Have you ever wondered how certain wedding traditions evolved? Like why should brides have “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue”? Most wedding customs and rituals have an interesting back story. Take veils, for instance. While most brides today wear a veil on the crown of their head flowing down the back, veils were originally donned over the face and head to ward off evil. Placing the thin layer of fabric or lace to cover the bride’s face was thought to conceal her from evil ones who might be jealous of her.
Whether you buy into the legends and superstitions or not, making a ceremony your own is really the key.
Find a custom or tradition that feels right for you. Here are a few to get you started:
- Get married on the upswing. OK, so this harkens back to the days before digital clocks … Legend dictates that saying your “I Dos” on the downswing of the clock (so between 2:00 and 2:30, for instance) allows the luck to run out (literally sliding down the minute hand of the clock). Getting hitched on the upswing (5:30-6 p.m., for instance) uplifts your marriage.
- Break a glass. It’s not just a celebratory “hurrah!” that the hard work and planning of the ceremony is over! Breaking a glass—forcefully—at the end of the wedding ceremony has become tradition. Ever wonder why the bride and groom are so vigorous in their efforts? Each piece of glass represents another year of happiness—so more pieces equals more time together.
- Instead of a unity candle, create a unity bowl. As a way of commemorating the wedding day and all guests who were present, have each guest bring a small stone (or hand them out to each as they arrive). After the ceremony, guests place their stone in a unity bowl (decorative glass or wood, typically) to symbolize how the families have become one. The bowl becomes a decoration that reminds the couple of their special day and how the support of many are holding them up.
- Serve up candied (Jordan) almonds. These pastel-coated nuts are a traditional favorite, but what they mean depends on your heritage. For Italians, a packet of five almonds represents five wishes for the new couple: health, happiness, fertility, wealth, and longevity. For those of Greek heritage, and odd number of these treats symbolizes indivisibility (because odd numbers are not evenly divisible)—promoting lifelong bond.
- Pay someone a penny for their gift of cutlery. Superstition says that knives represent a “broken” relationship, but you don’t want to eliminate them from your registry, do you? For those who worry that getting knives for a wedding gift brings bad luck, never fear! Simply pay the person who gave them to you a penny – then it’s a transaction, not a gift!