The path to the wedding was fraught with dangers. Superstition had it that seeing pigs, lizards or funerals was a sign of bad luck. It was also unlucky for the bride to catch sight of herself in a mirror once her journey to the wedding had begun, although it was lucky if she looked in a mirror before she set off. Rain was also regarded as a bad omen and an ancient saying states, ‘Happy is the bride the sun shines on, Blessed is the corpse the rain falls on.’ Country brides feared the sound of a cock crowing after dawn on their wedding morning.

Fortunately for the bride, there were other lucky signs – meeting a chimney sweep, for instance, which possibly relates to the idea that soot and ashes are symbols of fertility, as well as seeing black cats, doves, lambs, spiders, toads, clergymen, doctors and blind men.

There are just as many superstitions associated with the journey from the wedding. The custom of throwing confetti over the newly married bride and groom began in pagan times when grain,
especially corn, was thrown for fertility. The word ‘confetti’ comes from the Italian for sweets and in Italy the couple are showered with sweets as they leave the church.

In some places it was the custom for the bride and groom to negotiate an obstacle. Guests would hold out sticks or flower ropes which the couple had to jump over. Sometimes a stone or wooden bench was placed across the church door during the wedding. In Northumberland this was called a ‘petting’ stone and two young men would lift the bride across. The groom would then follow and give each of the young men a coin. The convention was for the bride to hesitate and show some reluctance. This was all part of the fun, and also meant that the new bride showed the correct level of modesty and was not too eager to leap into her new life. If she was overly reluctant it was said she had ‘taken a pet’ and this expression is still used in the north of England to describe a bad mood.



In Anglo-Saxon times, marriage was sometimes little more than a kidnap, with a man carrying off his chosen bride, whether she was willing or not. In the Middle Ages, girls were seen as their father’s
property and prospective husbands had to prove themselves by offering gifts or working for the girl’s hand in marriage. An extreme example of this can be seen in the betrothal of Mary Queen of Scots
to Francis the Dauphin of France. Their marriage was agreed by the Scottish Parliament in 1548 on condition that the King of France defend Scotland as if it were his own kingdom while still respecting
Scotland’s independence. At the time Mary was six years old and the young Dauphin only four.
The tradition of brides standing on the left during the marriage vows also dates from more violent days gone by. This meant the bridegroom could hold his new wife with his left hand, leaving his
sword hand free to fight any rivals.

The practice of the bride’s parents paying for the wedding dates from around three centuries ago, when wealthy families would pay an eligible suitor a dowry. This was also seen as an insurance against divorce, as the man could keep the dowry, whether property or money, only if the couple remained married.


Couples have been getting married for thousands of years, and many traditions associated with the ceremony began as ancient rituals to bless the marriage with fortune and children and to guard against evil. In the Middle Ages, marriage was regarded as so sacred and life-affirming that weddings were sometimes held in graveyards because it was believed that the ceremony could guard even against plagues.

Nowadays there tend to be far more practical, imaginative or simply romantic reasons for choosing a certain time, place or style of ceremony. The inevitable pressures of modern-day living and the expectations of family and friends also play their part in influencing the way the happy couple plan their wedding.

Taking a look at ancient traditions and superstitions, however, helps to explain some of today’s accepted practices, and when it comes to thinking of what style your wedding might take,
looking to the past might even provide some inspiration to let your imagination run free.


The choice of date for a wedding was very important. In ancient Rome May was thought unlucky because this was the month for remembering the dead and for the festival of the goddess of
chastity, while June was said to guarantee happiness because the month was named after Juno, the goddess of love and marriage.


1.     MONEY

Money is a tough topic in any setting, but in an engagement, things can heat up pretty quickly. While he may want to go all-out on the DJ or the open bar, you may want to bend the budget for the dress and flowers. Or, it could be that one person feels their family is contributing more than the other, so their opinion should trump any opposition.
Whatever the sticky situation may be, the important thing to keep in mind is that you are a team. Make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to how you want to spend “your” money as a couple. This means you’ll have to talk about it in a respectful, humble, loving way — as adults.
While you’re at it, get all your financial skeletons out of the closet. Are you a big spender or a diligent saver? Do you have any debts, whether for credit cards, school loans, etc.? Do you want a joint bank account after you’re married? The more you straighten out now, the better.


Maybe your future mother-in-law has 16 third cousins that just have to be invited to the wedding, or maybe you and your fiancé disagree on the size of the wedding in general. The best way to approach this issue is to step into the wedding planning prepared. Have an open conversation with your fiancé where each of you share your dreams of what you want the wedding to be like. It will be much easier to move forward if both of you are on the same page, with the same expectations.
Draw up a guest list together and then send it to each set of parents, allowing them a certain number of people they can add to the list. This number and procedure will be up to your judgment though. No one’s families are exactly the same size. If one of you has a significantly larger family than the other, take that into consideration. Understand that in that situation, the numbers each of you invite are bound to be greatly different to begin with. Be considerate of each other’s feelings (and that of the parents and in-laws), and keep in mind that the wedding is for both of you.

3.     THE EX

If one of you still maintains a friendly relationship with an ex and wants to invite them to the wedding, there’s no doubt that it will cause a rift. [Cue the bouts of insecurity and jealousy now.] While this particular guest suggestion may not be your cup of tea, it’s important to hear each other out. What used to be a fling may truly be just a friendship now. Take time to talk together and evaluate what the relationship with the ex really means to each of you. The key is to remember that at the end of it all, your fiancé chose you to do life with them!


This topic can make even the sweetest brides-to-be deploy the big guns. While you may swear up and down that you have complete trust in your fiancé, when it comes time to plan the bachelor party, chances are you’re a worried hot mess.  The truth is, a lot of guys nowadays are choosing more outside-of-the-box type bachelor parties. That may mean camping, laser tag or even tickets to the big game with their favorite guys.
If you’re not sure what the best man has in store for your fiancé, rather than approach him with a list of do’s and don’ts, just make sure you and your fiancé are in agreement. If the two of you have similar moral values and character, rest assured that you can trust your guy’s judgment.
It’s also important to clearly communicate your concerns before the bachelor party planning begins. While you two are on the topic, go ahead and discuss both the bachelor party and the bachelorette party. It’s healthier to come to an agreement about each of them as a team, because you’ll be setting limits within your relationship and not on each other.


As a bride-to-be, it’s easy to absorb yourself in the bliss and busy-ness of wedding planning. Being excited and indulging in everything wedding-related is perfectly fine, up to a point. Just be careful not to become focused solely on the wedding, or you’ll run the risk of becoming Bridezilla. You may also find that the more you concentrate on wedding things, the more frustrated your fiancé will get.
Everyone has emotional needs, and this includes your fiancé. Chances are that he misses getting to spend time with you (and more importantly, without your wedding agenda). To diffuse this explosive topic, be proactive by setting aside time for just the two of you. Leave the wedding planning alone for a bit, and focus on the one you love.

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