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Wedding Customs and Where They Originated

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Even though June is typically the “Wedding Month”, more and more couples are choosing non-traditional dates to “tie the knot”.  They are also concerned about keeping with the traditions that go along with getting married. Many of these traditions are deeply engrained in our culture and carry with them an interesting history of superstition, family, and of the era from which they originated.

Wedding Date

June wedding dates are historically the most popular month to marry, for it is named after the Roman Goddess of Marriage, Juno. According to legend, Juno would bring prosperity and happiness to all who wed in her month.  In the past, common sense also played a part in a bride’s decision to marry in June. If she marries in the early part of summer, the bride’s first child would likely arrive in spring, giving her time to recover before the fall harvest.

According to an article in “The Examiner” written by Marguerite Wright, “June was considered the time when people came outdoors after a long winter and bathed communally. This would be the best time for a fresh smelling bride.” Celebrations could be planned without the threat of acclimate weather and family could travel to attend the wedding.

Brides were also superstitious about the day of the week.  An old poem goes:

Marry on Monday for health,

Tuesday for wealth,

Wednesday the best day of all,

Thursday for crosses,

Friday for losses,

and Saturday for no luck at all.

The Sabbath day was out of the question.

Wedding Dress

The tradition of wearing a white or ivory wedding dress comes from Victorian Age (1837-1901).  White or ivory wedding dresses worn by the rich, who could afford to wear a dress only once, were in vogue.  It was also considered a sign of purity and virginity.

A black wedding dress was considered taboo in the past, however, today black, and many other colors have been added to the selections. Vera Wang, a popular fashion designer, displayed only black wedding dresses in her 2012 collection. David’s Bridal reports that colored dresses have begun to come into fashion for younger brides.

A Wedding Dress poem steeped in superstition, but something to think about before the wedding.

Married in white, you will have chosen right.  

Married in grey, you will go far away.

Married in black, you will wish yourself back.

Married in red, you wish yourself dead.

Married in green, ashamed to be seen.

Married in blue, you will always be true.

Married in pearl, you will live in a whirl.

Married in yellow, ashamed of your fellow.

Married in brown, you will live out-of-town.

Married in pink, your fortune will sink.

 

The Veil and the Bridesmaids

The reason and purpose for a veil for the Bride and her Bridesmaids comes for the ancient belief that evil spirits were lurking at the wedding and trying to steal the soul of the Bride. If the Bride wears a veil, as well as her Bridesmaids, the evil spirits will be confused and not know whom to choose.  Essentially, the Bridesmaids were put in place to protect the Bride and ensure that her soul was pure when she was given to her Groom.

 

Other Superstitions and Customs

Something Old,

Something New,

Something Borrowed,

Something Blue

Many Brides’ have searched frantically before the Wedding Day to find an item to fit each of the items in this phrase.  This poem came from Ancient Roman symbolism.  “Something Old…” means continuing with the past; “Something New…” was the sign of future prosperity; “Something Borrowed…” usually came from another happy couple to ensure that their happiness would rub off on the newlyweds and that they would also be happy together; “Something Blue…” was associated with purity, fidelity, and true love.

The superstition of carrying the Bride over the threshold by the groom stems from those evil spirits lurking, again. Even today in Eastern Europe, the wedding guests still escort the bride and groom to their bedroom.  Some cultures will dance around the house of the newlyweds to drive away any demons that may be hanging around.

With all these ceremonies and banishing of evil spirits, it is a wonder married couples ever have troubles or divorce. It could be that in modern times, many of these superstitions and customs have fallen to the wayside.  Couples today are choosing to buck the tradition and marry in their own way.  Imagine what our ancestors would have believed about couples who choose to marry on Halloween or on Friday the 13th.  Talk about your evil spirits!  Nevertheless, the ceremony of marriage is still thought to be a time to celebrate and an occasion to wish the couple a happy life.

 

Related Articles

 A Brief History of Weddings

Something Blue

Wedding Traditions: Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

 

Works Cited

American Wedding Traditions and Customs. (2012). Retrieved from Elite Dresses.com: http://www.elitedresses.com/American_Wedding_Customs_s/63.htm

Kitsen, M. L. (1998, May). How Wedding Customs Got Their Start. Women’s Day.

McIntyre, K. (2012). The History of the White Wedding Dress. Retrieved from From Times Past .com: http://www.fromtimespast.com/wedding.htm

Odell, A. (2011, 10 28). Just How Popular Are Colored Wedding Dresses? Retrieved from New York Fashion Magazine: http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2011/10/colored_wedding_dresses.html

Wright, M. (2006-2012). Why June is the time for weddings and the best spas for brides. Retrieved from The Examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/article/why-june-is-the-time-for-weddings-and-the-best-spas-for-brides

 

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 
 

 

 

 

 

About bigsmileu1

What good is living life if you don't share all the experiences, mistakes, and knowledge you have gained? I am a grandmother, a Jr. High Teacher for 15 years, a wife of 31 years, a mother of two grown children, and I want to share my experiences.

18 responses »

  1. Thank you Jamie, this is fantastic! I really like to dig into customs to understand where we came from and why.

    Reply
  2. I didn’t know all these tidbits. I was a June bride, but that was because I wanted an outdoor wedding. Married on a Saturday….ouch….did not know “no luck”. Hey check out my blog today. I accepted the awards you nominated me for…..better late than never….lol

    Reply
  3. I so enjoy reading about customs. My grandmother was married in Germany in the 1920’s, and her wedding photo shows her wearing a black dress. Great post, thank you!

    Reply
    • How interesting that your grandmother wore a black dress. In my research, I found that unless you were rich, you wore whatever you had no matter what the color. So many of our ancestors may have chosen a wedding dress that was not white. Thanks for sharing and commenting. Enjoy the day! :)

      Reply
  4. Great post, I knew some of the traditions but not all. It’s good to have traditions.
    thanks Judy :)

    Reply
  5. I especially like the poem about how your marriage will be affected merely by the color of the dress worn.

    Reply
  6. Interesting information…Maybe the reason so marriages are failing is that they are on Saturdays….lol wait a minute…I was married on a Saturday…and we just celebrated 49 years..so that can’t be the reason…..Diane

    Reply
    • I thought the same thing when I read the poem. Think of all the people who marry on Saturday! Maybe that is why the divorce rate is going up? LOL! I was married on a Saturday, too, and I have be been married for 31 years. So you are right, that cannot be the reason. Thanks Diane for commenting. Enjoy the day! :)

      Reply
  7. This is a fun post, Jamie! And, thank goodness that the custom of having a freshly washed bride has not gone out of style.

    Reply
  8. Beyond The Green Door

    What a fun post to read — love seeing where traditions and superstitions come from! And it also gave me quite a chuckle to see that according to the superstitions, our marriage didn’t follow any of the “right” things — my wedding dress was red, we got married on a Thursday, and got married in April, not June. Oh, and I didn’t wear a veil or have bridesmaids to ward off those evil spirits. :-) LOL!

    Reply
    • It is amazing what people believed. Angels must have blessed your marriage despite your kickin’ of tradition. LOL! I didn’t wear a veil or have a white dress. I was married in a pant suit of all things. I suppose they will laugh at our traditions in the future, too. Thanks for the great comment! Enjoy the evening. :)

      Reply

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