Have a Las Vegas Wedding

Nestled in the Nevada Desert – only an hour flight from Los Angeles – is the most awe inspiring city – and it is called Las Vegas! What a place to have a wedding! Just arrive – you don’t need to bring a thing – all you need is $55, identification and a social security number to get a license. You don’t need to bring the rings, flowers, wedding dress or tuxedo – all can be provided with the minimum of fuss!

Or, you may choose to have a Las Vegas Wedding Package – Here’s what you need to know:

Las Vegas Wedding Chapels:

Caesars Palace: The Palace Chapel offers an unrivaled location, coupled with superior service and assistance in planning and orchestrating your wedding.

Riviera Wedding Chapel: an elegant Wedding Chapel with a genuine alternative to the typical “in-and-out” rush wedding.

Imperial Palace Wedding Chapel: offers a choice of two elegantly decorated chapels with beautiful chandeliers, furnishings and built-in video cameras.
Sahara Weddings: the Wedding Suites at the Sahara Hotel are an alternative to something more than a quick Chapel Wedding.

Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel: offers the largest selection of wedding packages including theme weddings, outdoor ceremonies and the internationally famous Elvis weddings.

Vegas Wedding Chapel: romantic Old-World Chapel, Italian Indoor Wedding Garden with Flowering Fountain.

Wee Kirk O the Heather Wedding Chapel: the Original Wedding Chapel.
Weddings Las Vegas: everything from traditional elegant weddings in a beautiful, romantic Las Vegas wedding chapel.

Victoria’s Wedding Chapel: the circular, three tier altar is the focal point of the elegant Victorian decor.

Wedding Bells Chapel: located right in the heart of the famous Las Vegas Strip.

Chapel of the Bells: the world famous Chapel of the Bells has been in continuous operation for over forty years.

Graceland Wedding Chapel: the Graceland Chapel has been a part of the Las Vegas Strip for over 50 years and is one of the most prominent chapels for a wedding in Las Vegas.

Little Chapel of the Flowers: a Las Vegas Wedding with the ultimate in traditional elegance, beauty and charm.

AND NOT TO FORGET: The Little White Wedding Chapel – known around the world as one of the most Famous places to be married.

Las Vegas Wedding Photography – things you need to know:

How many years of experience does your Las Vegas Wedding photographer have; how many weddings does your Las Vegas Wedding photographer do each year; are you the person who will photograph my wedding; do you have a professional studio; what type of equipment do you use; do you have liability insurance; can you take studio portraits: what is your payment policy; what is your cancellation policy: do you offer a money-back guarantee?

Where to find a Las Vegas Wedding Photographer:

ABS Studio; Raffisson Studio; Jeff Hawkins Photography, Inc; B1 Photography; Hyperexposure Photography; Archaic Smile Photography; Demetri Productions; Melissa Mermin; Purvisphoto;Pepper Nix Wedding Photojournalists; to name but a few.

Or.. perhaps you might decide on a Las Vegas Helicopter Wedding:

Las Vegas Strip Helicopter Wedding:

These Helicopters provide the utmost in executive transportation. The journey of a lifetime with luxurious new multi-million dollar state -of-the-art helicopters featuring
multi-camera video recording, surround sound stereo, climate controlled cabins.

Viva Las Vegas Valley of Fire Helicopter Wedding:

This begins with a flight over the famous Hoover Dam Lake Mead, and continues to the Valley of Fire where you will land on an exclusive plateau for your wedding ceremony. Enjoy a champagne toast, beverages, light hors d’oeuvres and many incredible photo opportunities. After your time at the Valley of Fire, you will conclude your adventure with an exciting flight over famous downtown, the Fremont Street Experience, and the mega resorts on the Las Vegas Strip as the lights turn on.

Or…something a wee bit different:

Viva Las Vegas Harley Wedding

The Harley wedding package includes, 24-hour rental of two Harley motorcycles, colonial bouquet and boutonniere, video, candlelight ceremony, souvenir-wedding scroll, wedding coordinator and chapel fee.

Or…

Viva Las Vegas Indoor Skydiving Wedding

Get married with an Indoor Gazebo package and arrive by limo to Flyaway Indoor Skydiving.

Or, perhaps you’d prefer just to have a Las Vegas Wedding Package where it’s all done for you! There are many who specialize in undertaking the complete package – including Wedding Chapels – locations and ceremonies available including outdoor weddings; wedding planners; invitations and decorations; bachelor/bachelorette parties; photographers and videos; catering; bakeries; florists; formal wear; and Las Vegas Wedding Receptions including such places as: El Caribe; Embassy Terrace; Hillpointe Celebrations; Victoria’s; Diamond Events and Catering; A Secet Garden; Las Vegas National Golf Club; Rainbow Gardens; or The Terrace.

Cheap Wedding Favors

Wedding favors are small gifts given as a gesture of appreciation or gratitude to guests from the bride and groom during a wedding ceremony or a wedding reception.

The tradition of distributing wedding favors is a very old one. It is believed that the first wedding favor, common amongst European aristocrats, was known as a bonbonniere. A bonbonniere is a small trinket box made of crystal, porcelain, and/or precious stones. The contents of these precious boxes were generally sugar cubes or delicate confections, which symbolize wealth and royalty. (In this era, sugar was an expensive commodity and was treasured only among the wealthy. It was believed that sugar contained medical benefits). As the price of sugar decreased throughout centuries, the tradition of providing gifts to guests reached the general populace and was embraced by couples of modest means.

As sugar became more affordable, bonbonnieres were replaced among the modest with almonds. For centuries, almonds were commonly distributed to wedding guests to signify well wishes on the bridegroom’s new life. In the thirteenth century, almonds coated with sugar, known as confetti, were introduced. Confetti soon transformed to Jordan almonds, which later evolved into the signature wedding favor for modern day weddings. Traditionally, five Jordan almonds are presented in a confection box or wrapped in elegant fabric to represent fertility, longevity, wealth, health and happiness. The bitterness of the almond and the sweetness of the coated candy exemplify the bitter sweetness of a marriage.

Today, gifts to guests are commonly known as wedding favors and are shared in cultures worldwide. Wedding favors have become an intricate and necessary part of wedding planning and have complemented ceremonies and receptions alike. Wedding favors are so diverse in style, elegance and theme that options for favors are only limited to the couple’s imagination. Today’s bride has the option to select a gift based on her wedding theme.

Many couples wish to share commemorating gifts that are personalized with the couples names and dates so the guests can remember the very special occasion. Some of these favors include personalized pens, wedding flowers, trinket boxes, goblets, candles, vases, and even personalized wedding cameras.

These gifts have made the bride’s ‘to do’ list and climbing the list as a very important item.

The importance and demand for wedding favors have created new business in the wedding industry. Wedding favors have surpassed the term ‘trend’ and have become commonplace among today’s weddings.

Traditional Favors

Jordan Almonds ~The slightly bittersweet taste of raw almonds is coated with the sugary goodness of the candy coating, bringing with it a hope that the new life of the bride & groom is more sweet then bitter. Other traditions say that almonds should always be received in odd numbers so that it can not easily be divide. Once again representing the new found life of the couple.

Dried Fruit Wedding Favors ~ Representing the bounty of a full harvent or life, Dried Fruit is a wonderful way to say thank you to your guests for taking time to be with you on your special day. Perfect for Outdoor weddings as well as appropriate for weddings in Spring & Summer. A simple Tulle & Ribbon bag in your bridal colours make a beautiful presentation.

picture frame wedding favors, ideal for a wedding favor.Picture Frames ~ Many couples give picture frames as gifts. These frames may be placed in a mixed favor bag, also used as placeholders/seat assignment placards, as part of a centerpiece, or individualized for each guest (usually containing a picture of the couple and the guest). These frames are generally no larger than 4×6, but some couples opt for larger frames- especially if they are also using them as centerpieces. For more information on incorporating favor frames as placards, see the seating assignments page.

Photo albums wedding favors ~ Small photo albums also make great gifts, especially for small weddings and family-centered weddings. Couples may wish to place one of their engagement pictures inside, or a small personalized note thanking the guest for attending.

Bells and other noisemakers wedding favors ~ It is a long-standing tradition to have guests receive wedding bells as favors. Traditionally, whenever a guest rang the bell the couple would have to kiss. Many couples like to put the tradition of the wedding bell ringing on little cards to go with the bells. In modern times, there are also other noisemakers that can be included as wedding favors such as flutes, horns, and clappers.

Candles Wedding Favors ~ Candles have been a popular gift to guests for many years. They may be of any size, shape, or scent. Many couples use votive candles and have them in decorative holders. There are also specialty candles such a wedding cake-shaped candles in a scrumptious buttercream frosting scent. Some couples will make their own candles to give to guests. Candles may also be places as part of a mixed favor. If there is a unity candle ceremony involved, the couple may give smaller replicas of the candles used as favors.

Cakery.Cookies, cakes, and pastries wedding favors ~ Edible items have always been a popular favor at weddings. Some couples opt to have individual cakes or cakes at each table in lieu of a traditional wedding cake. Cakes, cookies, and pastries can be used as table centerpieces and as favors. Many couples who opt to use these as favors generally have them in boxes. These items are very easily personalized and can make for tasty desserts (as well as late-night snacks for later!)

Homemade Jams, Jellies, or Preserves Wedding Favors ~ If you make your own jams, jellies, or preserves you may want to share you talent with your guests. These tasty favors often last a lot longer than candy or other edible favors. If you’re having a destination wedding, you may want to consider this favor as well. That way your guests can bring a taste of the destination home with them.

Candy Wedding Favors ~ One of the most popular and widely used favors is candy. Candy is very versatile and there is truly something for everyone. Many couples buy candy to match their wedding colors. Candy can be put into mixed favors, put inside placards, used as part of centerpieces and table decorations, and be made into other types of favors (e.g. tulle candy roses). Many types of candy can also be personalized with the couple’s names- either on the candy itself or on the wrappers. Chocolate cigars are popular favors representing the groom.

Contemporary Favors
An example card for charitable donation favors, from The I Do Foundation.Charitable Donations ~ If you and your guests are particularly socially-conscious, you may want to consider using your favor budget to make donations to charities in the names of your guests. A small certificate can be handed to each guest explaining the donation and thanking them for attending the wedding.

Bookmarks Wedding Favors ~ A quick DYI project for any computer savvy bride! Create a 7 column-landscape layout on your favorite word processing software. Add the the names of the bride & grooms, the location & date and a special poem or saying(usually what you used on your invitation). Save your document file to a disk or flash drive and take it down to your local stationary or copy store(i.e. Kinko’s or OfficeDepot) Pick out 8×11 card stock in the color of your choice and have your book marks printed. Most stores will have a paper cutter you can use to separate the book marks.

Bath & Body Products Wedding Favors ~ Some creative couples may wish to make their own bath & body products. These are especially nice for bridesmaid gifts. The couple may make their own and create a personalized scent, give pre-existing products, or give personalized products. These products are perfect for gift baskets.

Wild Flower Seed Packets Wedding Favors ~ Wild flower seeds are a great way to show your love of nature as well as give your guests something beautiful to look at for a long time to come.

Tea and Coffee Samplers Wedding Favors ~ If you and your partner are into tasty beverages, you may want to consider tea and/or coffee sampler packets. This is a great favor that can be enjoyed at the guest’s leisure and also help share some things you like with your guests. Hot cocoa, spiced cider, and other beverages also make good favors.

Liquid bubbles wedding favors ~ Many couples choose to use blown bubbles as a way for guests to send the couple off after the reception. These also make great favors for guests to take with them. Many companies offer bubble containers in fun shapes (hearts, champagne flutes, champagne bottles, wedding cakes, etc.) and many also are able to be personalized with the couple’s names and their wedding date.

Personalized items wedding favors ~ In addition to liquid bubbles, many other items are able to be personalized. Pens, glasses, and small personal items (keychains, money clips, clocks, etc.) can be personalized with the couple’s names and usually the event date as well. This gives guests a nice item that is a distinct reminder of the event.

Kitchen/bar accessories wedding favors ~ It is becoming more and more popular to have small kitchen and/or bar accessories as gifts. Bottle stoppers, corkscrews, measuring sets, drink shakers, coffee accessory kits, divets, and coasters are just a few examples of such gifts. Many couples opt to personalize these with their names as well. These gifts are especially popular among couples who have more mature guests.

Small plants Wedding Favors ~ Some couples decide to give their guests a living gift, such as small plants that are native to the area where the wedding takes place. This is an especially popular gift for destination weddings. The plants are often arranged as centerpieces on the tables, with small notes at each place setting inviting guests to take a plant with them.

Mixed Favors

Favor Bags ~ Favor bags are one of the most popular types of wedding favors. Generally favor bags include several types of favors. Favor “bags” do not even necessarily need to be bags- they can also be boxes, shadow boxes, cartons, or any other type of container. Couples usually opt to include favors that hold significance for the couple.

Out-of-town Guest Packages ~ Couples with large wedding budgets and/or destination weddings often prepare guest packages for their out-of-town guests. These favors are generally placed inside the hotel rooms of the guest, waiting for them when they arrive. The couple generally brings these and a list to the hotel the day of the guest’s arrival so the cleaning staff may place it in the room. These packages generally contain items unique to the wedding venue’s area, and often maps of the area.

Scottish Wedding Folklore & Traditions

Traditional Scottish Wedding

The origins of the traditional Scottish wedding:

Scotland always seems to do things in it’s own way and style – and a Scottish wedding is no exception to the rule. In the 21st century, the Scottish wedding is an intricate blend of ancient highland tradition mixed in with modern, streamlined rites. Present day Scottish wedding traditions have their origins as far back as the 13th century. Back then the medieval Celtic church would proclaim the ‘banns of marriage’ for three successive Sundays. This practice of announcing a forthcoming marriage lasted for 600 years – until in the latter years of the 20th century it became standard to ‘give notice of intent’ to a registry office several weeks before the intended event.

Medieval Scottish wedding traditions:

It was normal practice in olden times for an entire village to get involved in the preparations for the ‘big day’. People would line the streets to the church to cheer on the happy couple before they took their vows. In pre-reformation times, there is evidence that two Scottish wedding services would frequently take place. One in which the priest would address the party in Scots dialect and lead a ceremony outside the church. Whilst the more formal Latin mass and nuptial ceremony would take place inside.

The exchange of the rings has always been a main feature in Scottish wedding ceremonies from ancient times . A ring has no beginning and no end and as such symbolises the love within a marriage. The kissing of the bride follows on from this exchange of rings, and often leads to a cheer from the body of the kirk.

Following on from the formal church ceremony, a piper or group of pipers would frequently lead the entire group of guests down the streets, often to a relative’s house, for a non-stop night of celebration, feasting and enjoyment. Local musicians led by pipers would get the dancing started and tradition has it that the first dance, normally a reel, would involve the newly wed couple. Following on from their efforts, the rest of the guests would then dance all the way into the sma’ hours. In this respect, little has changed over 800 years – maybe apart from the dress code and the type of beer on tap.

When the wedding celebrations were over, the married couple would then leave to spend the night in their new home. The ancient tradition of carrying the bride over the doorstep was linked to the superstition that evil spirits inhabit the thresholds of doors. Hence the bride is lifted over the thresholds – and into the wedding bed. In medieval times, a priest would often bless the house and bless the wedding bed at this time. Then for the first time, as man and wife, the newly weds would have some quality time on their own.

Other wedding rituals such as the Highland custom of ‘creeling the bridegroom’, involved the groom carrying a large creel or basket filled with stones from one end of a village to the other. He continued with this arduous task until such times as his bride to be would come out of her house and kiss him. Only if she did, would his friends allow him to escape from the ‘creeling’ otherwise he had to continue until he had completed the circuit of the town.

Modern Scottish Wedding Traditions:

In more modern times, a lot of the superstition and rituals have been replaced by more showpiece proceedings. However, many of today’s traditions still hark back to the past.

The bagpipes can be used to add atmosphere and grandeur to a wedding. The piper, in full Highland dress, stands at the church door and plays as the guests arrive. Later he leads the couple from the church to the car. The piping traditions continue, the married couple are frequently piped to the top table of honour along with the bridal party. With the cutting of the cake, again a piper is often asked to perform and a dirk, ‘sharp highland dagger’, is traditionally handed over by the piper to start the ‘cutting of the cake’. As the bride slices the first piece of cake, custom dictates that her hand is guided by that of her new husband.

The bride’s ‘show of presents’ originates from the tradition of the ‘bridal shower’, where local female villagers would gift items that would help a young couple get started successfully in their own home. Nowadays, this often takes place in the home of the mother of the bride and the gifts have a touch more luxury than those in older times.

A bridegroom’s stag night, likewise has ancient roots. The young man accompanied by his friends takes to the town and downs a fountain of beverages. One tradition has it that in smaller towns the groom to be would be stripped of his clothes and left in the street outside his home – or worse still tied to a lamp post! The good news is that he wouldn’t realise what had happened till the next morning.

The wedding ring, until the late 20th century tended to be for the bride and not the groom. In later decades both bride and groom now wear rings for the most part. The traditional Scottish gold wedding band dates back to the 1500’s. This style of ring is still popular as a wedding ring today – as also are Celtic knot work designed engagement and wedding rings.

Traditions in Scotland Before the Wedding Ceremony:

Often before a Scottish bride is married, her mother holds an open house for a traditional “show of presents.” Invitations are sent to those who gave wedding gifts to the couple and the wedding gifts are unwrapped and set out for viewing. After the show of presents the bride-to-be is often dressed up and her friends escort her through her town, singing and banging pots and pans, heralding the bride’s wedding day. This tradition has evolved into the legendary ‘hen night’.

The groom, meanwhile, is taken out for a stag night on one of the evenings preceding the wedding. The Stag Night is meant to be a celebration of the last night of freedom, and a way of reassuring friends that being married doesn’t mean that they are shut out of your life. The groom, like the bride, is dressed up and taken around town by his friends and work mates. There is often a great deal of harmless practical joking, of which the poor groom is the main target. When the night winds down, the groom is sometimes stripped of his clothes and covered in soot, treacle and feathers and left overnight tied to a tree or post. In some rural areas an open lorry is hired and the groom is paraded through his local area with much noise and celebration.

Traditional Scottish Wedding Dress:

There is little doubt that traditional Scottish outfits add a touch of class and splendour to the wedding day and its associated ceremonies. The use of highland dress and the kilt, jacket, dirk and sporran in Scottish weddings has continued over the centuries. Whilst the bride’s white gown and veil has its roots in more modern times. A Scottish bride will usually wear a traditional white or cream wedding gown. The groom’s party and her father may come to the wedding resplendent in full Highland dress in the traditional clan tartan of their clans. She might wear a horseshoe on her arm for good luck, or a pageboy might deliver one to her as she arrives at the ceremony. Bridesmaids may wear whatever the bride has chosen to match her dress and it may include a little tartan accessory. Bouquets may include tartan ribbons or bows.

A gent’s highland wedding outfit in its entirety consists of the following:

Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket and waistcoat, kilt, tartan flashes to match kilt, white hose, gillie brogues, kilt pin, sgian dubh, black belt with buckle, formal sporran with chain strap, wing collar shirt, black or coloured bow tie, and a piece of lucky heather on the lapel. He also has the option of wearing a fly plaid, which is anchored under the paulette on the shoulder of the jacket and secured by a large plaid brooch, (Cairngorm).

For the bride ‘something old …. something new’ –

For the bride a universal custom is the ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ – of course the ‘something new’ can be the bride’s dress! The ‘something new’ at the wedding can become the ‘something old’ or ‘something borrowed’ at the next generation’ s weddings. The bride sometimes wears a blue garter (symbolizing love) which plays a part later at the wedding reception. It was also traditional in some areas for the bride to put a small silver coin in her shoe to bring her good luck.

Something old –

A gift from mother to daughter to start her off for married life, and symbolising the passing on a bit of mother’s wisdom.

Something new –

A gift symbolising the new start married life represents.

Something borrowed –

The idea here is that something is borrowed from a happily married couple in the hope that a little of their martial bliss will rub off on the newlyweds.

Something blue –

There are two likely sources for this. Roman women used to border their robes with blue as a sign of modesty, love, and fidelity. Also blue is the colour normally associated with Mary the mother of Jesus who is often used to symbolise steadfast love, purity, and sincerity.

After the wedding ceremony, it is traditional for flowers, petals, or pretty paper confetti to be thrown at the departing couple. In some rural areas the couple throw coins to the children who have gathered outside the church to watch. This is called a “scramble”. This is the reason children make a bee-line for local weddings. As the couple leave the ceremony the groom dips his hands into his pockets (or sporran), and throws all his loose change out on the ground for the children to scramble for.

Another tradition frequently seen during the evening wedding festivities involves the bride throwing her bridal bouquet, usually white roses, over her left shoulder. Her female non-attached bridesmaids and other single women in the bridal party stand in a line behind her. The girl who catches the thrown flower posy is by tradition going to be the next in the group to get married.

Traditional wedding reception festivities can easily last all night and the newly-wed couple lead off the dancing. Before the evening is finished the bride and groom leave as quietly and secretly as they can and go to a pre -arranged destination for their wedding night – often leaving for the honeymoon the next day.

More Scottish Wedding Ideas:

Give a Scottish brooch (called Luckenbooth) as a token of your love or as a betrothal gift. This is usually made of silver and is engraved with two hearts entwined. Some couples pin this on the blanket of their first-born for good luck.

Weddings and receptions are sometime held at a Scottish castle if there is a suitable one nearby. For something simpler and less expensive, the village hall, an outdoor venue or, for an even more traditional option, the ceremony can be in the house. If money is very tight, try arranging a “Penny Wedding,” in which guests are expected to bring their own food and drinks to the church to celebrate after the ceremony is over.

The difference between Scotland and the rest of the U.K. is that, in Scotland, it is the person who is licensed to conduct a marriage service and not the building that is licensed to hold a wedding.

Local Scottish Wedding Traditions:

Wedding customs have changed dramatically over the years. Some parts of weddings seem steeped in tradition whilst you will be glad to hear of some customs which have died out over the years!

In Aberdeenshire even now, the ‘blackening’ is a ritual performed with great relish. The engaged couple are captured one night by so-called ‘friends’ and covered with foul substances such as treacle, feathers, soot, etc. They are then paraded around the village and usually the pubs. It takes days to wash clean!

In the eighteenth century, the custom of hand-fasting was observed. A couple would live together for a year and a day, at which time they could decide whether to part or make a lifelong commitment. It was considered more important for the bride to be experienced and fertile than to be a virgin.

Tradition says sew a hair onto the hem of a wedding dress for luck, or let a drop of blood fall onto an inner seam. The bride must never try on a complicated dress in advance of her wedding day. To facilitate this tradition a small section of the hem is left unsewn by the dressmaker until the last moment.

Lastly, the bride, when she leaves home for the last time as a single girl, should step out of the house with her right foot for luck.

Penny Bridal or Silver Bridal:

These festivities, also known as Penny Weddings, were renowned for feasting, drinking, dancing and fighting and were enjoyed by all except the clergy – who disapproved of such raucous behaviour. Gifts were made to the newly-weds towards the cost of the wedding feast and the celebrations started on the eve of the wedding with singing, toasts and the ceremony of ‘feet washing’, which is described below.

Feet Washing

A tub of water was placed in the best room, in which the bride placed her feet, her female friends then gathered around to help wash them. A wedding ring from a happily married woman was previously placed in the tub and it was believed that whoever found the ring would be the next to get married.

The men folk were outside the door making jokes and attempting to watch through the doorway. The bridegroom was then seized by the women and made to sit at the tub. His legs were none too gently daubed with soot, ashes and cinders – quite a painful procedure as you might guess!

Wedding Procession

The following day, the bridal party made their way to the church with flower petals being thrown in front of the bride. If they encountered a funeral or a pig on the way, it was considered bad luck and they would return home and set out again. The first person they encountered was called the first- foot and would be given a coin and a drink of whisky by the bride. He would then have to accompany the bridal party for one mile before being allowed to continue on his way.

Adopted Scottish Wedding Traditions:

Tying shoes to a car bumper

This tradition represents the symbolism and power of shoes in ancient times. Egyptians would exchange sandals when they exchanged goods, so when the father of the bride gave his daughter to the groom, he would also give the bride’s sandals to show that she now belonged to the groom. In Anglo-Saxon times, the groom would tap the heel of the bride’s shoe to show his authority over her. In later times, people would throw shoes at the couple. Now folks just tie shoes to the couple’s car.

The taking of each other’s right hand

The open right hand is a symbol of strength, resource and purpose. The coming together of both right hands is a symbol that both the bride and the groom can depend on each other and the resources that each brings to the marriage.

Tying the knot

This wonderful expression originated from Roman times when the bride wore a girdle that was tied in knots which the groom had the fun of untying. As a side note, this phrase can also refer to the tying of the knot in hand-fasting ceremonies, which were often performed without the benefit of a clergyman.

Wearing of a veil

Originated with arranged marriages. In these, the groom’s family informed him that he was to marry, but they very rarely let him see the bride. After all, if the groom didn’t like the bride’s looks, he might not agree to the marriage. With this in mind, the father of the bride gave the bride away to the groom who then lifted the veil to see his wife of all eternity for the first time.

Wedding cake

Like most rituals handed down through the ages, a wedding wouldn’t be complete without fertility symbols, like the wedding cake. Ancient Romans would bake a cake made of wheat or barley and break it over the bride’s head as a symbol of her fertility. Over time, it became traditional to stack several cakes on top of one another. The bride and groom would then be charged to kiss over this tower without knocking it over. If they were successful, a lifetime of good fortune was certain for the new couple. Finally, during the reign of King Charles II of England, it became customary for such a cake to be iced with sugar.

Leap year proposals

The right of every woman to propose on 29th February each leap year, goes back many hundreds of years to when the leap year day had no recognition in English law (the day was ‘leapt over’ and ignored, hence the term ‘leap year’). It was considered, therefore, that as the day had no legal status, it was reasonable to assume that traditions also had no status. Consequently, women who were concerned about being ‘left on the shelf’ took advantage of this anomaly and proposed to the man they wished to marry.

It was also thought that since the leap year day corrected the discrepancy between the calendar year of 365 days and the time taken for the Earth to complete one orbit of the sun (365 days and 6 hours), it was an opportunity for women to correct a tradition that was one-sided and unjust.

For those wishing to take advantage of this ancient tradition, you will have to wait until February 29th 2008!

Throwing confetti

Throwing confetti over newly-weds originated from the ancient pagan rite of showering the happy couple with grain to wish upon them a ‘fruitful’ union. Pagans believed that the fertility of the seeds would be transferred to the couple on whom they fell. The throwing of rice has the same symbolic meaning.

The word confetti has the same root as the word confectionery in Italian and was used to describe ‘sweetmeats’ that is, grain and nuts coated in sugar that were thrown over newly-weds for the same pagan reason. In recent years, small pieces of coloured paper have replaced sweetmeats, grain and nuts as an inexpensive substitute, but the use of the word confetti has remained.

Carrying the bride over the threshold

Earlier we looked at the medieval Scottish tradition of carrying the bride over the threshold – to avoid contact with ‘evil spirits’. The Romans similarly believed that it was unlucky if the bride tripped on entering the house for the first time. So they arranged for several members of the bridal party to carry her over the threshold. Nowadays the groom is expected to do the job himself.

Grey Horses

All the best bridal carriages used to be pulled by grey horses and it is still considered good luck to see a grey horse on the way to the church.

Lucky horse shoe

Horseshoes have always been lucky. There is a nice story about the devil asking a blacksmith to shoe his single hoof. When the blacksmith recognised his customer he carried out the job as painfully as possible until the devil roared for mercy. He was released on condition that he would never enter a place where a horseshoe was displayed. A horse shoe carried by the bride is considered a symbol of fertility.

Wedding Bells

A peal of bells as the bridal couple leave the church is one of the oldest traditions. Before the days of widespread literacy and newspapers this was how the local people knew a wedding had taken place. The sound of bells was also said to drive away evil spirits.

Lucky Chimney Sweep

Brides still consider it fortunate if they pass a chimney-sweep on the way to the wedding as the old fashioned soot-covered sweep had magical associations with the family and hearth – the heart of the home.

Lastly, Don’t look in the mirror!

It is bad luck for the bride to look in the mirror wearing her complete outfit before her wedding day – old beliefs say that part of yourself goes into the reflection and therefore, the bride would not be giving all of herself to her new husband.

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