20 Wedding Superstitions

By Lydia Weltmann, bridebook Intern

We’ve all heard some crazy legends revolving around a person’s big day. The bride has to do this and the groom has to do that, or else! Some of these legends have been around for a while, but do you know what all of them really mean? Check out these old wedding superstitions and what they meant!

Photo by Stephanie Parker Photography

Photo by Stephanie Parker Photography

1. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Something old represents continuity with the past and something new represents the coming future. The something borrowed is supposed to come from someone who is already happily married to try and ‘borrow’ their good fortune. Something blue is for fidelity and love.

2. Wearing a Veil

This tradition originated back in Rome. The veil was meant to hide the bride from evil spirits jealous of her happiness.

3. Seeing Each Other Before the Ceremony

Dating back to times of arranged marriages, the idea was if the couple saw each other, they might change their minds and not go through with the wedding.

4. Rain on Wedding Day

Contrary to popular belief, rain on the big day is actually a good omen. It symbolizes fertility and cleansing.

5. Knives as Wedding Gifts

Before you go buying that special chef’s knife for your soon-to-be-hitched friends, you should consider this old superstition. Knives and scissors used to symbolize cutting off a relationship. On the flipside, if you happen to find a knife in your pile of wedding gifts, simply give the gift giver at least a penny in return. This turns the gift into a purchase and negates the effect. Of course, if everyone involved doesn’t believe in old superstitions, there’s nothing wrong with a quality knife for the newlyweds’ kitchen.

6. Carrying the Bride over the Threshold

People used to think brides were susceptible to evil spirits through the soles of their feet, so it was the job of the husband to protect her as she entered the new house.

7. Spider on Your Wedding Dress

While most people think finding a spider on them is a nightmare come true, seeing a spider on your wedding dress is actually a sign of good luck!

8. Using your Married Name before the Wedding

This superstition was believed to tempt fate. People thought the wedding wouldn’t happen at all if the bride started using her new married name before she was officially married.

9. Crossing a Nun or Monk on the Way to the Wedding

People used to think that seeing a nun or a monk while in route to the wedding would curse the bride to a life of barrenness, dependent on charity.

10. Ringing Bells

The Irish thought ringing bells in the church would keep evil spirits away during a wedding. Brides would sometimes put them on their bouquets as extra protection.

11. Breaking Glass

The Italians break a vase or a glass, usually by slamming it on the floor. They believe the number of pieces it breaks into symbolizes how many years of happy marriage the couple will have.

12. Crying on your Wedding Day.

While it tends to be fairly common anyway, crying on the big day means the bride has shed all her tears about the marriage and won’t need to shed anymore later in the marriage.

13. Getting Married in May

Despite this being one of the most popular months to get married in, marrying in May is actually considered bad luck. “Marry in the month of May and you’ll surely rue the day.” Tell that to my parents who have been happily married for 32 years!

14. Don’t Drop the Rings

This superstition foretells of death. Whoever drops the rings will die before their spouse (though the lore doesn’t mention when they’ll die).

15. Throwing Shoes

It goes against our nature to let people throw things at us, but throwing shoes at the bride and groom used to be good luck. Most people nowadays just tie shoes to their cars.

16. Sugar Cubes

Coming from old Greek tradition, placing sugar cubes on the bride sweetens the marriage.

17. Rings on the Ring finger

It was once thought that a vein in the fourth finger of the left hand led to the heart. Wedding rings were therefore placed on that finger, as the symbol of love would have a direct route to the heart.

18. Tossing the garter

Throwing the garter used to be a sign of consummating the marriage. People would wait outside the door of the newlyweds until seeing the garter, sheets, or stockings. Tradition then became tossing the garter into the crowd for good luck. Now it is tossed into a crowd of single men, and whoever catches it will be the next to get married.

19. Sisters

If the younger of two sisters marries first, the oldest must dance barefoot at the wedding or risk never landing a husband.

20. On your left

Brides stand on the groom’s left in typical Christian weddings because in old days he needed his right hand to fend off unhappy suitors that may try to steal the bride.

What other wedding superstitions can you think of?

On Pins & Needles (& Ribbon & Glue): Advice for DIY Brides

Guest Post by Real Bride Blogger Sandee McGlaun

I have a confession. I’m over a year into planning our wedding, and I have yet to make my first pin on Pinterest. In fact, I’ve only visited the Grand Portal of Wedding Inspiration once.

It’s not because I’m not a DIY Bride—quite the opposite. I’ve been an artsy-crafty creative type since before the founders of pinning were out of their diapers. I grew up watching my mother draw, paint, sew, knit, and take photographs, and spent many happy childhood hours making things of my own. I remember trailing down the aisles of Hancock Fabrics, admiring the colors and textures, later snipping doll clothes from scraps as my mom stitched a new dress for me. Other hot Georgia afternoons, we lingered in the cool of the ceramics shop, dwarfed by tall shelves of dusty green-ware, trying to decide what to paint next.

Sandee breaks out the spray paint for the wire cupcake stand project.

Sandee breaks out the spray paint for the wire cupcake stand project.

As I got older, I dabbled in paper-making, polymer clay, simple jewelry. I enjoyed scrapbooking for a while and made lots of cards. I discovered the pottery wheel was not my friend. My favorite projects these days combine fabric, beads, and embroidery.

I knew from the moment Steve and I got engaged I would be hands-on with the design and décor of our wedding. Within days of saying “yes,” I’d chosen wedding colors and had a working list. I’d been hanging out in fabric stores and craft rooms for so long, my mental bulletin board of ideas—even without browsing Pinterest—was chock-full.

My mother and I have joined forces on tabletoppers, bench pillows, and paper flowers, and I’ve created a variety of cupcake stands from found objects as well as decorative columns to mark the aisle and ceremony spaces. My mom made our ring pillow, and I’m working on a clutch bag and a garter, painting some photo booth props, designing a caketopper, and mending my mother’s train so I can wear it.

I’m a lifetime DIYer working with a 16-month-long engagement, and time still feels short for our ambitious list. Based on my experience, I have a few pointers for other brides considering DIY projects.

First, inspiration can come from anywhere—and sometimes, less is more. Pinterest is almost overwhelming in its vastness. Instead, first flip through a few DIY wedding books at the library or bookstore—they’re more focused, and they’ll help you find your vision as well as minimize the intimidation factor. Limiting your sources also keeps you from being sucked in by trends that don’t suit you. Did all the brides of the last couple of years really dream their whole lives of wrapping their wedding days in burlap? I like how its rough earthiness balances tulle’s airy froth (like a leather jacket over a floral dress). But too much trendy means your wedding looks like everyone else’s.

My inspiration has come from surprising places. A duvet cover in Bed, Bath, and Beyond (perfect fabric design). A wire shoe rack at the consignment store (funky flower-like cupcake stand). I bought a few magazines and Elizabeth Demos’ book Vintage Wedding Style, which helped me refine ideas and source unique items like the antique maps we’ve incorporated into our invitations. Mostly I’ve tried to keep my eyes open for things that moved me, and let the venue itself inspire. Problem: four wide (boring) wooden benches. Solution: design and scatter colorful handmade pillows.

Some of the pillows we’ve made for venue benches.

Some of the pillows we’ve made for venue benches.

Second, consider three key elements when deciding how much DIY you want to incorporate into your wedding: your motivation, your own history as an artsy-craftsy person, and your timeline.

  1. What’s your motivation for wanting to DIY? To save money? You really love the handmade/rustic/upcycled look? You want to put a genuinely personal touch on your day?

Realistically, if your prime motivation for DIY—especially if you’re not a crafty type—is saving money, you might reconsider. You know how a “simple” one-hour home repair has a way of turning into two days + three trips to the hardware store? That’s not uncommon with DIY crafts, either. Figuring out how to do it right often means doing it not-so-right at least once (check out pinterestfail.com). Savvy crafters can accurately estimate the costs of buying 25 clear vases, glass spray-paint, and 10 yards of ribbon for wrapping and bows—and they probably already own tools like good fabric scissors and a hot glue gun. For a novice without a ready supply of quality tools—and the right tools are the key to polished projects—it might actually be cheaper to buy or rent finished vases.

It’s safe to assume most DIY projects will cost a little more than you think—especially trendy ones. People began decorating with Mason jars in part because they were inexpensive; now that they’re in demand, sellers charge a premium. Budget for mistakes: always buy enough materials (especially for complex projects) to do one or two practice runs, and save receipts so you can return any unopened supplies you don’t use.

If it’s a handmade look that matters most, consider whether it would be more cost effective (and time-saving) to purchase handmade items from a craft market or Etsy. If your primary goal is to put your personal stamp on the day, read on!

  1. What’s your history and skill level as a DIY crafter?

If you’re genuinely excited at the prospect of making your own decorations or favors, you should go for it. Obviously, the less experience you have (in general or in a specific craft), the steeper the learning curve. There is something for every skill level. You want projects to be fun, not frustrating, so the trick is to find your DIY match.

One of the aisle markers made from a plant stand.

One of the aisle markers made from a plant stand.

If you’re a newbie, consider simply refurbishing or dressing up a found object. I turned metal plant stands into aisle-marker columns with white spray paint and colorful ribbons (paint and ribbon are some of your best DIY friends). I’m making a purchased garter my own by adding lace from my mother’s wedding dress. You don’t have to start from scratch or make something completely original—adapt an object or an idea you saw somewhere and liked.

Don’t be afraid to enlist help from family or friends. Add snacks and beverages, and a group crafting session turns into a wedding-prep party.

  1. How much time do you have—and how much will you really need?

As with cost, so with time: most projects take more time than you expect. Be wary of advertised estimates, usually made by experienced crafters. Complete novice? Triple the given estimate. Crafty but never done craft X? Double it. Be sure to factor in supply shopping trips, or shipping time from online sources. If you finish early, bonus! Better to be done ahead of schedule than stressing out at the last minute.

Consider project complexity, the length of your engagement, and your other commitments when deciding how many projects are feasible. If you take on more than one or two, prioritize. If time runs short, you’ll have completed whatever matters most.

Finally, think about whether and where you can safely store whatever you make until your wedding day. Large or particularly fragile projects require extra planning and care.

2 cake stands made from found vintage objects

2 cake stands made from found vintage objects

Some wedding preparations, like catering, I think are best left to the experts—Ruth Reichl tells a funny and terrifying tale about her mother, who insisted on cooking despite not having adequate storage or refrigeration, and poisoned all the wedding guests. That’s not the DIY outcome anyone wants! But a big part of the fun for many brides is being hands-on with at least some of the preparations. If that’s you, find a DIY wedding project you love, and dig in.

Orchard Photo Shoot: Fun Favors, Dippable Dessert

Photo by Bella Muse Photography

Photo by Bella Muse Photography

For our photo shoot at Ikenberry Orchard, we kept it simple when it came to favors and dessert. Instead of the traditional cake, we opted for a delicious apple pie and slices of apples for dipping in yummy toppings. Favors that included s’mores ingredients complemented our earthy outdoor theme, because who doesn’t love making s’mores around a fire?

Here’s how to create these items for your own wedding!

Photo by Bella Muse Photography

Photo by Bella Muse Photography

For the s’mores favors:

  • Layer two graham crackers, one chocolate square and one or two large marshmallows in a small cellophane bag.
  • Use twine or ribbon to close the bag.
  • We also used a tag that read “S’more Love” or you can come up with a cute slogan that suits your wedding day.
Photo by Bella Muse Photography

Photo by Bella Muse Photography

For the apple slices:

  • You could create an apple dipping station for guests to enjoy.
  • Cut apples (red, green or both!) into slices.
  • Insert a popsicle stick into each slice.
  • Our toppings included caramel, sprinkles and nuts. You could also use melted chocolate, chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs or other favorite toppings. Hint: To help the caramel stick to the slices, use a paper towel to absorb some of the moisture from the apple.

Guests will have a blast creating their own miniature candy apples!

Photo by Bella Muse Photography

Photo by Bella Muse Photography