Borrowed and Blue: The Surprising Secrets Behind our Wedding Traditions

Gold rings and blue garters, colourful confetti and pristine white cakes. We tend to take our popular wedding traditions for granted. But behind every ritual and superstition, lies a fascinating story…
‘Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’ This rhyming list might seem rather random on the surface, but each item symbolises something positive for the couple. ‘Old’ represents the past and staying connected to your family, while ‘new’ represents a hopeful new future. The ‘borrowed’ item was originally meant to be lent by a happily married woman, in the hope that her good luck would be passed on to the bride. Finally, the ‘blue’ represents purity, love and fidelity. Many may not know of the hidden verse in this rhyme, which used to contain a fifth item — ‘and a silver sixpence in her shoe’ — this is linked to prosperity and fortune. 

Gold wedding rings
It is an age-old tradition that the happy couple will exchange rings along with their vows on the big day but what is the deeper symbolic significance of the ring? Firstly, as rings are circular, they represent eternity and the hope that the love will last forever. Yet why does the ring have to be worn on the fourth finger of the left hand? It is said that in ancient times, people believed that this finger contained a special ‘vein of love’ that led straight to the heart (in actual fact, all fingers have this vein but let’s not spoil this romantic illusion). 

Throwing confetti
Tossing coloured paper over the newlywed couple as they leave the ceremony is now common practice which dates back to the Pagan traditions of throwing rice at newlyweds. Rice was seen a symbol of fertility and it wasn’t until the Victorian era that this changed to using paper instead. Confetti was named after a sugared almond that was thrown in Italy during special occasions. 

Father of the bride toast
This ritual dates back to old ancient times when warring tribes would create a truce by arranging a marriage between the children of their leaders. At the wedding feast, it was traditional for the bride’s father to take a sip from the shared pitcher as a way of proving to the rival tribe that it wasn’t poisoned. 

Tossing the bouquet
Built on the ancient practice of female wedding guests tearing off pieces of the bride’s dress for good luck. Thankfully, the tossing of the bouquet has gradually replaced this tradition. 

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