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Our Favorite Wedding Traditions

On this page, you can find a quick run-down of some of our favorite wedding traditions. Not all of these will neccessarily be part of our big day, but we do have all these and more in mind.


Sapphire has long been considered a very appropriate stone for an engagement ring. It represents faithfulness, wisdom and truth, and its color alludes to the Virgin Mary. It has long been believed that a sapphire would not shine for a wearer who is wicked or impure. The stone was also thought to be an excellent all-purpose medicine, especially against poisons, bleeding and eye disorders. Being indicative of the sea and sky, sapphires come in all the colors of the heavens, from rich blues to deep oranges and purples.

The Cookie Table

The cookie table is a Pittsburgh tradition attributed to the collaborative and culinary efforts of many ethnics groups. The bride's family, including sisters, mother, aunts, grandparents, and cousins present an awe-inspiring spread of cookies and desserts for the wedding feast. While no one is certain where or why the cookie table originated, no Pittsburgh wedding is complete without one.

Removal of the Bride's Veil (Oczepiny)

The mother of the bride removes the bride's veil as a symbol of her transition from unmarried to married life while her female relatives form a circle around her. In some instances, a bonnet replaces her veil to symbolize her entrance into domestic life.

The Bridal Dance

In Poland, a dance called 'Pani Mloda' is a tradition practiced at the reception. This is usually the event before the groom whisks the bride away on their honeymoon. The guests will either pin money to the wedding dress, or the Godmother will wear an apron to collect the money, to "buy a dance from her." These gifts of money are usually collected in some kind of sack and used by the couple towards their honeymoon expenses. Guests continue to add money to the collection and dance with the bride in order to stall the newlyweds' departure from the reception. After all who want to dance with the bride have danced with her, a tight circle is formed around her, and the groom then tries to break through the circle, while the guests try to keep him out. Once he has broken through, he symbolically tosses his entire wallet into the sack, picks up his bride, and carries her away from the wedding reception to start their new life together.

Tossing the Bouquet

The tossing of the bouquet to unmarried guests at the wedding has come to mean the transfer of luck in marriage from the bride, or being the next to marry. Although traditions vary widely, it is typically blindly thrown to unmarried female guests before the departure of the couple on their honeymoon. It is also a mark of transition of the bride from unmarried to a married woman. Originally, the bouquet was given to a friend selected by the bride for good luck or protection.

Tossing the Bridal Garter

The garter toss is thought to be an early English custom that evolved from "flinging the stocking." Guests would follow the couple to their bedroom on their wedding night, steal their stockings while they were "distracted," and then fling them at the couple. It was thought that the first person to hit either the bride or the groom on the head would be the next to marry. Later, brides tossed a garter at the wedding reception, but later the custom changed to the groom's removing the garter himself and tossing to his male guests because brides were often forced to fight off drunken male guests who tried to remove the garter themselves!

Something old, something new..

Something Old: Symbolizes the transition from two single people to a married couple
Something New: Represents a transition to adulthood upon marriage
Something Borrowed: Something the bride carried that had been borrowed from a happily married couple, hoping that their good fortune would be shared
Something Blue: Blue was often the border color of the Bride's dress, and symbolized purity, constancy and fidelity.

Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold

There appear to be at least three different opinions as to the origin of this custom. The first explanation is that it's the groom's attempt to ward off evil spirits that may be living under the threshold. In Roman times, the bride was carried over the threshold for the first time because if she tripped it was considered a sign of future bad fortune for the couple and their marriage. A third explanation is that in some early marriages, the groom and his groomsmen, who were often called bridesmen or bridesknights would kidnap a woman from another tribe. The groom and his assistants would then fight off the female's family with his sword in his right hand, while the groom would hold his intended bride with his left, also explaining why the bride stands on the groom's left side.

The Honeymoon

A new bride who had either had her marriage arranged, or was kidnapped was secluded with her new husband for a one month cycle (moon) in the hopes of making her pregnant, which would prevent the marriage from being annulled forever. The bride and her husband would partake of meade (a potent alcoholic drink made of honey), sometimes heavily, during that one-month period of seclusion. Thus comes the term honeymoon.

A Wedding Folklore Poem

Married when the year is new, he'll be loving, kind and true,
When February birds do mate, you wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you'll know.
Marry in April when you can, Joy for maiden & for man.
Marry in the month of May, and you'll surely rue the day,
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you'll go.
Those who in July do wed, must labor for their daily bread,
Whoever wed in August be, many a changes sure to see.
Marry in September's shrine, your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.
If you wed in Bleak November, only joys will come, remember.
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last.