10 Common Wedding Superstitions and What They Mean
The wedding day is full of traditions and rules. Here's what many of the most common ones mean so you don't (or perhaps do) have to worry if you need to break one or two on your big day.
A couple's wedding day is filled with a great deal of meaning, tradition, rules, and even superstition. From the color of the bride's attire to the time of day she should walk down the aisle, many elements of a wedding are dictated for a bride and groom long before they cross the threshold of the ceremony site. If your big day is coming up, or even if you're just reminiscing about everything you did (or didn't do) when you and your love bug said "I do," this list of the most common wedding superstitions may provide some insight into why we do the funny, serious, and down-right odd things we do at weddings.
Not Seeing Each Other Before the Ceremony
If you've ever gone to great lengths to make sure a bride and groom didn't see one another before the doors to the church opened wide, you know how serious some couples can be about this superstition. It dates back to the time of arranged marriages, and it was designed to keep couples with cold feet from bolting. The idea went, if they saw one another before they were set to exchange vows, they'd change their minds. But if they didn't, they would make it to the end of the aisle with their intentions intact.
Many couples today are choosing to ignore this rule in favor of having a special moment together before the ceremony. It also helps bridal parties save time between the service and the reception. If you're considering getting a peak at your partner before the ceremony starts, rest assured any cold feet won't be because they saw you.
Burying Bourbon at the Ceremony Site
This isn't a trick to get booze into the wedding (or if it is, it's cleverly disguised). Southern folklore says a couple can prevent rain on their wedding day by burying a bottle of bourbon at the wedding site one month before they're scheduled to walk down the aisle. Then, the day of the wedding, which will most assuredly be dry with no rain clouds to be seen, they can dig it up—and of course have a toast to their new marriage.
Using Your Married Name Before the Wedding
Brides these days are eager to monogram and label anything they can with their new initials and name, but if you don't want to tempt fate and risk having your wedding canceled, you'd better hold off until after the ceremony before you get the sewing machines turning.
Rain on the Wedding Day
Alanis Morrisette might think it's ironic, but Hindu tradition thinks it's good luck. If the skies pour down upon you on the day you're exchanging vows, don't fret. The universe is sending you good vibes. In some cultures, rain also symbolizes fertility and cleansing.
Wearing a Veil
Many brides have very particular feelings about whether they want a long veil or a short one (or even one at all), but what they may not realize is the veil serves a very important purpose: keeping evil spirits who are jealous of her happiness away. But, as you'll read, a few other traditions and superstitions also serve that purpose, so seems if you want to go sans veil, you'll still be able to hold those ghouls at bay.
Getting Knives as a Wedding Gift
If you register for knives, don't be surprised if no one buys them for you. They're just trying to help make your marriage happy and long-lasting. Knives, according to some traditions, are a symbol of a broken relationship and bad luck. As a wedding gift, it would be most offensive. If you already have them on your registry or just opened the gift a few days ago, you can stave off the jinx by giving the gift giver a penny or two. That way you "paid" for the knives, so the curse will be broken.
Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue
What blushing bride-to-be hasn't recited this Victorian era rhyme? These four items are meant to bring a bride a lot of good fortune and blessings, and if you don't have them, you'll have the opposite.
Here's a little backgrounder on what each is intended to mean: Something old is a symbol of the bride's past. Something new is for the couple's future. Only borrow something from someone who is happily married so a bit of their good fortune will rub off on you. Lastly, something blue is a sign of fidelity and love.
Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold of Your New Home
Those pesky evil spirits are at it again. In Medieval Europe, people believed wicked spirits were trying to attack a bride on her wedding day, especially through the soles of her feet. If a groom carried her over the threshold, she couldn't be grabbed by any of the no-good essences and drag them into their new life.
Ringing Bells Before the Ceremony
It's not just a wonderful custom in your local church. Ringing bells before a wedding is an Irish tradition that helps keep evil spirits—here they are again—away from the couple. The beautiful sounds are also said to help the couple have a harmonious family life. If you don't have bells in your church steeple, you can tie tiny ones into your bouquet for the same protection. Some people also gift bells to couples for the same reason.
Crying on a Wedding Day
If you think letting loose the waterworks on your wedding day is a bad omen, don't. Crying on the day you marry your friend is supposed to be good luck, or at least a sign of good things to come. If you cry, tradition holds, you're shedding all your tears and will not have any left to shed during your marriage—or perhaps at least no reason to shed them, that is.