Have you ever wondered why the girls walk to the left or the boys or what the significance of "something borrowed, something blue" means? Are you confused about whether to "ask for cash instead of gifts" or how to word your invitations? Well, here are some interesting facts and some answers to etiquette questions. Lets start with the wedding ring:
The wedding ring symbolizes the circle of the earth, the sun and the universe. It represents the wholeness and the continuity of the marriage vows. It is worn on the third finger of the left hand because the Greeks believed that there was a vein that led from that finger straight to the heart.
The white dress: In ancient times, a bride wore red or another bright color, such as emerald green or gold. Some say it was it was Napoleon's bride, that bucked tradition and wore a white dress, setting the stage for the modern bride. But, most credit Victoria, who wed Albert in a white dress. Until then, even black or brown were acceptable colors for a middle class bride to wear. Now, we are seeing color in wedding gowns again. So, if white isn't your cup of tea...
The bride on the left is one of my favorites and one I tell all my couples and their wedding parties at rehearsal. In the days when the men wore their swords, they may have occasion to need them to protect their ladies. Hence, the ladies needed to be to the left of the men in order for the sword, carried on the right, to be readily available if needed. This is also the reason for the bride's family sitting on the left. If the father of the bride needed to defend her or her mother, his sword was on the outside.
Some other fun facts of wedding lore include...
Something old, something new-- the old should come from a happily married woman so that the happiness is transferred to the new bride. The new is hope for the future of the couple, The borrowed signifies wealth and prosperity for the couple's future. And the blue is the symbol of heaven and true love.
The bridal bouquet used to be the "protection" from evil spirits. The bouquet was made with flowers and herbs
that warded off the the bad that could befall the couple by those enemies that lurked. Also, the reason for attendants, chosen friends to mimic the couple's clothes to confuse those enemies.
The sixpence in the heel of the left shoe, or a shiny dime, to bring good luck and prosperity to the couple.
Not that many do it anymore, but the garter and bouquet toss is a funny one. It seems that bride used to throw her garter at the men. But, they were usually very drunk and would go after ti themselves, leaving the groom to go to the aid of his new wife. So, the brides decided that throwing the bouquet was a better idea.
Another tradition that has waned is the receiving line. This tradition grew out of the idea that if the guests touched the couple, they too would have good luck.
The cutting and feeding each other of wedding cake is symbolic of the couple "feeding" the relationship. No doubt, the smashing of it in each other's faces came from another source.
Now, for some etiquette. There is so much to say here and many questions that I won't answer. But, feel free to contact me and I will answer your question. These are just some general rules of thumb.
Though times have changed and the cost of the wedding is a combined effort, these are the old guidelines of who pays for what.
Bride- the groom's ring and wedding gift
Groom- engagement ring and bride's wedding ring, ceremony fees and music, marriage license and the bride's bouquet and other bouquets and corsages
Bride's Parents- the invitations, the bride's gown, the reception, the entertainment, cake, bridesmaid dresses and the decoration at the reception
Groom's Parents- rehearsal dinner and sometimes the honeymoon.
The invitations, though traditionally are worded with the parents of the bride as the host, can be done in other ways. If the couple is hosting the wedding, then it should be worded " the bride" and "the groom" request the honor...
If the parents of the bride are divorced and are both contributing, then the bride's mother should be the host line and then the father, on a separate line. If the father is not a part of the wedding, then only the mother of the bride should be in the host line. If there are two sets of parents- the bride's parents are both remarried, then both sets of parents and stepparents should be on the host line, but each on their own line. And, if both families are hosting, then the bride's parents and then the groom;s parents should each have a host line. The "no children" issue is a sticky one. Here is one way to handle it: " Adult Reception" on the response card. Otherwise, word of mouth is the best way to handle this. The full name of the bride and groom should be used. there should be no abbreviations or initials. The return address should be that of the host.
One other place that I find confusion is the processional and the introductions. This is the proper way:
Processional for Ceremony
The groom and the groomsmen enter first
Grandparents of the bride
Grandparents of groom
Mother of groom
Mother of bride
Maid of Honor
Bride and escort
Introductions for Reception
Parents of bride
Parents of groom
Grandparents of bride
Grandparents of groom
Bridesmaids and groomsmen in the order they exited ceremony
Ring bearer and flower girl
Bride and Groom
I hope this was helpful. When you are planning a wedding, so many things cross your mind and you may not always know where to find the answer. I would be happy to help you in any way I can. You can do this right from here. Looking forward to hearing from all of you new brides to be.