The Vein of Love Links Both Hearts

"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."

With its circular shape, the wedding ring, which for years has been a part of our most respected wedding customs, represents a love without end and the moment when the bride and groom are joined together. Placing the wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand is usually believed to have come from the ancient Egyptian belief that this part of the body contained the 'vein of love,' or a mythical vein that runs from the finger to the heart. With the wedding ring on this finger, another of our most beloved wedding traditions concluded that happiness, love, and commitment were assured (citation:

Early folklore of how our wedding customs came to be claims that the husband would tie his new wife's ankles and wrists with ropes to keep her spirit on earth for as long as possible; this particular practice stemming from these ancient wedding customs, of course, evolved into today's modern wedding bands, now made from gold or silver, though the transformation took many forms throughout the years - hemp (which never lasted long), leather, metal, and other durable materials, such as iron (favored by the Romans) to indicate the permanence of the union.

Across the Threshold We Go

"Those who in July do wed, must labor for their daily bread. Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see."

There are at least four explanations why the groom is expected to carry his bride over the threshold, all of which have their origins in wedding customs of centuries past. Well over a millennia or so ago, it was common for the groom to abduct his bride (with the help of his 'best man'), and essentially, he had to force her into the home. To make the situation easier, he likely carried her across the threshold so she couldn't escape. Similarly, the belief in evil spirits was rampant, and to protect the couple from harm, popular wedding traditions held that the groom carried her over to leave the potential threats outside.

Another feasible explanation for these wedding traditions rests with the new wife's reluctance to enter the home and leave behind her family, and with a show of modesty for her husband, the bride would play hard to get, requiring the groom to carry her over the threshold so she entered the home. The last, perhaps most common account of lifting the bride over the threshold is that she must never trip or fall or she'll suffer years of ill fortune. But regardless of where you go, these wedding traditions still stand for the passage of one phase of life to the next and the hope that the bride and groom have for their future together (citation: Marriage Customs of the World, George Monger, page 270).

Look at Us and Wish Us Well

"Marry in September's shrine, your living will be rich and fine. If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry."

A long time ago, as a bride was ready to depart with her husband from the marriage ceremony, wedding customs dictated that she should hand her shoes to her father who, in turn, would hand them to her husband, a roundabout way to show her allegiance to her father, who passed on her care and keep to the groom. In the sixteenth century, local wedding customs dictated that newly married English couples should have shoes thrown at them, and it was a good omen if they were hit. To keep these wedding traditions alive, the bridal party now ties shoes to the bumper of the couple's car along with various other decorations, such as 'Just Married' signs or tin cans that are meant to scare away the evil spirits.

Wedding traditions associated with loud commotions to keep the spirits away have their origins in Medieval Europe, when the wedding guests would leave the ceremony and make enough noise with bells, whistles, and pots to frighten the spirits and keep them at bay, ensuring a happy future for the new couple.