Weddings are today playgrounds for old and beloved traditions. Our customs today are some centuries old and all have their own meaning. What they all have in common is not only that they have survived to this day, but that they should bring happiness to the newlyweds or keep evil away from them.
Originally, you even chose the wedding date based on this understanding: An old belief says that you shouldn't get married when the moon is waning, so that happiness never decreases. In addition, according to the vernacular, the sun still has to rise when the couple says yes - an afternoon is therefore unsuitable for a wedding ceremony. A bride can be particularly happy if she meets a pigeon, a lamb, a black cat or a spider on the way to the wedding ceremony. Policemen, doctors and pastors who happen to cross the path are supposed to intensify the blessing for a newly married couple. On the other hand - contrary to the experience of some newlyweds - rain on the wedding day does not hurt, because an old saying goes: “If it rains at the altar, it brings happiness for many years. “On the other hand, tears are supposedly worn pearls, just like a dropped wedding ring on the altar, which according to old understanding announces an inharmonious marriage. But there are said to have been couples who, in bright sunshine, married one morning loaded with pearls, only met dogs and old women on their way to the altar, saw the waning moon above the registry office, the wedding ring several times on the marble floor with excitement peppered and yet became very happy.
So apart from these old ideas, which wedding customs do you really have to know as a bride and groom? And what should you consider when planning your wedding if you don't want to fall into the trap of misunderstood traditions?
The custom of carrying the bride across the threshold
A 3000-year-old superstition says that evil spirits live under the doorstep. The custom goes back to the fact that the groom has to carry his bride over the threshold on the wedding night. So she is protected from the ghosts who do not want to grant the couple their happiness.
Even if she doesn't necessarily believe in evil spirits, the bride feels lovingly cared for when the man carries her over the threshold. Of course, this is not a must. Rather, it can also be anticipated by a game on the wedding day, in which the bride and groom cut a heart out of an old sheet. Nasty friends traditionally give them extra blunt scissors. When the heart is finally cut out, the groom carries his bride through. This also brings luck and promises a fulfilled marriage.
Cents for the bridal shoes
Not just a single coin is important for bridal shoes. Originally, these were also paid for by collecting pennies. Girls were taught that they should save for their future bridal shoes from an early age. So many collected for years, also supported by their relatives and friends, until they could afford particularly valuable shoes on their wedding day. These then showed the whole society how economical the bride was. In addition to this practical use, the pennies should bring luck to the newlyweds.
In the past, cobblers were used to paying bridal shoes with pennies. Today you have to look for a shoe store that is ready to accept cents for a pair of shoes. Shops are only obliged to accept small amounts in up to fifty coins. This will be a challenge for most, since bridal shoes are no longer available for 20 marks as before. But they still exist: the guardians of tradition. So just be brave and ask in advance in your shoe or bridal shop if payment in cents is okay. An exchange for notes would of course make sense, but is actually not allowed. The nice thing about this custom is the anticipation: Many brides collect the money in a transparent container and can thus watch the sum growing and the time until the wedding pass. Other handicrafts can also make collecting cents special, for example decorating a shoe box with the photo of your dream shoes.
As an orientation for the savings target, it makes sense to weigh the empty container beforehand. If you assume that a cent weighs 2.3 g, you can calculate how much weight you have to reach for your shoes (minus the empty weight of the container). However, this rule only applies to 1-cent savers. Otherwise you only have time-consuming counting or regular sorting, e.g. in coin rolls.
The hen party
This custom has been handed down since the late Middle Ages, when it was first mentioned in writing in Germany. At that time, the hen party was also known in the Scandinavian countries and Poland. Traditionally it took place a few days or a few weeks before the wedding day and was organized by the bride's parents. In addition to close friends and relatives, acquaintances and neighbors were invited. The name "bachelor party" is derived from the noise that breaks porcelain creates on the floor. After the custom, the guests brought old stoneware, flower pots or, above all, ceramics with them to the occasion. Mostly this was then broken up in front of the bride's house and the future bride and groom then swept away the broken pieces together. This ritual should guarantee a successful marriage.
In many places, the bachelor party has taken the place of the hen party. Since there is no stipulation as to how the celebration will continue after the porcelain is broken, there is nothing standing in the way of a party for the bride and groom. Nowadays, this tradition is a good option for couples who don't feel like a bachelor party, but still want to celebrate in advance with their friends and family. Some even opt for a bachelorette party on the day before the wedding, because this way, all guests can get a taste of the big day. However, one should expect possible side effects due to excessive party mood. In this way, however, the tradition of rumbling can be continued and the bride and groom can practice for the future house cleaning.
The flower children
We have had the tradition of flower-scattering children after a wedding since around 1970. Originally it was a pagan custom because the fragrance of the flowers was supposed to attract the gods of fertility. Therefore, when the bridal couple moved out, flower children were allowed to sprinkle petals to bless the two with a lot of offspring.
Flower children are not only a wonderful symbol for hoped-for child's blessings, but above all they are very cute to look at. Therefore, it is always a good decision to have one or two small companions between the ages of four and ten lead the way out of the church.
To ensure that everything runs smoothly, it is advisable to choose a carer for the flower children, preferably a parent of one of the children. In addition to the beautiful petals or flowers that the children should then sprinkle, the sweet outfits of the little ones will be the focus. Perhaps you want to tinker or buy them a specific basket beforehand. In any case, someone should take enough time to explain the task to the little ones beforehand. Experience has shown that children have a lot of fun and adults are happy to watch them throw. For a festive atmosphere, flower children are therefore a great asset.
The throwing of rice
Throwing rice is a very old custom in Germany. When moving out of the church or the registry office, the bridal couple should be wished for a large marriage. Rice is a traditional symbol of fertility. In the past, peas, pearl barley, juniper or nuts were sometimes thrown. These are also mentioned in old folk songs in connection with a rich blessing for children.
Rice hurts less than nuts on the head, but is still a rather unpopular custom among thrown wedding couples. In addition, the rules are relatively strict in some places: Rice throwing is almost always forbidden in churches, the regulations are very different in the entrance area, some churches also indicate with signs of hunger in the third world and therefore advise against throwing food. However, a rumor that rice swells in birds' stomach and is therefore harmful to them is not true.
If you are still looking for an alternative, you can either use a different fertility symbol with the flower children or you can choose soap bubbles, for example. Usually wonderful photos are created when the bride and groom are greeted by friends and family members with a sea of colorful bubbles on the forecourt of the church or the registry office. It is also a good time to let balloons go up. Cards that are attached to these balloons can be individually decorated by the wedding guests. If the card is then used somewhere, the finder can send it back to the bride and groom.
The most popular wedding custom: the bride's first dance
Originally, the bride and groom's first dance was the wedding waltz. This dance is symbolic because - like the wedding rings themselves - it reproduces a circle, symbolizing the infinity of love and loyalty of the two partners. Hardly understandable for us today, but the waltz was once considered very frowned upon. In the 18th century, however, it became increasingly popular, even if it was considered to be as immoral as rock'n'roll much later. This was because the partners dance very closely with each other during the waltz and, depending on the speed of rotation, can also put their own feelings into the dance. It wasn't until the beginning of the 19th century that this dance finally reached all social classes.
If you don't like the waltz, you can of course open the dance floor with another dance at any time. Today everything is possible from Cha-Cha-Cha to Disko Fox to entire dance choreographies. Nevertheless, it is sometimes nice to remember the old tradition. So why not, for example, start in a classic waltz step and then suddenly completely freak out to your own favorite music? You will be sure of the enthusiasm of your guests.
Wedding custom: throwing the bridal bouquet
This picture is probably at every wedding: the bride throws her bouquet behind and a flock of women fights to catch it. Originally, however, the bridal bouquet had a much more practical meaning: in the Renaissance it was intended to keep the bride from fainting between human exhalation and the smell of incense. The fragrance bouquet later became a symbol for future brides. Catching the bouquet meant an early wedding.
The throwing of the bridal bouquet is firmly anchored in culture in Central Europe and America. The lucky catcher will marry her dream prince next. Traditionally, the bridal bouquet is thrown over the shoulder - depending on the talent of the bride, the unmarried girlfriends may gather closer or further away behind her. Since the bridal bouquet is sometimes fiercely contested, it can also be affected. Before doing so, consider whether you think it makes sense to buy a second bouquet because you may want to keep yours. If the bouquet is not caught by the way, just try again. If there are enough unmarried women present, one will surely be successful someday.
If you prefer something more unusual, you can also raffle off the bridal bouquet. The bride draws the lucky winner from a lottery drum into which all participating women have thrown her name. Bridal bouquet throwing as roulette is also becoming increasingly popular: the bride is blindfolded and all unmarried women stand in a circle around her. Then the bride is turned until she has lost her bearings. Then the women start moving to music around them until it stops. At that moment the bride opens her eyes and gives her bouquet to the one she is facing.
By the way, the male counterpart to throwing bridal bouquets is too often forgotten: tossing garters for unmarried men. It can be as funny as hunting the bridal bouquet - even or especially when nobody wants to catch it.
The bride kidnapping
The kidnapping of the bride on the wedding day goes back a long story. It is believed that this funny custom used to have a rather serious background: in the Middle Ages, the nobles and clergy had the so-called "right of the first night" when the subordinates married. So they were able to kidnap the brides of their vassals. It is difficult to understand today whether it is a matter of fact or literary fiction.
The groom's originally justified fear was later turned into a joke by his friends: the bride was removed from the wedding party by the "kidnappers" and taken to several inns until her husband finally found her and paid the bill for his friends triggered.
Bride kidnappings have become less common today. In particular, there is hardly any triggering after a long pub crawl on the wedding day. Modern bride kidnappers usually leave hints to the groom and do not bring the bride to bars, but to a public place, for example. If you have friends who you think can use an unobserved moment at your celebration for this game, you should consider whether you find it funny or even annoying. Some bridal couples do not want to be separated from each other on the wedding day, which is too short anyway. However, kidnapping a bride from well-meaning friends can also be very funny. Just listen to your gut feeling.
Cutting the wedding cake
Wedding cakes have been an integral part of a wedding party since the 19th century. It was then that excitingly decorated cakes began to be offered for noble marriages. This quickly became established and multi-tier wedding cakes were almost a must. In the Christian faith, the traditional five floors of the cake symbolize the stages of development from birth, communion / confirmation to marriage, children and death. The sweet treats were decorated with roses, ring or heart motifs. In addition, of course, a cake figure on top of the artwork could not be missing. A certain ingredient was also indispensable: marzipan, which is also made from almonds. These are intended to bring happiness and a large marriage to the couple. The well-known custom of pie cutting is to show who has the pants on in a relationship:
Five floors are no longer a must, but they are also welcome. The decoration is usually still very romantic, but there are many modern cake figures, in which, for example, hobby, profession or another specific character of the bride and groom is characterized. Depending on whether you have them specially made by the confectioner or buy them in the shop, they cost between 10 and 100 euros. However, you should not do much with the purchase of the cake: this is definitely a task for your groomsmen or good friends. It can also be a wonderful gift - whether baked or selected.
Of course, cutting together is part of it. When kissing over the cake afterwards, you should pay attention to your dress or suit.
One saying: five things the bride should wear
This custom is one of the best-known wedding rituals: the bride should wear something blue, something borrowed, something old and something new on the wedding day. In addition, there is often talk of “something given”. The original version comes from the American and even rhymes in the original:
Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.
The blue accessory is a sign of loyalty and was often implemented in the form of a blue garter. The interpretation is explained by the English proverb: “Married in blue, lover be true.” The new symbolizes the new life at the husband's side and the old stands for the bride's previous life. Here one mostly used a precious piece of jewelry from the family heritage. The borrowed symbolizes friendship. Therefore, the bride borrowed a small item, such as an embroidered handkerchief, from a happily married friend. The gift should also be from someone who means a lot to you, as a symbol that you will continue to be there for each other.
The tradition still exists and is lovingly cared for by numerous brides. Of course, you can make it easy for yourself by combining several of these requirements in one piece of clothing or accessory, for example with a borrowed blue earring. Brides who want to make more effort, on the other hand, search for the right symbol for their big day in the individual areas. Here are some suggestions:
In addition to the traditional garter, there are also other small details in the wedding outfit for this color: e.g. blue lacquered nails, blue ribbons in the hair or flowers in the bridal bouquet.
This deposit, which the bride receives for the wedding day, is interpreted more or less the same as before. There are no limits to the wealth of inventors. Here are some suggestions that you may not have come up with: your best friend's veil, your grandma's hair accessories, or your married sister's crinoline.
This category is easy for most brides, as often the wedding dress and all other accessories have been bought new. Of course, a new handbag, a new piece of jewelry or particularly beautiful underwear is also valid for the wedding night.
Here you can continue the family tradition. It no longer has to be an old piece of jewelry, although this can also be associated with many memories. Just as beautiful are, for example, a medallion with an old family picture, an old second-hand bag or possibly even a piece of your mother's old wedding dress, which you can have sewn into the lining of your own dress.
You can get the blue, new or old as a gift, so you have the gift with you at the same time.
“… And a silver sixpence in her shoe”
it originally says in the English original. In the years 1551-1967, the sixpence was a silver coin that was placed in the bridal shoe. It should symbolize future wealth. Today this tradition can of course be maintained with every coin. If you want to be absolutely sure, you can get this coin as a gift to really meet all the requirements.
The morning gift
The morning gift used to be understood as a financial security that was available to the bride in the event of an accident unexpectedly happening to her newlywed. Although this gift - as the name implies - was to be handed over the morning after the wedding, it could also be used later. Often it was a certain amount of money, but sometimes also through a service provided by employees or the like. The groom hid the gift under the wife's pillow, because this should bring special happiness.
Although the traditional idea of providing financial security for the bride is a thing of the past, morning giving is still a popular custom. This is also because it offers a nice opportunity for the newlyweds to give themselves a small gift. Today the groom can also be given presents. The morning gift does not necessarily have to be something valuable, a creative idea such as a portrait or a voucher for a joint excursion is also conceivable. Some brides also give their husband photos in beautiful wedding lingerie to remember the first night as a couple for a long time. It is only important that this gift is something very personal. Then the romance comes all by itself. semi formal dresses
It is not for nothing that wedding customs have survived for many years to centuries. The idea that one can only increase happiness through a certain action is just too tempting. So what's included: Belief in happiness never hurts.