Wedding Gifts From Be Personal
Who's Who In The Wedding Party
The modern bridal party consists of not only the bride and groom, but also a number of supporters. The bride will often buy a gift for the groom, but he might also purchase items himself for the occasion, such as wedding cufflinks. There are many gifts for a bride for the groom to consider and personalised gifts for a bride will always be welcome, to add a special touch to the wedding day. All our gifts are sold at 20% below the manufacturers' recommended retail prices.
Bridesmaids will usually be dressed similarly, although no longer in the fashion of the bride. Thank you gifts for bridesmaids, as mementos of the day, include personalised jewellery and photo frames, jewellery boxes, bottles of wine and many more items. Personalised presents for bridesmaids will make a more cherished gift.
Ushers, the groom’s supporters will often wear similar suits to the groom, to help to distinguish them as part of the wedding group. The groom will often purchase personalised ‘Usher’ cufflinks for the group and thank you gifts for the ushers will include personalised bottles of wine or spirits, personalised tankards and watches.
The father of the bride may also receive a set of personalised cufflinks for the occasion and can be thanked with a personalised bottle of wine or spirits. There are also presents for the mother of the bride, including personalised jewellery, personalised jewellery boxes and bottles of wine to mark the occasion. If the couple do not want to leave out the father and mother of the groom there are also personalised gifts available for them.
The History Of Weddings
It was in the middle ages that laws were first applied to marriages. In 1076 the Council of Westminster made it a law that marriages had to be blessed by a priest and in the Sixteenth Century it became a requirement for witnesses to be present. Perhaps surprisingly, marriage contracts, much like today’s prenuptial agreements and marriage licences, began to be drawn up, covering a dowry, property and rights. As well as details of a dowry, if there was one, there might also be a jointure, which was the sum of money the groom’s family were prepared to pay to the bride if she became a widow.
Mediaeval brides usually wore blue, the colour of purity, although those of the lower classes made do with their everyday clothes or perhaps church best. If the bride’s dress was not blue she would carry with her a ribbon or some other token in that colour, which is where the tradition of ‘something blue’ comes from. A bride would carry garlic and dill in her bouquet to ward off sickness such as the plague. Garters were also popular in the middle ages, when guests followed the bride and groom to their room to put them to bed. Sometimes guests would try to take something from the bride’s dress for luck and the garter became the item to claim rather than tearing the wedding dress.
For those of noble birth, the ceremony could take place in a castle or manor house, as long as it was conducted by a priest. The wedding would be followed by a feast and there would be entertainment from jesters, minstrels and musicians. The idea of a tiered wedding cake also has its roots in mediaeval times, when guests would bring small cakes and pile them up on top of one another. The bride and groom would then try to kiss over the top of the cake tower without knocking any of the cakes off.
Invitations, as such, would not have been sent out since everyone would know that the wedding was taking place. This was especially true for marriages of the nobility, where the marriage had been arranged and both families would want to witness the culmination of their negotiations.
The weddings of peasants were sometimes arranged, but more usually these were marriages of love, although still considered a legal contract. Villagers would throw seeds of grain over the couple to hope for a fertile marriage; perhaps the forerunner of today’s idea of throwing rice.
By Elizabethan times it was essential to carry out the Crying of the Banns. This was the announcement of the intention to marry and is still carried out by churches today. For three Sundays in a row the notice was read out so that any objections to the marriage could be heard during this period. Marrying without the banns being read would lead to the marriage being considered illegal and if the couple were from different parishes the banns would need to be read in both churches.
If someone needed to be married in a hurry, however, they could apply to a bishop for a marriage bond. This contract meant that only one week of Crying the Banns was needed. Out of interest, William Shakespeare gained a marriage bond for his wedding.
Weddings were still usually conducted in church and there would be a procession of guests to escort the bride from her home to the church. Ceremonies were held in the mornings and would have been followed by a feast. The cost of the wedding would be borne by the bride’s father, although in small villages many people would help out by making dishes for the feast. Sometimes a bride would sell ale to anyone who would buy it in order to make money for the wedding.
It was in Elizabethan times that flowers began to play a more important part in the wedding ceremony. The bridesmaids would have been responsible for making up bunches of flowers for the guests as well as the bride’s garland. This was comprised of rosemary and roses and would have been carried by the bride until after the ceremony, when she would have placed it upon her head.
Sometimes little notes were sent out, but usually invitations were still not needed at this time. People knew to turn up. Inside the church there would have been a strict social order to follow, with the upper classes at the front and lower orders at the back. In Elizabethan times diamond wedding rings were seen, but engagement rings were yet to make their mark in England. In Europe, however, as early as 1214 Pope Innocent III decreed that there should be a period of waiting between a betrothal and marriage. People began to show their commitment to each other during this time by wearing a ring.
Until the Eighteenth Century it was commonplace for grooms to kidnap their brides before the ceremony. By tradition, the groomsman who proved himself most adept at kidnapping became the Best Man. This went on until the Marriage Act of 1753 and there are still mock kidnappings in many parts of Europe. At the ceremony the kidnapped bride stood on the groom’s left to free his right hand in case he needed to fight off rival suitors and the Best Man used to accompany the groom down the aisle to help him defend the bride.
In Regency days wedding became much more private affairs. When they were held in churches there would be only a few people in attendance. It is interesting to note that St George’s Church in Hanover Square in London became very popular for these scaled down affairs. In 1816 there were 1063 weddings held there. Reading of the banns was still necessary unless the couple obtained a common licence from a bishop or archbishop. In this case the couple had to be married in a church or chapel where one of them had been resident for at least four weeks. Alternatively they could get a special licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury, which meant that they could marry wherever they pleased at any time.
Weddings were still held in the mornings, to be followed by a breakfast feast and it was at this time that wedding gowns in white began to become popular. Wearing white at any time had become fashionable, however, and so it was not just a wedding idea.
Queen Victoria is often credited with making white wedding dresses standard and it was in this age that flowers took on a more significant role. Men attending a wedding would wear a flower in the lapel of their coats and country brides would walk to church over a carpet of blossoms. It was in the Victorian era that church bells acquired a significance. They would be rung to alert people to the ceremony and also to ward off evil spirits.
Modern weddings incorporate many traditions that have roots in the past. It has become popular in America for couples to ‘jump the broom’, an idea that has African roots. The couple are symbolically sweeping away their old lives and welcoming in their new lives together.
Handfasting is a Celtic custom with mediaeval origins. The couple’s hands are bound together with ribbons or cords to symbolise their union. The colours of the cords each have their own meanings, such as white for purity and red for passion.
At Jewish weddings, as soon as the rabbi announces the couple to be married, the groom smashes glass under his foot. It is said that the couple will remain married for as long as the glass is shattered.
The idea of the father of the bride walking his daughter down the aisle stems from the time when marriages were business arrangements between the two families and women were considered to be belongings or the property of the their fathers and then husbands. This changed with The Married Women’s Property Act of the 1880s which gave women their own rights after marriage.
In ancient Rome the groom and his supporters and the bride and her bridesmaids would all dress alike. This was to confuse any evil spirits into not being able to identify the wedding couple. As well as helping the bride to prepare for the wedding the bridesmaids, dressed exactly like her, would accompany her to the groom’s village, warding off evil spirits as they went. This is why it is still popular to have bridesmaids in matching dresses, even though the bride herself will be distinctive. It was also a Roman tradition for grooms to carry their new wives over the threshold, in order to protect them from any demons that might live in the floor.
The bride’s veil stems from ancient times when it was thought that it would protect from evil spirits who would attend the wedding to try to curse the newlyweds. The Romans would veil the bride in flame colours to send away spirits that might be trying to enchant her. In Victorian times the veil became increasingly elaborate as a symbol of wealth.
As well as the traditions of the ceremony, there are tales to be told for the date chosen. The following poem sets out the luckiest and unluckiest months for a wedding:
Married when the year is new, he’ll be loving, kind and true.
When February birds do mate, you wed not 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 and 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 labour for their daily bread.
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is 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.
There are also traditional rhymes for the days of the week on which to marry:
Monday for health
Tuesday for wealth
Wednesday best of all
Thursday for losses
Friday for crosses
Saturday for no luck at all
Wed on Monday, always poor,
Wed on Tuesday, wed once more,
Wed on Wednesday, a happy match,
Wed on Thursday, a plenty catch,
Wed on Friday, poorly matched,
Wed on Saturday, better waited,
Wed on Sunday, cupid wooing.
Naturally, these poems stem from the days before the established working week when Saturday weddings became the most popular out of convenience. There are other superstitions about marrying on certain dates; for example, Marry in Lent, you’ll live to repent.
June is sometimes considered to be one of the three luckiest months for a wedding, along with October and December, but the 16th and 17th of that month are unlucky dates. The 3rd and 4th are the most favoured dates. Although May is generally thought a poor choice, traditionally, if May must be chosen, then either the 24th or 25th are the only good dates in that month. A fortunate time for a wedding is in the forty days following Easter. Another traditional thought is that marrying on your birthday will bring you bad luck.
It is unusual for modern brides to wear colours other than white, but from the times when other colours were chosen there is also a rhyme, one that might have a bearing on the colour of accessories or flowers for the occasion:
Married in white, you have chosen right.
Married in grey, you will go far away.
Married in black, you will wish yourself back.
Married in red, you will wish yourself dead.
Married in green, ashamed to be seen.
Married in blue, you will always be true.
Married in pearl, you will live in whirl,
Married in yellow, ashamed of your fellow.
Married in brown, you will live in the town.
Married in pink, your spirit will sink.