Saturday, April 20, 2019  

Popular Wedding Traditions & Practices for an Old-Fashioned "I-Do"

A wonderful old saying, often used by brides-to-be when selecting the day of their wedding:

Monday for health,
Tuesday for wealth,
Wednesday the best day of all;
Thursday for losses,
Friday for crosses,
And Saturday no luck at all.

- Ellye Howell Glover

And, of course, Sundays were not a choice!

What to wear? The bride-to-be often relied on the following attire etiquette:

Married in gray, you will go far away.
Married in black, you will wish yourself back.
Married in brown, you will live out of town.
Married in red, you will wish yourself dead.
Married in pearl, you will live in a whirl.
Married in green, ashamed to be seen.
Married in yellow, ashamed of your fellow.
Married in blue, he will always be true.
Married in pink, your spirits will sink.
Married in white, you have chosen aright.

- Ellye Howell Glover

Don't forget the age-old tradition:

Something old,
something new,
something borrowed,
something blue.

A few of the most popular flowers used in weddings along with their meanings:

Roses - symbolic of true love
Honeysuckle - symbolic of faithful love
Lily of the Valley - also symbolic of faithfulness; virtue

Birthstones have always been popular choices for engagement rings. Here are the birthstones for each month along with their symbolic meanings:

January - garnet; symbolic of fidelity
February - amethyst; symbolic of power
March - bloodstone; symbolic of bravery
April - diamond; symbolic of purity/innocence
May - emerald; symbolic of loyalty
June - pearl; symbolic of good health and beauty
July - ruby; symbolic of courage
August - onyx; symbolic of marital bliss
September - sapphire; symbolic of truth, sincerity
October - opal; symbolic of valiance
November - topaz; symbolic of strength
December - turquoise; symbolic of prosperity, success

For more traditional wedding information, the following books are recommended:

The Wedding Book - A Bride's Memento

I Thee Wed - The Sweet Nellie Book of Wedding Traditions & Sentiments

These books not only provide great information, but they make great gifts for a bride-to-be and bridesmaids as well!

And which month to choose? Another popular poem of days past:

Marry when the year is new,
Always loving, kind, and true.

When February birds do mate
You may 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 and for man.

Marry in the month of May,
You will surely rue the day.

Marry when June roses blow,
Over land and sea you'll go.

They who in July do wed,
Must labor always for their bread.

Whoever wed in August be,
Many a change are sure to see.

Marry in September's shine,
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 joy will come, remember.

When December's snows fall fast,
Marry, and true love will last.

- Ellye Howell Glover

Some more popular wedding traditions:

Throwing rice is a very old tradition. Since rice is symbolic of fertility, it was tossed upon the bride and groom at their departure to the honeymoon. In recent years, rice throwing has been replaced with other alternatives, such as throwing rose petals or bubble blowing. Rice grains can pose dangers to birds and wildlife, and can cause "slip and fall" hazards for people.

Wedding cake slices were often given to guests upon their departure; a popular Victorian custom. The slices or small individual cakes were often pre-gift wrapped in small boxes for guests to take home. Young unmarried maids would often place a piece of their wedding cake gift under their pillows, believing it would bring sweet dreams about their lovers.

The traditional wedding veil is a must. It was always believed to "veil" or protect the bride's face from the stares of jealous suitor(s), and save the wedding!

Saving the top tier of the wedding cake is an old and still favorable tradition. Today, the top tier is usually well wrapped and frozen until the married couple's first anniversary. It is then eaten to celebrate their first year together. Traditionally, wedding cakes were usually soaked in liquor, which preserved them. The top layer or tier of the cake was saved and eaten when the couple's first child was born.

Tying cans to the bridal car is still common practice. Originally, old shoes were tied to the back of the carriage.

Return to Victorian Customs