Wedding Traditions

Save the ribbons and bows that grace the gifts you receive at your bridal shower to create an artistic bouquet that you carry during the wedding rehearsal. Remember that each ribbon that breaks as you open the packages is said to represent the birth of a child.

Plant a seedling on the morning of or the day before your wedding to grow along with your marriage. If roses are one of your favorite blooms, you might choose the plant that is always associated with love.

Future wealth and good fortune for newlyweds is said to be inspired by slipping a lucky sixpence into one of the shoes you wear for your wedding. The sixpence first became known as a lucky coin when introduced by Edward VI of England in 1551, and later became part of wedding tradition with brides in the Victorian era.

Brides are encouraged to include “something blue” among their wedding finery to bolster the favorite old line, “Those who dress in blue have lovers true.” Blue has long been considered the color of fidelity, purity and love, and was first worn in ribbons by early Jewish brides.

Carry a handkerchief passed down through generations of your family to begin your own tradition with a lacy square that you select. A bride who cries on her wedding day is never supposed to shed another tear about her marriage.

The custom of a bride being given away originated with the sale of the bride by the father to the prospective groom. Today, the tradition is considered a sign of the father entrusting his beloved daughter to the care of her husband-to-be.

The ceremonial kiss that closes the marriage ceremony is considered symbolic of an exchange of spirit as each new spouse breathes a part of the soul into the other.

The celebration of marriage is heightened by the offering of toasts to the bride and groom. Ancient French custom encouraged the newlyweds to drink the reception toast from a special cup that was typically passed among family generations. Today, couples are given special toasting goblets for their reception.

Ask your pastry chef to enclose bridesmaids’ charms — one for each single woman in the wedding party — attached to ribbons placed in the frosting of your wedding cake. Before you and your husband cut the first slice of cake, the bridesmaids are called to pull the ribbons, each claiming a token that holds the promise of her future — hope, love, good luck, next to marry or old maid.

As one of the first domestic acts of your marriage, you and your groom will cut the wedding cake before it is served to guests at the reception. The groom traditionally places his hand over yours as a symbol of his desire to take care of you. It is also said that the bride’s hand must be the first to cut the cake.

After cutting the cake, the newlyweds often share a taste by feeding each other. The ancient Romans believed that the joint partaking of the cake created a magic bonding. The sweetness symbolized the couples’ future happiness and the grain held the promise of a fruitful union.

The top layer of the wedding cake is customarily taken home and frozen by the bride and groom, who will share it as they celebrate their first anniversary. It is believed that a cake that lasts a year is the guarantee of a long marriage.

Before leaving to change for the honeymoon getaway, the bride tosses her bouquet to an assembly of unmarried bridesmaids and friends. The lucky recipient is expected to be the next one to marry.

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