Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

11 wedding superstitions and traditions explained

By the Editors of Martha Stewart Weddings
updated 1:55 AM EDT, Fri September 6, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rituals we take for granted are rooted in centuries-old tradition.
  • Rain and tears offer cleansing -- for very different reasons.
  • Don't stomp that spider! Eight legs are an excellent omen.
  • Want a happy marriage? Be there with bells on.

(Martha Stewart Weddings) -- Ever wondered why a bride wears a veil or how a "something borrowed" has become a wedding-day must-have? We've rounded up the most common and surprising wedding superstitions and traditions and the reasons behind them.

Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

We've all heard this common rhyme used when someone gets married, but what does it mean? Wearing "something old" represents the bride's past, while the "something new" symbolizes the couple's happy future. The bride is supposed to get her "something borrowed" from someone who is happily married in the hope that some of that person's good fortune rubs off on her. "Something blue" denotes fidelity and love.

Martha Stewart Weddings: 13 New Wedding Cake Trends We Love

Bride didn't expect to do this at wedding

Wearing a Veil

This custom originated in Rome, when a bride would wear a veil down the aisle to disguise herself from evil spirits who were jealous of her happiness.

See bride launched in human slingshot

Seeing Each Other Before The Wedding

This superstition dates back to the time of arranged marriages, when people believed that if the couple saw each other before the ceremony, it would give them a chance to change their minds about the wedding. Today, however, many couples choose to meet up and even have portrait sessions before saying their "I dos."

Martha Stewart Weddings: 12 New and Unexpected Wedding Food Ideas

Rain on Your Wedding Day

In some cultures, rain on your wedding day symbolizes fertility and cleansing. This couple's wedding was interrupted by a torrential downpour, and nine months to the day of the wedding, their daughter was born.

Knives as Wedding Gifts

According to folklore, a knife signifies a broken relationship and is bad luck to give as a wedding gift. If knives are on your registry, just give the gift giver a penny. That way it's a purchase, not a gift.

Stay in touch!
Don't miss out on the conversation we're having at CNN Living. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest stories and tell us what's influencing your life.

Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold

This superstition began in Medieval Europe where many believed that a bride was extra vulnerable to evil spirits through the soles of her feet. To avoid bringing in any evil spirits, the groom carried the bride into their new home.

A Spider On Your Wedding Dress

Finding an eight-legged creature on your gorgeous gown might seem like a wedding-day nightmare, but English lore claims that finding a spider in your wedding dress is a good omen.

Using Your Married Name Before the Wedding

Some think it is tempting fate for the bride to write out her married name or monogram before she's actually married, and that the wedding will not take place if she does so. If you're superstitious, save the monogramming for your reception decor and registry items.

Crossing a Nun or Monk's Path

A bride who sees a nun or a monk on the way to her wedding is said to be cursed with a barren life dependent on charity.

Ringing Bells

Bells are traditionally chimed at Irish weddings to keep evil spirits away and to ensure a harmonious family life. Some Irish brides even carry small bells in their bouquets as a reminder of their sacred wedding vows, and they are a common gift for newlyweds.

Breaking Glass

In Italy, many newlyweds smash a vase or glass at their wedding, and they put a lot of muscle into it, too. The tradition says that however many pieces the glassware breaks into will symbolize how many years they'll be happily married.

Crying on Your Wedding Day

It is supposed to be good luck for the bride to cry on her wedding day because it symbolizes that she has shed all her tears and will not have any to shed during her marriage. So go ahead and get teary-eyed. Just be sure to wear some waterproof mascara.

More from Martha Stewart Weddings:

The New Wedding Rules

Dos and Don'ts of Wedding Registries

21 Gorgeous Engagement Rings of Real Brides

How to Give a Great Wedding Toast

Did you include any special rituals into your wedding, or are you planning to? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT