Roots of Common Wedding Superstitions and Traditions



There are a variety of different traditions and superstitions that are associated with weddings. They vary widely, but the common undertone is that they hold the assurance that the marriage will be filled with happiness and good luck.

Wedding Superstitions and Traditions

We will explore a number of these traditions below.

wedding tradition

Why do we refer to getting married as ‘Tying the Knot’?

The idea of ‘tying the knot’ is rooted in very old and very different traditions. Although the exact origin is not known, there are a number of cultures where the expression ‘tying the knot’ had significance.

The Ancient Romans knotted the bride’s underwear to present a challenge for the groom on the wedding night and, in Ancient Greece, the clothing of the bride and groom would be tied together to represent marriage. The expression ‘tying the knot’ is also associated with the knots that were required to support mattresses when the wedding bed was made.

In old English tradition, the bride and groom would have their hands tied together until they consummated the marriage. ‘Tying the knot’ can also be related to the customs of sailors and soldiers who were far from home: they used to send a rope to their partners as a marriage proposal and, if the rope was returned to them with a knot on it, it meant that they were now to be wed.

Thus, it can be said that the concept of ‘tying the knot’ is not only associated with one culture or origin, but rather with many.

Why does the bride wear white?

The tradition of the bride wearing white can be traced back to Queen Victoria in the 1800’s. Prior to that, brides’ gowns were not restricted to any particular colour. Wearing white became popular as it symbolised wealth. The gown was easily ruined and therefore indicated a certain level of extravagance.

Why give an engagement ring?

The Ancient Egyptians used to wear engagement rings to represent the continuous cycle of life. The space in the middle of the ring was to be a spiritual doorway. Rings were also used by the Ancient Romans and Greeks.

The Ancient Greeks believed that, on our ring fingers, there was a vein that led straight to the heart – this is why engagement rings are worn on the ring finger. The use of rings as a symbol of marriage started to become very popular in Europe only from about the 13th century.

Why does the bride wear a veil?

In Ancient Rome, it was believed that a veil kept evil spirits away from the bride. Much later, in 1800’s Britain, the veil became known as a symbol of a modest bride. Additionally, a veil can be used in many religions to symbolise modesty when one appears before God.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue.

Something ‘old’ is thought to symbolise the bride’s past, the ‘new’ item symbolises her future while something ‘borrowed’ is meant to bring fortune to the couple (it should come from someone in a happy marriage). The final item must be blue as this represents love and faithfulness in the marriage.

Why don’t the bride and groom see each other before the wedding?

It was once thought that seeing each other before the wedding could allow for the bride or groom to reconsider the marriage. This tradition is not always applied today.

wedding traditions

Why don’t brides use their married name before the wedding?

It is believed that this may lead to your wedding not happening and is considered bad luck.

Why wedding bells?

In Celtic Ireland and Scotland, ringing bells were thought to keep away evil spirits and fulfil wishes. Although such traditions are often not practiced today, ringing bells are still thought to symbolise new beginnings for the married couple.

Why is rain good luck?

Rain is thought to represent new beginnings and fertility.

Why carry the bride over the threshold?

In Europe, during the Dark Ages, it was thought that new brides may be attacked by evil spirits through their feet. If the bride was carried by the groom into the newlyweds’ new house, it was believed that this could be avoided.

Why throw rice?

In Europe, during pagan weddings, rice was thrown at the newlyweds to symbolise fertility and good fortune. Today, confetti or rose petals are often thrown.

What is the significance of cutting the cake?

In Britain, a fruit cake would be cut by the newlyweds. The fruit and nuts in the cake were symbolic of fertility. It was also considered to be good luck if the bride and groom kissed over the cake without knocking it down.

Why go on honeymoon?

In Norse tradition, the bride used to be ‘kidnapped’. Over time, it became tradition for the newlyweds to hideaway for 30 days. During this period, someone close to the couple would bring them honey wine every day. This is why it is called a ‘honeymoon’.

cutting the cake - wedding traditions

A little extra luck…

There are a considerable amount of traditions and customs that are involved in a wedding and these traditions come from all over the world. Whether you are superstitious or not, many of these traditions were practiced or are going to be practiced at your wedding, and a little extra luck never hurt anyone.

If you have other ideas regarding to wedding superstitious and traditions, please let us know.


Led by Managing Director Stacey Hannah, Bali Exclusive Wedding is recognized as Bali’s top wedding planning and consulting service. Stacey has spent many years in Bali looking after the finest Villa weddings that Bali has to offer. His experience and commitment make him a great person to seek out if you are looking to get married in Bali.

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