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Patty Craig: A Slice of Time

My grandson’s recent wedding turned my thoughts to our marital traditions. Indya Moore said, “Tradition is nothing but ancestral peer pressure,” and W. Somerset Maugham said, “Tradition is a guide and not a jailer” ( Although each wedding is different, tradition has a role in weddings. Five wedding traditions are considered below.

First, many of us have heard the phrase “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” used in relation to items carried or worn by the bride on her wedding day. Something old stands for continuity; something new represents optimism for the future; something borrowed is “borrowed” happiness; and something blue references fidelity. When I married, I wore or carried something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Did I believe it would ensure my happiness? Not at all, but it was part of the wedding preparation fun.

Second, according to the ancient Greeks and Romans, the bridal veil had the original purpose of protecting the bride from evil spirits. That’s scary – pretty fragile protection. I believe wedding veils are pretty head coverings and nothing more. In the U.S., how many times do most women wear a veil? If the bride chooses to wear a veil, it’s a beautiful accessory.

Third, the bride stands to the groom's left during a Christian ceremony because in bygone days the groom needed his right hand free to fight off other possible suitors. This is one explanation with which I was unfamiliar. I cannot imagine my husband-to-be having to fight someone in order to marry me. Maybe in that respect, we are blessed to live in more modern times.

Fourth, seventeen tons of gold are made into wedding rings each year in the United States. Today many wedding bands are not made of gold. However, gold bands are beautiful and last for decades. Even though they require so much of the raw mineral, gold wedding bands are a beautiful tradition.

Fifth, according to ancient Rome, the ceremony was ended with a kiss because a kiss was a legal bond that sealed the contract. This was new information for me, too. If kissing were some sort of legal bond today, I wonder what our dating practices would look like. I guess our princesses would not kiss so many frogs.

My grandson’s beautiful wedding was a celebration that included some traditions. Ariel Levy said, “A wedding, a great wedding, is just a blast. A celebration of romance and community and love… What is unfun about that? Nothing.” ( Our wedding traditions simply guide the celebration.


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