Saturday, December 6, 2014

Wedding traditions

One of our hopes was to incorporate marriage traditions from both our families and our English and Polish ancestry into our wedding. With stories from our parents and online research, we incorporated several legends and traditions throughout (and an explanation in our program so that guests could appreciate the story behind the activity).

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence in your shoe.” Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes happiness; something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity; and a sixpence in your shoe is a wish for fortune and  prosperity.

I wore an English silver sixpence in my shoe, a new charm representing our wedding on my wrist and a handkerchief from my mother-in-law's family pinned to my dress.


In England the youngest children in the family are responsible for presenting the bride with a silver horseshoe after she leaves the church. The horseshoe’s U-shape is believed to hold good luck for the new couple. Traditionally church bells are rung after a wedding to frighten away evil spirits.


At Polish Weddings, the parents of the newly weds, greet the couple with bread sprinkled with salt and a goblet of wine. With the bread, the parents are hoping that their children will never hunger or be in need. With the salt, they are reminding the couple that their life may be difficult at times, and they must learn to cope with life’s struggles. With the wine, they are hoping that the couple will never thirst, and wish that they have a life of good health, good cheer and good friends. The parents then kiss the couple as a sign of welcome, unity and love.


A traditional English Wedding cake is a fruitcake covered with marzipan and royal icing. The cake is made several months in advance and regularly “fed” brandy. The cake is sliced and sent home as a favor. It is believed that unmarried women who sleep with a slice of cake under their pillows will dream of their future groom. The top layer of the cake is sometimes called the “christening cake” and is set aside to celebrate the christening of the couple’s first child. 

My sister and mom baked and decorated the fruit cake.

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