally be anything- your dress, your shoes or even your underwear!

Something borrowed- borrowing something for the wedding is thought to bring the couple good luck. In olden times this could be the wedding gown itself but more recently it tends to be something smaller, such as a brooch or handkerchief- just so you have loved ones close in some way as you say your vows;

Something blue- blue stands for love, purity and fidelity, hence the reason it's thought to be a good idea to incorporate it into your wedding. Traditionally the bride would wear a blue garter or maybe stitch a blue ribbon inside her dress, but nowadays you can incorporate it however you want- bridesmaid dresses, flowers or of course, your shoes.

Rachel Simpson Gardenia blue wedding shoes

"A silver sixpence in your shoe”

This is actually part of the same above rhyme, although it's often missed off and so we tend to think of it as a separate superstition. Traditionally the father of the bride would give his daughter a sixpence as a token of good luck and prosperity just before the wedding. Obviously they're no longer in use but you can still get them if you want to stick 100% with tradition!

Did you know- the sixpence is thought to be most fortuitous when placed in the bride's left shoe? If you can't get your hands on an actual sixpence, an old coin from the country of the bride's heritage is thought to be an adequate alternative.

Wedding Ring Superstitions

Obviously your wedding ring/s hold immense significance as they represent the commitment you both make to each other during the ceremony. The circle is a never ending entity, signifying your never ending love for each other. The reason we wear them on the fourth finger of our left hand is because this is the only one which has a vein which leads directly to our heart. Awww.

Wedding ring image by Fernanda Méndez on Unsplash

Photo by Fernanda Méndez on Unsplash

Did you know that the type of metal your ring is made from also has it's own significance?

Gold- gold is believed to bring good health and wearing a gold wedding ring will increase your inner strength and willpower;

Platinum- choosing a platinum wedding ring is thought to protect you from harm;

Silver- a silver wedding ring means you are artistic and creative, and cultivating these talents will bring you great happiness and comfortable wealth;

White gold- choosing white gold for your wedding ring apparently means a close friend of the bride will meet her husband at the wedding- so now you know!

Why is a wedding cake tiered?

Traditionally guests would bring small cakes to the wedding, which they would stack into a pile for the couple, who would then kiss over it! It was only in 1882 that Prince Leopold, the Duke of Albany had a tiered cake which began the tradition of a tiered cake that we know today. The tiers represented prosperity and were a status symbol because at that time only wealthy families could afford them.

Luckily tiered cakes are a lot more accessible nowadays and have become a sold tradition in many weddings. The bottom layer tends to be eaten at the wedding itself, the middle is distributed after the wedding, perhaps to friends and family who couldn't make the day itself. A tradition which began in the 19th century was the save the top tier for the christening of the couple's first child, and many people still do this today. 

At Your Wish Cakes three tiered wedding cake

Photo by At Your Wish Cakes

One last tradition we'd like to adopt...

In Greece it is traditional for the groom to not only buy the bride's wedding shoes as a surprise, but also to hide money inside them to symbolise her 'walking into wealth'. Surely we need to adopt this one ladies?

Title image by Inna Lesyk on Unsplash

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