13 Wedding Traditions Based on Superstition

Well, it’s Friday the 13th again – Are you superstitious?  My whole life I have declared that I am NOT superstitious yet I am aware all day long that anything could happen because it’s Friday the 13th.  Why is 13 an unlucky number?  No one really knows.

While planning my own wedding I discovered my perfect venue and was ready to book it on the spot.  The wedding coordinator was very sweet but informed me they were booked up throughout the summer, I was really bummed and was thinking I’d have to push the wedding another six months.  She saw my disappointment and offered me one solution… “I do have one date open in April… but it’s April 13, none of the other brides wanted to book that date.”  I was hopeful but nervous so I called my fiance and asked if he had a problem with the date.  He reminded me that his birthday is a 13, he thought it would be great and easy for him to remember our anniversary.  I was thrilled, now we would make the number 13 our lucky number.  We were married on the 13th, we celebrate his birthday on the 13th and a few years later my first child was born on the 13th!

WeddingDreamz compiled a list of some of the favorite wedding traditions and they are all actually derived from wedding superstitions.

Wedding Superstitions and Wedding Traditions

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

…  and sometimes a sixpence in your shoe.  This is an Old English Rhyme.

  • Something old signifies continuity of the past moving toward the future.
  • Something new signifies optimism for the future and your new life.
  • Something borrowed refers to borrowed happiness.  The bride should borrow something from a happily married couple or from a friend who represents happiness.
  • Something blue signifies love, good fortune and fidelity.
  • Sixpence in your shoe represents good fortune and prosperity.  A silver sixpence is typically placed in your left shoe but is often carried or sewn into the wedding gown.

Wearing a Veil

The wedding veil was thought to protect the bride from evil spirits on her wedding day but I think it’s more likely to help prevent the bride and groom from seeing each other until the marriage is complete.  Which brings us to number 3..

Bride and Groom are not allowed to see each other before the ceremony

This one is not so much about luck but dates back to days of arranged marriages.  The father of the bride wanted to ensure the groom didn’t have a look at the bride before the wedding and have second thoughts about their “arrangement”.

Knives

Apparently it’s bad luck to make a wedding gift of anything that can “sever”.  So this goes for scissors and anything with a blade.  On the other hand, if the bride registered for a fancy set of Henkel knives she’s not superstitious, you’re good to go.  But…  if your receive a penny along with your thank you note for the knives it’s essentially to “buy” the knife from you thereby undoing the bad luck.  Follow me?

Carrying the bride over the threshold

In Medieval Europe, it was scandalous 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.  Another theory is that if the bride were to trip over the threshold of her new house it would bring bad luck into her new home and new marriage therefore the husband carries her over the threshold to avoid such an omen.  Lets go with the last one.

Throwing the bouquet

This one is interesting.  In medieval Europe it was considered good fertility luck to be able to obtain a piece of the bride’s wedding gown to keep.  This resulted in a frenzy and lots of tattered gowns.  Brides began throwing the bouquet as a means of distraction so they could make a quick exit without being chased for a snip of her dress.

Rain

Rain on your wedding day is universally regarded as good luck.  It seems counter-intuitive but it actually dates back to an old Hindu belief that rain symbolizes the last tears a bride will shed for the rest of her life. . But it also points out that a knot that becomes wet is extremely hard to untie – therefore, when you “tie the knot” on a rainy day, your marriage is supposedly just as hard to unravel.  I’ll take that one!

Boutonniere

This one is sweet.  In medieval times, as a token of affection, a female admirer would give a knight something to wear into battle, like a scarf or flower. Since the color of the given gift was almost always the same color as what the woman herself wore, the tradition was known as “wearing a lady’s colors.” By sporting the gift, a knight clearly demonstrated he was being supported in battle by a lady who adored him.

Ringing Bells

Two bells tied together with a bow has turned into the universal sign for a wedding.  It is Irish tradition to ring the bells after the vows are read and for the couple to keep the bells at home to ring after an argument to help remind them of their vow and how much they love each other.

Throwing Rice

Throwing rice is an ancient fertility rite.  After the couple was married the guests would traditionally shower them with handfuls of grain or nuts because they were “life giving” seeds.  These days throwing confetti, rose petals, bird seed and bubbles is just as symbolic.

The gift of almonds

Sweetened almonds have long been a traditional gift of the bride and groom to their wedding guests to symbolize their five wishes for them – fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness.  The almond itself represents the bitterness of life and the addition of sugar represents the sweetness of love.  Five Jordan almonds are often given out as wedding favors for guests.  Many couples choose an almond flavored wedding cake as their almond gift for guests.

These next two are pretty kooky….

Finding a spider in your wedding dress

Yes, it’s widely believed that finding a spider in your wedding dress is considered good luck.  I guess it’s good luck it wasn’t a snake?  No, wait…  she is lucky she found the spider BEFORE she put that dress on and walked down the isle with a spider inside!!!

Getting a cat to eat out of your left shoe

If a bride can persuade a cat to eat out of her left wedding shoe one week before the wedding she will have good luck in her marriage.  I don’t need a psychology degree to understand this one.  A woman who is strong willed enough to control a cat will have the confidence to work for what she wants in her marriage.

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