British Wedding Traditions

As told by top UK wedding guru, Jane Dayus-Hinch

Wedding authority, Jane Dayus-Hinch, a top United Kingdom wedding and event planner and host of Canadian reality television show Wedding SOS gives us her expert review of British wedding traditions and customs.

“Ask any married person as to why they wear their wedding ring on the third finger of the left hand?” says Jane Dayus-Hinch. “Usually the response is, ‘it’s the only finger it fits on.’”

“The correct answer is it’s the only finger that has a vein running straight to the heart, “Venus Amoris.” “The wedding ring is put on that finger first so that it’s pressing on the vein, and the engagement ring is worn on the top of the wedding ring.”

According to Dayus-Hinch…British royal wedding rings are always made out of Welsh gold.

“It’s a very pure and rare gold, and it has a strong and long connection with Wales.

“A kilo of the gold was presented to Queen Elizabeth II upon the closure of the Clogau Gold Mine, so that all future royal wedding rings can be fashioned from the Welsh gold,” says Dayus-Hinch.

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue and Something for luck, a sixpence in her shoe to make all her wishes and dreams come true!

“We all know the rhyme, but do we know what it means?” asks Dayus-Hinch

“This is what it means,” she says.

- Something Old – bestows an ancestors blessing upon you and symbolizes continuity in the marriage. Today a bride to be would wear something precious from a grandma, mother or even an aunt.

- Something New – represents your new status in life and offers optimism for the future. The dress is new and can represent this tradition.

- Something Borrowed – has to be from a happily married woman to ensure the bride will have wedded happiness. It’s also to remind her that she can depend on friends and family.

- Something Blue – personifies the Virgin Mary symbolizing purity, love and fidelity. A blue bow on a garter, a blue inscription inside a dress or even a blue handkerchief can be used.

- Something for Luck – a sixpence in your shoe to make all your wishes and dreams come true, brings good luck, wealth and happiness to the marriage. Traditionally the silver coin was placed in the bride’s left shoe and she kept it there until she arrived at her new home.

Wedding Attire

“And wearing a white wedding dress is a British tradition that became fashionable after Princess Victoria wore white on her wedding day on 10th of February in 1840,” says Dayus-Hinch.

“White is a symbol of purity and in Victorian times a white gown would be very expensive and could only be worn once. This custom has been carried on to this present day.”

“Wearing a tiara is a very old custom,” says Dayus-Hinch, “dating back to Julius Caesar.”

“It was thought the head was the most important part of the body and adorning it with a garland floral wreath signified its importance.

“As time passed precious metals and stones were added to symbolize wealth. Kings and queens wore headpieces (crowns) and princesses wore tiaras.

“As common folk wanted to be treated like royalty, brides eventually wore a small crown of precious stones, known today as tiara’s, for their wedding day,” says Dayus-Hinch.

Wedding Breakfast anyone?

“In Britain it was traditional for a bride and bridegroom to have their first meal right after the wedding, thus the term Wedding Breakfast,” says Dayus-Hinch.

“Hark, I hear the sound of ringing bells!”

“Or, is it the clinking of cutlery at a wedding when it’s tapped against a drinking glass,” says Dayus-Hinch. “The clinking at a wedding today represents the sound of bells ringing.”

“In the first year of marriage, traditionally whenever a couple heard a bell ring in the town they’d kiss, to remind them of their wedding day.”