Although some stray and opt for a more modern wedding and may not follow any of these rituals, many follow some of them, and quite a few follow them all.
One of the most well-known traditions is that of the bride wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. The wearing of the “something old” represents the bride’s past, while the “something new” represents her future with her new husband. The bride borrows something from someone that has been happily married for a long time in hopes that some of their good fortune will rub off on her and her future marriage. Finally, blue stands for love and fidelity.
Wearing a veil is also a tradition, although it was one of the first rituals to be left behind in favor of a more modern style. The veil is a Roman custom that was originally used to disguise the bride from any evil spirits that were jealous of her happiness and good fortune.
Although this isn’t followed as strictly as it once was, the bride and groom will often choose not to see each other before the wedding. This has long been known to be a sign of bad luck. This particular superstition goes back to when there were arranged marriages. People thought if the couple were to see each other before the ceremony they would have the chance to change their minds.
Although rain can be a big inconvenience on a wedding day, and it would seem that it would bring bad luck, but actually rain is a sign for cleansing and fertility in many cultures, and so it is seen as good luck.
One common ritual that is often associated more with buying a house and less with a wedding is carrying the bride over the threshold of the couple’s house. This is actually a Medieval European tradition that took place after the wedding. The bride was believed to be extra vulnerable to evil spirits through the soles of her feet and to avoid the spirits, the husband carried her into their home.
Many churches ring the church bells as the bride and groom are leaving the church, and that is actually a long standing ritual. Irish weddings have bells chimed in order to keep away evil spirits and guarantee a harmonious family life. Some brides even have bells as part of their bouquets and they are commonly given as gifts to the couple.
Many people give knives as a wedding gift simply because it is something the couple will need in their kitchen, it is actually a sign of bad luck. According to folklore, knives signify a broken relationship. In ancient times, the couple would give the gift giver a penny so the knives were a purchase and not a gift.
While you may not follow any or all of these traditions on your wedding day, they have been around for a long time and come from many different areas of the world and are still followed by many people today.