Wedding Traditions

Most of our wedding traditions and rituals that we follow today, date back to our ancient ancestors. Here’s a look at how some of these traditions originated and what they mean…

Ringing of the wedding bells after the ceremony. This was meant to scare away the evil spirits that could destroy the couple’s happiness.

Throwing rice (or birdseed) as the couple departs. The birdseed was thrown to promote fertility.

The white bridal gown. In ancient times, the traditional color of bridal gowns was red or other bright colors. The wife of Napoleon III, broke the tradition and wore a white gown. Then, brides began wearing white gowns (that were worn only once) as a symbol of their wealth.

Bride and Groom’s attendants. In ancient times, the attendants would wear clothing similar to the bride and groom so the evil spirits would be unable to recognize the couple and cast any evil spells.

The Bridal Bouquets. In ancient times, the first bridal bouquets were made of not only flowers but special herbs and spices. This was done to ward off the evil spirits. They also used particular herbs that symbolized fertility.

Garter Toss/Bouquet Toss. In the 14th century, it was customary for the bride to toss her garter to the men, but sometimes the men got too drunk, and would become impatient and try to take the garter off her ahead of time. (Eventually the groom got into the act and saved his bride from the unruly mob…we hope). All the same, it got to less trouble for her to toss her bridal bouquet instead.

The bride’s family is seated on the left side of the church and the groom’s family on the right. The bride walks down on the left arm of the father and the bride’s family and guests also sit on the left side. In medieval times, the men wore their swords on their right side and they needed that side free in case they needed to draw their swords and protect!

The Wedding Ring. The circle is the symbol of the sun, the earth and the universe, of wholeness and perfection, continuity, and love. It is worn on the third finger because of an ancient Greek belief that a vein from that finger goes directly to the heart.

The Receiving Line. In ancient times, it was believed that the bride and groom were blessed. Those who touched them would have good luck.

Bride and groom cut the cake and then feed each other. Feeding each other the cake symbolizes how the couple will “feed” and nourish the relationship for the rest of their lives. Now, this was meant as loving and caring symbol for each other. As for the “smearing” and pushing cake into each other’s faces? No one knows how that started… Hopefully, that’s a “tradition” that will die out!

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Something Old, Something New…

Well, you’ve heard it a thousand times… on her wedding day, a bride is suppose to wear “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in your shoe!” Many brides still follow this age old tradition, but what exactly does it mean? And why blue? Well, here’s the answer…

Something Old… The “old” must be something which has belonged to a happily married woman. The wearing of such an item insures a lucky transfer of happiness to the new bride and signifies a sense of continuity, tradition and represents the link to the bride’s old life and her family. Many brides would wear their mother’s wedding gown or family jewelry.

Something New… Signifies hope for the future. The bridal gown can be used here, if it is purchased new – or any other new item purchased as part of the bridal attire.

Something Borrowed… The “borrowed” must be some object of value/significance to guarantee wealth and prosperity in the future. Brides can borrow jewelry or a special handkerchief from a family member or close friend.

Something Blue… The “blue” is symbolic of the heavens and also of true love. It signifies fidelity, purity and love. This is why you see so many garters with blue ribbon or detailing!

A Silver sixpence in your shoe… The “sixpence” or “new dime” must be worn in the heel of the left shoe to insure wealth and prosperity.

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Anniversary Traditions

We recently heard of a couple that buys a wedding cake every year to celebrate their wedding anniversary. What a romantic (and very delicious) way to celebrate an anniversary! In a more traditional manner, you’ll find the following list helpful when anniversary gift giving comes along.
1st     Paper
2nd     Cotton
3rd     Leather
4th     Linen
5th     Wood
6th     Iron
7th     Wool
8th     Bronze
9th     Pottery
10th     Tin
11th     Steel
12th     Silk
13th     Lace
14th     Ivory
15th     Crystal
20th     China
25th     Silver
30th     Pearls
35th     Coral
40th     Rubies
45th     Sapphires
50th     Gold
55th     Emeralds
60th     Diamonds

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How to Stay Relaxed The Hours Before Your Wedding

Whether a couple has lived together many years, or still live at home with their parents, all brides get some jitters just before the wedding. Here are some suggestions to make this time pass quickly and peacefully. It is a time to be selfish and not worry about anyone else.

You want to create a cocoon of warmth, love and relaxation for yourself while knowing that your life is about to change.
Here are Some Tips

1. If you can afford it, find a beautician who will do your hair, make-up and help get you dressed. (Basically all you have to do is show up and be pampered.)
2. Have a close friend, mother or a limo take you directly from the beauty shop or home to the wedding location.
3. If you are getting dressed at home, put some relaxing music on the stereo. Take a bubble bath and leave yourself plenty of time to get dressed in a relaxed manner.
4. Make a list of everything you need ahead of time and tape it to the bathroom mirror. Then don’t forget to look at it.
5. While you are getting ready only allow people you are very comfortable with in your space. This is your day and Aunt Doris can wait to pinch your cheeks until after the ceremony.
6. If you are having a destination wedding, go to the location at least the night before. Rushing to the wedding site the day of the wedding only opens the door for tension and problems.
7. Forget about the wedding and reception for those few hours and pamper and focus on yourself.
8. If someone is making you tense, ask them nicely to leave. You can be assertive without being aggressive.
9. If there are last minute details assign them to someone else. Everyone wants to help a bride.
10. Put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.

This is your day! Allow 3-4 hours for yourself and stick to it.

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This quiz will help you to determine your level of pre-nuptial stress. It is not “diagnostic”, but is designed to create awareness. Give each question a number between 0 and 5, 0 for not applicable, 1 rarely, 3 sometimes, 5 always, etc. Print this out and fill in the numbers next to the appropriate questions. Take the test with your partner and talk about the results!
1 ___ I have a lot on my mind
2 ___ I have difficulty making decisions
3 ___ The arrangements are not clear
4 ___ I would like more control over the plans
5 ___ Too many people to satisfy
6 ___ I don’t have enough leisure
7 ___ There is a great deal of time pressure
8 ___ Family divorce creates problems
9 ___ Members of my family live in different cities making communication and arrangements complex
10 ___ Intermarriage creates tension
11 ___ I have difficulty focusing on my tasks
12 ___ I have difficulty communicating with florist, caterer, etc.
13 ___ I handle most things alone – I get little support
14 ___ I have difficulty delegating
15 ___ I worry about the cost of it all
16 ___ My personal needs are in conflict with my family’s demands
17 ___ Wedding plans are interfering with my work
18 ___ I have concerns about the health of my family
19 ___ My expectations are too high
20 ___ My life is one crisis after another
21 ___ I keep my feelings to myself and rarely express emotions such as fear and anger
22 ___ I am often quite fatigued
23 ___ People do things often irritate me
24 ___ I have frequent headaches (twice a week rates a 5)
25 ___ I have muscle tension in my shoulders, neck or back
26 ___ I have stomach pains, indigestion or other digestive problems
27 ___ I am eating too much or too little
28 ___ I have trouble sleeping
29 ___ I feel anxiety
30 ___ I have difficulty coping with the change in my life

<< 30 Congratulations – you’ll breeze through 31-60 About average – some stress 61-80 Think seriously about making changes in arrangements and attitude >> 81 Act now to reduce stress!

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Coping With Wedding Jitters

Do you sometimes think…

* What am I getting myself into?
* Who is this person that I’m marrying?
* Why are we always fighting now? We never did before… what’s wrong?

With the added stress of planning a wedding, most every bride (and groom) can experience these feelings of extreme anxiety.

Marriage is a leap of faith. No matter how well you know each other, life does change after you’re married – most often for the better. However, many people have cold feet during wedding planning. This can be normal or a sign of a problem.

Suggestion – sit down in a quiet place – do some deep breathing – get in touch with your feelings and what your heart wants and needs.

* Since the engagement have you changed? Has your partner changed?
* Have you discovered something new about him/her that you didn’t know before – drinking or drug problems?
* Is he/she not being considerate of your feelings?
* Have you noticed a very different attitude about the wedding budget that could carry over to the marriage?

These are very real issues that need to be dealt with and soon. Talk with your fiancé about your feelings. And, if you still have questions about your feelings, talk to a counselor.

Many couples will experience “wedding jitters” but it is usually a case of feeling overwhelmed with all the planning and everyone’s opinions. Don’t feel bad or guilty about these feelings – they are perfectly normal and usually pass in a day or two.

Go out for a romantic evening – and do not talk about the wedding plans.

Special thanks to Myrna Ruskin, Stress Management Counselor.

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Breaking the Engagement

Unfortunately, not all engagements end in a wedding. What do you do when you are planning a wedding and one or both of you decides you are not ready for marriage? While this experience can often be hard to talk about, there are some things you are obligated to do. Here are some etiquette rules on what happens after the two of you decide to cancel the wedding.


* If you have sent out an engagement announcement in the newspaper, it would be appropriate to send out a short note indicating your names and the fact that the wedding is canceled. No reasons need to be stated.
* If invitations have already been sent out, another written note should be sent that lets your guests know that the engagement has been broken. Again, do not include personal details and keep it short.
* If wedding invitations have not been sent out, you may notify people via word of mouth.


* All engagement gifts need to be returned.
* Giving back the ring is a debated issue. Some say that unless it has been in the bride’s family for generations, it should always go back to the man. Others say that if the man breaks it off, the woman can keep it, but if she breaks it off then she has to give it back.

As much as it hurts, it was probably for the best. It is much easier to get out of an engagement then it is to get out of a marriage. Keep your chin up, don’t answer any questions you don’t want to and treat yourself to a little self-indulgence

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Coping With Divorced Parents

How do you deal with divorced parents? While this can be a heartache for many brides, there are ways to have a beautiful wedding without starting a war. Below are a few ideas that will ease tension and are socially acceptable.

Creating a Budget

* Consider opening up a checking account for the sole purpose of wedding expenses. If both of your divorced parents are contributing to the wedding, discuss with them (together or separately, depending on the situation) and find out how much they can contribute. Ask both parents to write you a check for a lump sum and put it in your account. Take out the money as needed. That way you do not have to run after the money every time you make a wedding decision.
* Another option is to write out a detailed list of all the expenses you plan to encounter. Go down the list, and assign each expense to a parent. Make a copy for each parent so they know what exactly you are expecting them to pay for.


* If your parents aren’t on speaking terms, or if one of them has a girlfriend or spouse that your other parent is uncomfortable around, be sensitive and seat them apart. Etiquette holds that in the ceremony, your mother and stepfather sit in the first row and your father and stepmother are seated in the second row.
* If everyone gets along — they can be seated together at the ceremony.
* For the reception, it’s usually best to seat them at different tables.

Invitation Wording

* Your mother’s name goes first, followed by your father’s name. Do not connect the names with an “AND”.
* If your father hasn’t been in your life since you were a baby, it is acceptable to put just your mother’s name or the names of your mother and stepfather on the invitations.

Every family is unique, and there may be a host of other issues you are worrying about. Just remember that communication is a key. Keep both of your parents informed as to what you are thinking about and ask for input from both of them. Don’t compare one parent to another as this will only increase the tension for your big day.

If you are in a very complicated situation, you might want to consider asking your Officiant, wedding coordinator or counselor for advice.

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Coping With Overwhelm

Anyone who is planning a wedding, at some point gets that terrible feeling of being totally overwhelmed – too many things to do – not enough time to do them – not enough money to pay for everything – family relationships causing even more stress – the boss wants you to work extra hours – HELP!!! Here are some great tips to help you cope:
Stay Organized

By staying organized, it will give you the feeling of security that you are not forgetting something!

* Keep a “To Do” list. Keep this list (and a pen) with you ALWAYS – so when you think of something that you should do, a decorating idea or a question to ask a vendor – put it on your list IMMEDIATELY. Don’t wait! If you do, you might forget and then you’ll torture yourself with that nagging feeling… “I know I’m forgetting something…”
* Use a “12 Month Countdown Calendar” to keep you on track and help make sure that you don’t forget anything. Also, keep a CALENDAR with all of your appointments with vendors and deadlines of deposits or payments.
* Whether it is a three ring binder, folders or a computer program, find a system of organization that works for you and STICK WITH IT!
* Keep all of your wedding information together! If you need to, grab a big box and force yourself to keep everything in the box (contracts, samples, brochures, information, menus, etc)

Take Care of Yourself

* Take the time to exercise often (3 or more times per week) It will make you feel better, look better, increase your energy level and you’ll be able to handle stress better.
* Do something nice for yourself… Make an appointment for a manicure, facial or massage.
* Take a break from wedding planning. You may think that you don’t have time to – but do it anyway. Take a “night off” with your fiancé and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to start again the next day!

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

* Planning a wedding can be a full time job in itself. So, don’t try and take on such an enormous project alone – DELEGATE as much as you can! When it comes to weddings – everyone loves to help (so let them!).
* Have a list of tasks ready to delegate when people ask!

Set Reasonable Expectations

* Expect a “terrific” day and set REASONABLE expectations. Never forget the main goal is to get married. Planning the “perfect wedding” and setting expectations that are too high, will just lead to more frustration and stress.
* DON’T get crazy over every detail. It can really take the pleasure out of the wedding planning process. I mean, will it really matter that the ribbons for the favors are baby blue instead of ice blue?


* When the pressure of wedding planning gets “overwhelming” and you feel like you’ll never please everyone… take a moment to remember why you’re getting married in the first place. You and your fiancé want to spend the rest of your lives together, and you want the special people in your life to witness and celebrate this special union.
* No matter how stressful things get with wedding planning and family issues, BELIEVE in yourself and BELIEVE that you will get through it… and you will!

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8 Ways To Reduce Pre-Wedding Stress

As their wedding day approaches, many brides start feeling anxious and nervous. They start to think that they will never get rid of the knots in their stomachs and that they will end up fainting in front of all their guests. To help rid yourself of these stresses and to help fight that nauseating feeling as you walk down the aisle, here are some tips:

1.Start walking! That’s right. Take a brisk walk around the block, up the street, wherever. The more energy you use, the more stress you rid yourself of (and it helps to tone your legs and build your cardiovascular system so that you can dance all night long at your reception!)

2.Take a few moments each day, preferably at night before going to sleep, and do breathing exercises. Yes, the same ones moms do when they are in delivery. Why? Because breathing deeply, in a rhythmic fashion, exhaling slowly, helps to relax your mind, body and nervous system and it slows down the adrenaline flow. Take these minutes to think only of relaxing and how good you will feel tomorrow. Many experts say to “go to a happy place” in your mind.

3.Start drinking more water instead of caffeine and sugar loaded liquids. Reduce salt intake. Caffeine, sugar and salt, cause chemical reactions to your nervous system by making you jumpy, nervous and high-strung. Salt or sodium, also helps your body retain water, causing that bloating, puffed up feeling.

4.Laughing and singing are great ways to reduce the stress.

5.Another stress reducer is to stretch your muscles out. Do leg and arm stretches to help tone and to remove built up tensions in your muscles. Head and neck rolls can do wonders while sitting all day in an office!

6.Dim the lights in the bathroom and take a nice, hot bath. Use candles if you prefer.

7.One glass of wine can help you to relax, but don’t over do it.

8.If you prefer, that old home remedy of warm milk will do it every time!

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