A cousin’s son is set to marry next weekend and the family is all in a dither about the joyous occasion. The groom is handsome; the bride, beautiful. We have found the perfect gift within their wedding registry, a handy way to make sure the happy couple does not begin their new life together with seven toasters and no sheets. Lately, I think the trend is to buy the youngsters gasoline credits or contribute towards the perfect honeymoon. No matter. It takes away the sleepless nights wondering if the green salad set you found for them would be donated immediately to Goodwill.
In Tarot, several cards can point to love and marriage. The Hierophant can signal a traditional wedding ceremony performed by the officiator who understands the spiritual bonding special to marriage. The 2 of Cups can mean the shared intimacy between the bride and groom, the bond they have with each other and no one else, the honeymoon. The 4 of Wands can signal marriage and the marriage ceremony, but my sense of it usually is the wedding reception and not the ceremony itself; peace between two houses who come together to create something more, with friends! And, of course, in this year of The Lovers, the joining of two separate individuals, the selection of what completes and complements.
I found a fun collection of wedding “tips” in one of the old books in my collection, Madame Fabia’s The Book of Fortune Telling to share with brides, brides-to-be and brides-averse. These are meant in fun and curiosity and are traditions from a time gone by.
The Luck of Weddings.
We have heard this one most often:
“Something old, something new,
Something borrowed, and something blue.”
But of course there is more. For instance, of particular interest to cousin Patti and all those who sew: “The little sempstress, working on the wonderful wedding dress, takes care to sew a little cutting of her hair into the hem of the dazzling white gown, so that she, too, may soon wear her bridal toilette.” I love the term sempstress. It somehow sounds like the dress is less likely to fall apart; there’s no proverb about avoiding wardrobe accidents on one’s Big Day but I know that was high on my own list of anxieties at the time.
Color, from the familiar saying, makes a difference and not just in celebrity fanzines:
“Married in white, you have chosen all right.
Married in green, ashamed to be seen.
Married in grey, you will go far away.
Married in red, you will wish yourself dead. [a bit extreme, ed.]
Married in blue, he will ever be true.
Married in yellow, ashamed of the fellow.
Married in black, comforts you’ll lack.
Married in pink, your spirits will sink.
Married in brown, you’ll live out of town.
Married in pearl, you’ll live in a whirl.”
I rather like the whirl one although it’s not for the faint of heart. You can see the clear preference for white here. You can make some of your own up for new traditions. Married in salmon, you’ll ne’er live in famine. That rather works, I think. Married in off-white, your in-laws will fight. Well, it isn’t always good news, the color thing. I note here that tradition avoided the inevitable issue with finding something to rhyme with orange, although what comes to mind is a prison jumpsuit so perhaps that’s best left alone.
And here’s some advice for family: “If a bride has elder sisters, they should wear something green at her wedding—preferably stockings—or they will never be married themselves.” I’m just waiting to see if older sisters start showing up in green stockings. The book doesn’t specify whether the stockings are lime green, or spider-web fishnet, so there is at least some room for creativity here.
The day of the wedding itself provides extra hazards to watch out for:
· A bride should never break anything on her wedding day, as it foretells strife.
· She should not try on her wedding dress or veil on her wedding morn [no consequences provided, however, ed.]
· She should not forget to feed the cat, as it may spite her by bringing down rain [or perhaps puddling in the bed or throwing up in her shoes, ed.]
· She must not lose the heel of her shoe, or she will be unable to get on with her husband’s relatives
· She must not keep back her tears, as it is said she will have wept them all away, and she must not touch rags
· It is a bad omen if a bride encounters a hare, a dog, a cat, a lizard, a pig or a funeral when going to church, but spiders or frogs foretell happiness and prosperity, and a lamb or a dove are good omens also. A bird singing on the window on the wedding morn is most luck.
· On driving to church, the bride must sit with her back to the driver. [This would seem to require special transport or violate safety standards, ed.] If she sits on the back seat, she will always occupy second place in her husband’s affections.
· A bride should not stumble or fall on the threshold [wow! This actually happened to me at my first wedding! Well, I have to say from personal experience, this might actually be good advice, ed.], and she should enter the church with the right foot foremost. She should come out of the church by the same door as she entered by.
· A bride should not see a pin on the ground as she leaves the church.
· It is very bad luck to lose the wedding ring. [Nice they include a bit of advice for the groom, who would never hear the end of this one, ed.]
· For the green stocking set: A piece of wedding cake, drawn three times through a wedding ring, and laid under the pillow, and dreamt on for three nights is sure to induce one to dream prophetic things of one’s future husband or wife. Sometimes three names are written on three slips of paper, and one removed (without peeping) each day. The last is the future husband’s name. [I think the Tooth Fairy got bored with giving money to children and decided on a new business model, ed.]
· The clergyman should be paid with an odd sum of money.
Finally, there is a rhyme for best days of the week to marry:
“Monday for wealth,
Tuesday for health,
Wednesday the best day of all.
Thursday for crosses,
Friday for losses,
Saturday no luck at all.”
Since most weddings these days occur on Saturdays for the convenience of the workaday world, it is no wonder we wish the happy couple good luck!
And for the parents of the groom this Saturday, we wish all love and good fortune as they shoo their youngest birdie from the nest onto his next Great Adventure! And perhaps we also may wish them something to calm their jangled nerves.
Best wishes to the bride and groom and all of the rest of you!