Signs you’re having a modern wedding
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe.
You’ve probably heard at least part of this old rhyme. That’s because marriage traditions and superstitions from all around the world tend to stick. But despite the ongoing clichés, these traditions are fading away as time pushes forward. New traditions are forming and old traditions are being gleefully ignored.
So what kind of ceremony do you have in store for your big day? Are you a traditionalist or is your wedding showing signs of modernism?
Possibly one of the oldest traditions out there is the need for a ‘best man‘. This supposedly stems from ancient history when one clan was short on women and a ‘groom’ would require his ‘best man’ to help him kidnap a suitable bride from a rival clan.
It’s safe to say that the majority of bride-napping weddings are in the past, and the tradition of the best man has evolved into something more socially acceptable. The evolved tradition of a groom and his best man is still common in most weddings. Although there are exceptions.
People are beginning to bend the rules. Some grooms are choosing their closest lady friends to fill the best man’s shoes. If you think about it, it makes sense. Women are stereotypically more organised than men. This liberal approach to picking people for your wedding extends to the bride’s maid, where sometimes the bride chooses a man.
This is a relatively unusual alternative. But if you’re planning on mixing up the genders for your wedding party that’s a sure sign you’re having yourself an ultra-modern, liberal wedding.
Getting married abroad? In a theme park? At the top of the London Eye? Once upon a time, there were only few legitimate locations for marriage as a British couple, a church or cathedral being prime among them. Nowadays your options are totally open. And with a little extra effort you can have your ceremony practically anywhere. (Though you may have to sign the papers somewhere else.)
Marriages have predominantly been held in churches and cathedrals due to their strong religious links, but over time traditional venues have come to consist of country houses, hotels, banquet halls, pubs, barns and even boats. As people seem to move away from religion and liberalise their spirituality the variety of locations available for a couple increases tremendously.
When it comes to venue, your choice is the limit of your imagination. Did you meet your bride-to-be at a pub? Perhaps you’d like to return there for your special day. Are you both theatrical fanatics? How about an on-stage wedding? As this tradition continues to fade your choices are more open to interpretation.
Traditionally, the parents of the bride are expected to pay for the ceremony. Nowadays, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Now, the matter of who foots the bill is a little bit of a marriage minefield.
This tradition stems from days where the man was in charge and the parents of the bride would pay for the ceremony and a dowry as a way of helping him to look after their daughter. Since we’ve become a more equal society, things have changed slightly. Women got jobs and became far more self-sufficient. And this lead to the balance of the traditionally male-lead household to tilt wildly to cope with the idea that both bride and groom were breadwinners.
The system could be quite problematic too. If a man from a well-off family married a woman from a poorer family, expecting the poorer family to cover all the costs for the wedding seemed a little harsh. Nowadays, it’s more usual that the cost is split among both families and the bride and the groom.
The ‘something blue’ can often take shape in the form of a garter. But most people don’t know where the garter tradition stems from. Way back when, the guests had to know the happy couple had consummated their wedding. Once they had, the groom would fling the garter into the crowd and they would celebrate their joy wildly. I think it’s probably for the best that we’ve left this particular tradition behind.
…and a silver sixpence in her shoe
Modern weddings tend to ignore a great deal of these symbolic traditions that stem from less savoury roots. The rhyme has faded to become little more than a greetings-card filler and more personal traditions have often taken their place.
There are various stages of traditionalism. From the ill advised bride-kidnapping-consummation-watching ceremony of yesteryear to your stereotypical white wedding, through to a variety of liberal or alternative ceremonies of our modern era.
So are you a traditionalist, or a modernist?
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