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Wedding Superstitions: The Origin of Common Traditions and Their Meanings

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Feeling a little superstitious before the big day? Learn about common wedding superstitions and where they originated from in this post.

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There are many wedding superstitions that are still observed today. But where did these wedding traditions come from? And what do they mean? In this article, we will explore the origins of some of the most common wedding superstitions and their meanings. Whether you’re about to tie the knot or just curious about wedding customs, read on for a fascinating look at wedding folklore!

We examine many of the popular wedding traditions in our podcast, The Bouquet Toss! Some of the primary traditions were born out of superstitions, so let’s dive into where these wacky ideas came from.

Wedding Attire Superstitions

Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

One of the most well-known wedding superstitions is the tradition of Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue. This custom originated in Victorian England and was originally meant to ward off evil spirits. The “something old” represented continuity with the bride’s family and her former life, “something new” signified hope for the future, “something borrowed” was usually an item from a happily married woman, which was thought to bestow good luck on the bride. And the “something blue” represented fidelity and love. Today, this tradition is often carried out by incorporating old family jewelry into the wedding attire, wearing a new wedding dress, borrowing a friend’s veil, and wearing a blue garter. But you can get creative with it! The important thing is that each item has a special meaning to the bride.

Including a sixpence in your shoe.

What most people don’t realize about the old, new, borrowed, and blue wedding saying is that it actually ends with the words “and a silver sixpence in her shoe.” In a blessing dating back to Victorian times, a father would deposit a sixpence (a coin worth six pennies) in his daughter’s shoe as a good-luck charm. A penny is now the standard substitute for a sixpence and can be given by any member of the family or friend. If you don’t want to cram a coin in your wedding heels, consider tying it into the wrap of your bouquet instead.

Wearing a white wedding dress.

White wedding dresses became the color of choice in Victorian England when Queen Victoria chose to wear a white gown when she wed Prince Albert in 1840. Since then, white has been associated with purity, innocence, and elegance. But prior to that, brides wore any number of colors. In this old rhyme or verse, brides are given warnings about superstitions involved in wearing certain colors. While today most brides still opt for white wedding dresses, there is no hard and fast rule that you have to wear white on your wedding day.

Wearing a Veil

Wearing a wedding veil is another common wedding tradition with interesting origins. In ancient Greece, brides wore veils to ward off evil spirits. In Rome, brides donned veils to protect themselves from jealous suitors who might curse them on their wedding day. And in medieval Europe, brides wore veils to keep their faces hidden from grooms who might back out if they saw their brides before the wedding ceremony. Today, wedding veils are mostly worn for aesthetic reasons, but some brides still choose to wear them as a nod to tradition.

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Showing the groom your dress before the wedding

It is considered bad luck to show the groom your dress before the wedding. This superstition may have originated in medieval Europe when it was believed that showing the groom your dress would give him power over you. Today, this tradition is often interpreted to mean that showing the groom your dress will jinx the marriage.

A Spider On Your Wedding Dress

Finding a spider on your wedding dress is considered good luck in many cultures. This superstition may have originated in medieval Europe when spiders were thought to be lucky because they represented wealth and prosperity. Today, this tradition is often seen as a sign of good luck because it represents the abundance that will come to the newlyweds during their marriage.

Not Wearing Pearls on Your Wedding Day

Wearing pearls on your wedding day is considered bad luck. This superstition may have originated in ancient Rome when it was believed that pearls were the tears of the gods. Today, this tradition is often interpreted to mean that wearing pearls will bring bad luck to the marriage.

Wedding Logistics Superstitions

Seeing Each Other Before The Wedding

One wedding superstition that is often broken today is the tradition of not seeing each other before the wedding. In days gone by, it was thought that if the bride and groom saw each other before the wedding, it would bring bad luck. Today, however, many couples choose to see each other before the wedding for a variety of reasons. Some couples want to have a private moment together before the wedding chaos begins. Others simply want to make sure that they are both happy with how they look on their big day! Whatever the reason, seeing each other before the wedding is now a matter of personal preference.

Rain on Your Wedding Day

It is often said that rain on your wedding day is good luck. This superstition may have originated in ancient times when rain was considered a sign of fertility. Today, rain on your wedding day is often seen as a sign of good luck because it represents the tears of joy that will be shed during the marriage.

Burying Bourbon at the Ceremony Site

According to Southern folklore, a couple burying a bottle of bourbon at your wedding venue one month prior to the big day can help prevent rain. The idea is that after successfully tying the knot on a dry day they can easily dig up the bottle and share a toast to their union. This tradition is said to date back to the days of the American frontier when bourbon was used as a form of currency. Today, this tradition is often interpreted as a way to ensure that the couple will have good luck in their marriage.

Wedding Etiquette Superstitions

Using Your Married Name Before the Wedding

It is considered bad luck to use your married name before the wedding. This superstition may have originated in medieval Europe when it was believed that using your married name before the wedding would cause the marriage to be cursed. These days, many brides eagerly monogram and label anything they can plaster their new initials and name onto, but you shouldn’t tempt fate. It’s best to hold off until after the big day before you use anything with your married name or monogram, for the sake of etiquette and a potential jinx!

Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold

Carrying the bride over the threshold is a wedding tradition that is still observed by many couples today. This custom originated in medieval times when it was believed that evil spirits could enter the couple’s home through the door. By carrying the bride over the threshold, her husband was protecting her and their new home from these evil spirits. Today, this tradition is often seen as a way for the groom to show his strength and commitment to his new wife.

Knives as Wedding Gifts

It is considered bad luck to give knives as wedding gifts. This superstition may have originated in ancient times when knives were used as weapons. Today, this superstition is often interpreted to mean that giving knives as wedding gifts will cause the newlyweds to quarrel. If. you’re a superstitious gift giver, perhaps chose an alternative item from a couple’s registry. 

Wedding Custom Superstitions

Crossing a Nun or Monk’s Path

It is considered bad luck to cross a nun or monk’s path. This superstition may have originated in medieval Europe when it was believed that crossing a religious person’s path would curse the wedding. Today, this tradition is often interpreted to mean that crossing a religious person’s path will jinx the marriage.

Ringing Bells

Ringing bells is a wedding tradition that is said to bring good luck to the newlyweds. This superstition may have originated in ancient times when bells were thought to ward off evil spirits. Today, this tradition is often seen as a way to symbolically ring in the new marriage and all of the happiness that comes with it.

Crying on Your Wedding Day

It is considered good luck to cry on your wedding day. This superstition may have originated in ancient times when tears were thought to be a sign of fertility. Today, this tradition is often seen as a sign of the deep love and commitment that the couple has for each other.

Breaking a Wedding Dish

A popular wedding tradition in many cultures is breaking a dish or glass at the end of the reception. This tradition is said to bring good luck to the newlyweds and is often done for fun. In some cultures, the number of pieces broken corresponds to the number of children the couple will have. So if you’re planning on starting a family soon, you might want to break a few extra dishes!

Wedding Date Superstitions

Getting Married during an Odd-Numbered Year

It is considered bad luck to get married during an odd-numbered year. This superstition may have originated in medieval Europe when it was believed that odd-numbered years were unlucky because they were associated with war and death. Today, this tradition is often interpreted to mean that getting married during an odd-numbered year will bring bad luck to the marriage.

Choosing a wedding date

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a wedding date, from the weather to the availability of your venue and vendors. But did you know that there are also some wedding superstitions to take into account? For example, getting married on a Friday the 13th is considered unlucky by many. And in some cultures, it’s considered bad luck to get married in May.

Getting married on a weekday.

If you’re looking for a wedding date that is considered lucky by most people, try getting married on a Saturday. Saturday is the day of Saturn, which was thought to be favorable for weddings and other important events. Another popular wedding day is Sunday,

While Saturdays have long been the most popular days to get married for decades, an ancient Celtic poem claims couples should avoid a Saturday wedding at all costs. It reads: “Monday for wealth, Tuesday for health, Wednesday the best day of all, Thursday for losses, Friday for crosses, and Saturday no luck at all.” So if a Saturday nuptials isn’t in the cards, then a weekday wedding is quite alright!

Not Getting Married in May 

The phrase “Marry in May, Curse the Day” has a long history, dating back to Ancient Rome, when it was thought that getting married during the mating season of animals was bad luck! The month of May is a very popular wedding month so this one seems to have fallen off the radar of modern couples. 

Miscellaneous Wedding Superstitions

Dropping the rings.

Dropping the wedding rings during the ceremony is considered bad luck. This superstition may have originated in ancient times when it was believed that dropping a ring represented the breaking of a contract. Today, this tradition is often interpreted to mean that dropping the rings will jinx the marriage.

Placing a Sugar Cube on the Bride

A tradition that is often seen in Eastern European weddings is to place a sugar cube on the bride’s head. This tradition is said to date back to the days when sugar was a rare and expensive commodity. Today, this tradition is often interpreted as a way to sweeten the marriage.

Not Carrying Peonies in Your Bouquet

Carrying peonies in your wedding bouquet is considered bad luck. This superstition may have originated in ancient China, where it was believed that peonies were the flowers of death. Today, this tradition is often interpreted to mean that carrying peonies will bring bad luck to the marriage.

Carrying a Horseshoe on Your Wedding Day

Carrying a horseshoe on your wedding day is considered good luck. This tradition may have originated in ancient times when it was believed that horseshoes had magical powers. Today, this tradition is often interpreted to mean that carrying a horseshoe will bring good luck to the marriage.

More Wedding Traditions and Superstitions

These are just a few of the many wedding superstitions that are still observed today. Whether you choose to incorporate them into your wedding plans is up to you. But it’s always fun to know the origins of these common traditions! For more about wacky wedding traditions and where they came from, make sure to subscribe to The Bouquet Toss Wedding Planning Podcast!

Do you have any wedding superstitions? Share them with us in the community!


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Feeling a little superstitious before the big day? Learn about common wedding superstitions and where they originated from in this post.
Feeling a little superstitious before the big day? Learn about common wedding superstitions and where they originated from in this post.
Feeling a little superstitious before the big day? Learn about common wedding superstitions and where they originated from in this post.

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