SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW ...
Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in your shoe
The rhyme originated in Victorian times although some customs referred in
it are much older.
The "something old" represents the couples friends who will hopefully remain
close during the marriage. Traditionally this was old garter which given to
the bride by a happily married woman in the hope that her happiness in
marriage would be passed on to the new bride.
"Something new" symbolises the newlyweds' happy and prosperous future.
The "something borrowed" is often lent by the bride's family and is an item
much valued by the family. The bride must return the item to ensure good
The custom of the bride wearing "something blue" originated in ancient
Israel where the bride wore a blue ribbon in her hair to represent fidelity.
The placing of a silver sixpence in the bride's shoe was to ensure wealth in
the couple's married life. Today some brides substitute a penny in their shoe
during the ceremony as silver sixpences are less common.
THE WEDDING CAKE
Cutting the wedding cake is now one of the ritual celebrations at the reception.
The couple makes the first cut together to symbolise their shared future.
Cakes have been associated with weddings throughout history. The Romans
shared a cake during the wedding ceremony itself. This was not the rich
fruit-cake we enjoy today. It was a plain confection made from wheat flour,
salt and water. The Fijians and Some Native American tribes still
incorporate cake in the wedding ceremonies.
In Britain early cakes were flat and round and contained fruit and nuts
which symbolise fertility.
In the past the custom was to throw many small cakes over the bride in a
similar way in which we throw confetti today. A modification of this custom
was to crumble cake over the brides head and in some versions to break the
cake over the Bride's head. In Scotland Oat Cakes were used for this
purpose. This was done to promote fertility.
In Yorkshire a plate holding wedding cake was thrown out of the window as
the bride returned to her parental home after the wedding. If the plate
broke she would enjoy a happy future with her husband but if the plate
remained intact her future would be grim.
Another old English custom was to place a ring in the wedding cake. The
guest who found the ring in their the piece of cake would be ensured
happiness for the next year.
The shape of the modern three tiered iced cake is believed to have been
inspired by the spire of Saint Bride's Church in the City of London. It is
said that unmarried guests who place a piece of wedding cake under their
pillow before sleeping will increase there prospects of finding a partner
and bridesmaids who do likewise will dream of their future husbands.
The top tier of the cake is often kept by couples for the christening of
their first child.
Why Does the Bride Wear a Veil?
The bride's veil and bouquet are of greater antiquity than her white gown.
Her veil, which was yellow in ancient Greece and red in ancient Rome,
usually shrouded her from head to foot, and has since the earliest of times,
denoted the subordination of a woman to man. The thicker the veil, the more
traditional the implication of wearing it.
According to tradition, it is considered bad luck for the bride to be seen
by the groom before the ceremony. As a matter of fact, in the old days of
marriage by purchase, the couple rarely saw each other at all, with
courtship being of more recent historical emergence.
The lifting of the veil at the end of the ceremony symbolizes male
dominance. If the bride takes the initiative in lifting it, thereby
presenting herself to him, she is showing more independence.
Veils came into vogue in the United States when Nelly Curtis wore a veil at
her wedding to George Washington's aid, Major Lawrence Lewis. Major Lewis
saw his bride to be standing behind a filmy curtain and commented to her how
beautiful she appeared. She then decided to veil herself for their ceremony.
According to an old legend, the month in which you marry may have some
bearing on the fate of your marriage:
"Married when the year is new, he'll be loving, kind and 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 and 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 will 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".
JUNE BRIDE - CLEAN BRIDE!
For centuries the month of June has been the most popular choice for
weddings - but the original reason might surprise you. You see, during the
1400-1500s, May was the month in which the "annual bath" occured. Yes, just
as it sounds, back then people were only able to bathe thoroughly once each
year. As such, the over-all population was smelling relatively fresh in
June, making it a good time to hold a special event like a wedding! Further,
the month of June is named after the goddess Juno, who was the Roman
counterpart to Hera, the goddess of the hearth and home, and patron of