What is it that makes couples decide they want to have a traditional wedding versus simply going to a registry office? Apart from the chance to hold a day-long celebration solely in their honour and enjoy a shindig with friends and family, it is important for people to mark the occasion with age-old traditions that have sealed the marriages of countless people throughout history.
In the ceremony itself, the bride will traditionally walk down the aisle with her father who will then "give her away" to the groom. This dates back hundreds of years, to when fathers assumed possession of their daughters because they considered them to be a commodity. Although the custom remains very much alive, the notion behind it no longer carries meaning - fortunately.
So, what other customs should a bride and groom consider when planning a traditional ceremony? An important thing for people to do when they become engaged is to set the date. There are some old superstitions that distinguish lucky months from ominous ones. For example, it is said that couples who marry in the new year will have a loving, kind and true relationship, but those who wed in May rue the day. This is thought to be the case because May is the month when the Romans celebrated the feast of the dead.
It should therefore come as no surprise that certain months of the year will be hard to book because tradition says that they will bring good luck, prosperity and fertility - these include January, April, June, September and December. Simultaneously, superstition says that if a bride and groom wed on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, they are more likely to have a successful and happy marriage.
When it comes to the bridal attire, women should always make sure they have a bridesmaid. Traditionally, it was thought that the bride should have her maids dressed in similar gowns so as to confuse evil spirits about her identity and to ward them off, and similarly for the groom and his best man. An important thing for the groom to be aware of is that he should carry a lucky token in his pocket through the ceremony and when making a contribution to the presiding minister, the sum of money should be odd.
All in all, the customs and traditions that feature in a wedding ceremony do so in order to give a couple the best possible start to their marriage - whether from a superstitious point of view or simply habit. Either way, when planning a wedding, they are all worth consideration.