What customs and traditions of marriage ceremony existed in England?
It turns out that in England long before the twentieth century already existed so-called marriage agencies. Since the sixteenth century the number of unmarried girls and boys in England has increased significantly; enterprising marriage matchmakers made up lists of people wanting to get married and published them in special directories, and they also arranged dances, parties, where single people could find a mate. But there were unwritten rules when concluding the marriage between English Protestants and Catholics. Such mixed marriages were very rare, but when such marriages were conducted, the relatives and friends interrupted relationships with spouses with every possible way and despised them.
Since the fourteenth century St. Valentine’s Day, the saint patron of all who are in love, began to be celebrated in England. It was believed if the girl in this day meets a guy she certainly would marry him. On the eve of Valentine’s Day boys put near the door outside the stairs of their loved ones all sorts of stuff postcards, called “Valentine cards”. Incidentally, greeting card appeared to life in England, on the day of Saint Valentine. The first postcard has been sent by Charles, Duke of Orleans. In the same century appeared the tradition on St. Valentine’s Day to write on small pieces of paper the names of loved ones and throw them into the river. Emerged paper with the name of beloved person meant real appointment with boy underwritten name.
It has become popular to give your beloved candy hearts in the form of kits, soft toys with hearts in various places and popular in Britain Teddy bears in various poses, kissing, hugging each other or saying the words of love. Loving couples affected by mischievous Cupid arrow, carefully approached the selection of the month and the day of the wedding, as the marriage during Lent was the sign of Union rupture and the happiest day to conduct marriage, no surprise, was regarded as Wednesday. Read also: Why British women are dating and marrying foreigners?
When preparing the wedding people in England followed established traditions, many of which exist till this day, by the way. The bride chose herself the style and color of the dresses for bridesmaids and her mother paid the cost of the clothes. One of the six bridesmaids was considered major one and she was instructed to decorate the entrance with white flowers during the wedding day. Bride could not do this because it was thought that in this case her family life may be unsuccessful. As bridesmaid of the groom usually was his brother, cousin or close friend of the groom, among his responsibilities were many, including paying the fee to priest, to help in organizing the wedding and, the most important, he handed the wedding rings to the groom in the church.
Towards wedding convoy were thrown around flowers, symbolizing happy family life. Members of this crew could be only the bride with the groom, bridesmaids, parents, sisters, brothers, and relatives. To the church they went with songs accompanied by musicians. It was considered a good sign when it was the rain at the ceremony, it meant the union of marrying couple was eternal; but a bad sign was if during the wedding ceremony clock began chiming; then usually bride and the groom were waiting along with guests at the entrance to the church until the clock stops to strike.
In order the couple lived happily in family life, in front of the procession was a little girl in a beautiful long dress, scattering flowers; the carpet of flowers that lead to the church symbolized married life of the bride, and flowers on it symbolized happiness and prosperity.
Before entering the church, there was mounted bench, through which the bride and groom had to jump over. This bench was considered overcoming obstacles and difficulties in family life. When jumping, bride was suddenly losing garter from her leg, and then young men grabbed it and with noise and shouting were running around the church. In some areas during wedding the church gate is decorated with beer mugs, all kinds of spoons, clocks; that symbolized huge number of kids for couple.
Another tradition that survived until today was throwing the old shoe from the motorcade. Bridesmaids rushed to it, as if it was bouquet of flowers as it was considered the first bridesmaid who seizes it will get married first. Firstly, after the ceremony, guests were thrown shoes into the newlyweds, wishing them luck and happiness; later the ceremony turned into a tying shoes and all utensils ringing to the rear bumper of the car.
The main role at the wedding was assigned to wedding cake. Bride personally cut the cake and regaled her guests. English cake of the bride was made with the addition of candied fruits, nuts, raisins, almonds and marzipan, top was covered with white icing. And also there was so called groom’s cake, but unlike bride cake it was dark, usually made of chocolate.
Wedding feast could last a few days; after the feast the bride and the groom went to a new, separate from their parent’s house. There was a strict sign: if bride gets stuck on the threshold of the house, it led to difficulties in family life. So the groom went to tricks: he took up the bride and brought her to the house above the threshold. These are the interesting customs and traditions that existed and still exist in conservative England.