Over the weekend Claire attended a wedding in Somerset and she said it was beautiful and came back full of curiosity on how weddings came about, the traditions and weddings in different cultures and in history. So, we are going to be having a series of blog posts each week for the things I have just listed.
There are many traditions within wedding ceremonies that you may recognise and that you may never even know existed. As I was researching Claire and I were very interested in what was actually done.
Let’s start with something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. This saying and tradition can be dated back to Victorian times. Something old tends to relate to the brides family and what she can use, sometimes it’s a piece of jewellery, an accessory or even the wedding dress of her mother or grandmother. Something New relates to an item that can represent the new life that the bride is going to marry into and the wedding dress is often the representation of this. Something borrowed is an item borrowed from a friend or a family member. This represents that they will be there for the bride when help is needed. And finally something blue. The blue symbolises the faith and loyalty of the couple and can also represent purity. Most often the brides garter is blue.
There are also some rumoured traditions to do with warding off evil spirits from the new couple. The veil, for example, was originally worn to protect the bride from evil spirits and to hide her beauty until the moment the groom is supposed to see her. But another rumour is that throughout the time of arranged marriages the brides face was covered until the groom had said ‘I do’…. We think it’s so he can’t run away after seeing her. Another way of warding off the evil was to carry the bride over the threshold, this was to protect her from the spirits.
Here is where it gets a little bit dark.
The bouquet, at one time, was not flowers but a mixture of herbs. Mostly dill and garlic. This was because of the plague. The practice was a method to cover their mouths and noses in an effort to not catch this deadly disease. Apparently it had great power of protection. But since then, obviously it’s more flowers than meal garnish.
The garter? That’s a shade or two darker than the bouquet. This was actually devised as a way to literally physically protect the bride. From her GUESTS! Don’t worry, it’s not that recent. It is from medieval England. Guests would check whether the marriage had actually been consummated, they did this by checking her stockings to see if they had been ripped. In France there was actually a thing where the guests would run to the alter after the ceremony and tear pieces of the bridal dress for ‘good luck’ but you can imagine how horrible that was for the bride though, right? Well, that’s where the garter fits in. Instead of fighting for pieces of the dress or checking the stockings, the garter would be thrown as a sign of consummation and also to avoid the mobs.
Well, how interesting were they? More amazing facts and maybe even weird ones are to come!