We all know it’s bad luck to see the bride in her dress before the wedding, but do you know why? And where does “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” really come from? Prepare yourself for the best (and the worst) with our handy list of the top 13 wedding superstitions. Some of them may surprise you!
Top 13 Common Wedding Superstitions Explained
Something Old, New, Borrowed, Blue
If you want a tradition to stick, turn it into a rhyme! We’ve all heard this little line of poetry, but many people’s understanding of this common wedding superstition stops there. Wearing ‘something old’ represents the bride’s past, while ‘something new’ represents the new couple’s future. A happily married friend of the bride provides the “something borrowed” so that some of her good luck will rub off on the newlyweds. And traditionally the “something blue” represents love and commitment. Put them all together and you’ve got the perfect quartet of luck!
A beloved practice at Jewish and Italian wedding ceremonies, the breaking of the glass has a variety of meanings. The fragility of the glass represents the fragility of marriage. And the act of breaking it symbolizes the irrevocable commitment you are making to each other. Some say the breaking of the glass is meant to scare away evil spirits who will try to steal the new couple’s good fortune. Others say that the number of pieces it breaks into represents the number of years you will be happily married. And to some it simply starts the celebration! But whatever interpretation you choose, stomp hard!
Crying on your Wedding Day
Make sure you’ve got your waterproof mascara ready because crying on your wedding day is actually GOOD luck! Shedding a tear on your wedding day means you won’t have any left to shed in your long and happy marriage. Does anyone have a tissue?
Seeing the Bride before the Ceremony
Many people don’t realize that this tradition dates back to a time where arranged marriages were the most common. It was believed that if the bride and groom saw each other before the ceremony they would have time to change their minds. Nowadays many modern couples are opting out of the this old wedding superstition in favor of taking their portraits before the ceremony.
Knives as Wedding Gifts
Knives given as gifts represent a broken relationship. So think twice before including them on your registry. Have your heart set on that gorgeous set of Wusthof’s? Don’t worry, you can always send the gift giver a penny in return. This turns the gift into a purchase and cancels out any bad luck the knives may bring.
An old Irish tradition, ringing bells on your wedding day keeps the evil spirits away. Many brides put little bells in their bouquets to protect them and ensure a harmonious married life.
A Spider on your Wedding Dress
Perhaps the creepy-crawliest of all wedding superstitions, finding a spider on your wedding dress is actually a good omen!
Wearing a Veil
This custom goes all the way back to ancient Rome. To keep evil spirits at bay, a bride wears a veil down the aisle as a disguise. After all, if the spirits can’t recognize you they can’t curse you.
Rain on your Wedding Day
Rain isn’t always a bad sign! A wedding day downpour is cleansing and fertilizing. So throw out the umbrella and embrace this shower of love!
Burying a Bottle of Bourbon
Okay, so maybe you really don’t want rain to interrupt your outdoor nuptials. Not to worry. One of our favorite wedding superstitions comes from the southern tradition of burying a bottle of bourbon. To prevent wedding day rain, bury a bottle of your favorite bourbon upside down at your wedding site a month before the ceremony. Then after the sun shines down on your vows, dig up the bottle and toast to your future!
This one goes all the way back to the Dark Ages. In those times, friends and family would wait outside the new couples bedchamber and demand evidence that the marriage had been consummated (yes, you read that right!) The couple would then send out sheets, stockings or a garter to prove their ‘wedding’ to the mob outside. As time went on, the garter became a symbol of good luck and guests would try to strip it from the bride. Today, the groom does the removal himself and tosses the garter into a group of single men. The one who catches it is thought to be the next to marry. The modern bouquet toss is the female counterpart to this longstanding bridal tradition.
Carrying the Bride over the Threshold
Beginning in medieval Europe, this superstition was another meant to ward off evil spirits. A new bride was believed to be especially vulnerable through the soles of her feet, so her groom would pick her up and carry her into their new home. As long as her feet didn’t touch the threshold, their home would be free from bad luck.
Dropping the Wedding Rings
Keep a tight hold on those rings, fellas! According to tradition, dropping the rings is an omen of death. The wearer of the dropped ring being the first to die.
Whether you choose to abide by these ancient rules or not, wedding superstitions have a unique place in our culture. We recommend choosing the ones that mean something to you and not worrying too much about those that don’t. After all, your love is enough good luck all by itself. And if you’re participating in any of these traditions, include a little history lesson in your programs so your guests can join in on the fun!
So go find your something blue and splurge on that fancy bottle of bourbon, we think you’ll be just fine.