Are you like me in regard to superstitions, you know you should laugh at them but deep down there’s always that little niggle? I for one, don’t walk under ladders, I’m extra careful on Friday 13th and I often catch myself saying ‘touch wood’ after talking about a lucky event.
Back in the early 1800’s superstitions were rife, never more so than in the Regency marriage mart. For a young lady, a successful marriage was her life’s ambition and most often achieved financial security. So weddings were the acknowledgement of success and were often huge events that all of society would want to attend.
Lets now look at some of the age-old traditions of the bride.
Something old, Something new,
Something Borrowed, Something Blue,
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.
Family dynasties were celebrated. Marriages were usually ‘arranged’ to ensure these large extended families survived. So to wear something old, was a way to ensure the bride’s links, not only to her family, but to her ancestors was recognized and remembered.
The bride would often wear a piece of old lace or handkerchief of her mother’s. Or perhaps a piece of jewelry was handed down from mother to daughter, such as a Tiara or necklace.
The something new was to signify the start of her journey into a new family and life. The item would signify good luck and prosperity, happy days ot come. Once again it could be jewelry or a token of some kind.
This item signified the bride’s impertinence to her knew family. It was supposed to brign the bride joy and often a lot of thought went into this item. Being ‘borrowed’ it of course had to be returned after the wedding or else something bad could happen to the couple. Often prayer books were given to hold during the wedding ceremony.
‘Something blue’ is the oldest of the traditions of the rhyme and goes back thousands of years. The color blue itself symbolized purity, modesty, fidelity and love.
Brides often wore blue ribbons in their hair or sewed blue trim into their dresses.
Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe:
The placing of a silver sixpence - in some traditions a penny - in the bride's shoe was a good luck charm.
The silver coin helped to attract prosperity to the newly weds. It’s also interesting to note that silver was the age old remedy for warding off evil and bad luck. Therefore it’s probable that the tradition of the silver sixpence is linked to very old beliefs and superstitions.
The Date of the Wedding
However, often the biggest superstition, relating to weddings, was the picking of the date of your wedding day.
There are a few versions of this very old Pagan rhyme.
- · "Married when the year is new, he’ll be loving, kind & true.
- When February birds do mate, you wed nor dread your fate.
- · If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you’ll know.
- · Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden & for Man.
- · Marry in the month of May, and you’ll surely rue the day.
- · Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you’ll go.
- · Those who in July do wed, must labour for their daily bred.
- · Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see
- · Marry in September’s shrine, your living will be rich and fine.
- · If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.
- · If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember.
- · When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last."
I find it comforting that today, most western weddings still celebrate the something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
Did you apply this saying to your wedding? What did you have that was blue?