Traditions, Traditions, Traditions - What the Victorians did for us…
♥ THE WHITE WEDDING DRESS
The white wedding dress became a new trend after Queen Victoria (1840) wore an ivory satin wedding dress with a lace veil. Women before this time wore their best frocks embellished with ribbons and flowers. Post cards with Illustrations depicting images of blushing brides helped to spread the image and ideal of wearing a white wedding dress in the Victorian age, which then also became a symbol of purity.
♥ THE THREE-TIER WEDDING CAKE
The three-tier wedding cake is another example of what the Victorians did for us. The then-known ‘ornamental’ wedding cake with its compartments (tiers) is what all wedding cakes still aspire to be like today. The wedding cake was designed by the Italian artist ‘M. Conte’ for the marriage of the Princess Royal when she married Prince Frederick William of Prussia. The Victorian wedding cake base was made of entirely sugar. Cakes in the Victorian time would have measured approximately three feet in diameter and seven feet in height.
~ The superstition that the bride and groom should not see each other until they are at the altar also comes from the Victorian era.
~ A bride should never be completely dressed until the last moment when she is about to leave, then the final item can be added e.g. the shoes.
~ The following list traditionally explains which days are the best and worst days for weddings:
Monday for wealth
Tuesday for health
Wednesday for the best day of all
Thursday for crosses
Friday for losses
Saturday no luck at all
~ The most regarded good luck rhyme and superstition of all is a reminder of how blue has retained its ancient connections to today’s modern wedding. The rhyme dates to the Victorian times to bring good luck to the bride:
‘Something old, something new,
Something borrowed, and something blue;
And a silver sixpence in your shoe.’
• Something old: Something that is linked to one of the female relatives such as an heirloom; wedding dress, veil, jewellery
• Something new: This symbolises the future, so anything new that the bride chooses herself
• Something borrowed: Something borrowed from a female relative who is already happily married.
• Something blue: Represents love, innocence, fidelity and purity (biblical). The bride will usually wear a blue ribbon on her garter.
• Silver sixpence in her shoe: This part of the poem is often forgotten. The father of the bride places a sixpence in his daughter’s shoes for wealth and good fortune.
Did you know: Silver coins are also inserted into champagne or wine corks and given to the couple as a memento of the wedding day?
Did you know? Other countries which have coin wedding traditions include Sweden, Lithuania, Spain, Scotland and Poland?
Written by Yvonne Bennett
©Wedding Planners Guild UK Ltd
Charsley, S.R., (1992) Wedding Cakes and Cultural History, Routledge, London.
Classic Coin wedding traditions, (2015) available at http://theroyalmint.com (accessed 22nd March 2015)
Heaton, V., (?) Wedding Etiquette Properly Explained, Elliot Right Books, Surrey, UK
Monsarrat, A., (1973) And the Bride wore… The Story of the White Wedding, Gentry Books Ltd, London.
Queen Victoria and the white wedding dress, (2015) available at http://www.vam.ac.uk (accessed 22nd March 2015)
Royal Wedding Dresses and what they meant (2011) available at http://new.nationalgraphic.com (accessed 22nd March 2015)