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History and Traditions of weddings

Wedding Jewelry, Bridal Jewelry, History and Traditions


Before 1753 there was no formal state involvement in marriages. As far back as Anglo-Saxon times the bride's father would lead a public ceremony, called a "bewedding", at which the groom and his family offered guarantees to the bride's guardians that she would be looked after. These offerings were called "weds".  Wedding Jewellery and gifts were not usually thought of in these times, and and brides were often given a simple gift of a necklace or earrings.

Most marriages in England and Wales simply involved an informal family ceremony in which the couple made vows of commitment to each other. Those vows and having a sexual relationship with each other made the marriage valid.It wasn't until the 1500s that most people began bringing their vows to Church, although they did not have to do so.

Tying the Knot is an old term for a ritual now being renewed in our weddings today. The term Tie the Knot came from the Renaissance Ceremony called "handfasting". 'Handfast' and its variations are defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "to make a contract of marriage between (parties) by joining of hands". This could also be interpreted today as a proposal of marriage for a specific period of time, traditionally a year and a day.

The introduction of Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act in 1753 meant that all marriages had to take place in the Church of England, Jewish Synagogue or Quaker Meeting, otherwise they were deemed invalid.Even so many people felt that marriage was nothing for the State to be involved in so kept marriage informal, hence elopement to Gretna Green being so popular.




Marriage Traditions

'Stag Night', at which only males were allowed, was originally held to ward off unwanted spirits before the wedding. Around the time of Charles II 'Hen Nights' were thought to have been introduced to allow the bride's friends and family to examine the trosseau and "bottom drawer". These days both seem to involve a last celebration of single status and appear to involve anything from go-karting to a week away in the sun!

Years ago women were deemed to belong to their father. When she married it was therefore her father who "gave her away" along with her property to the groom - to whom she then belonged! In some cases the groom was also given a pair of the bride's old shoes to indicate that it was now his responsibility to keep the bride in shoe leather.

The groom used to kidnap his bride and hold her on his left arm, so that his sword arm was free to fight off any other suitors. This is why the groom normally stands on the right of the bride during the wedding ceremony. If the groom needed help to kidnap his bride he would ask his best friend to be his "best man".




Marriage was often used as a means to bring together two opposing tribes so the families sat on opposite sides in order to try and avoid any fighting in the church.

A bride may be given a silver sixpence and asked to place it in her shoe on the wedding day. Though this may sound a very uncomfortable way to walk around on the day the giver is hoping that it will bring you a life of fortune so it may turn out to be a small price to pay if it works!  The tradition of giving wedding jewellery by the groom is a far more modern phenomenon!, with grooms now giving beautiful diamond and pearl necklaces, earrings and bracelets to their beautiful brides as a lifetime keepsake.

Nearly every couple is aware of the old rhyme about something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue but what does it all signify? The "something old" is to show the durability of marriage and the continuity of your old life into the new married one. The "something new" symbolises the start of building your new life together as a married couple. The "something borrowed" item is the one which you may wish to choose most carefully as it should be from a happily married woman whose virtues you most wish for, to assist in ensuring marital bliss. The "something blue" is used to promise love, fidelity and purity.  A beautiful something new gift for a bride would be a lovely piece of bridal jewellery, be it a wedding necklace, bracelet of beautiful pair of earrings.  The significance of this gift to the bride is so memorable to many, and if chosen well, will last the bride a lifetime and be worn again and again.

Traditionally men wear their buttonholes on the left lapel pointing upwards, whilst women wear theirs on the right lapel. The custom follows on from the early days of jousting, where a Knight would wear his Lady's colours to represent his love for her.

The custom of wearing a wedding ring stems from ancient times when a bride might have worn a ring made of hemp or rushes, which would have been frequently replaced. The ancient Egyptians believed that the circular shape of the ring was a sign of undying, never ending love, a love without beginning or end. Some of the early engagement rings were also used as a wedding ring to show the "sale" of the woman from her father to the groom, they were usually made of gold as a sign of the groom's worth. The perfect finger for the wedding ring to be worn on is believed to be the third finger of the left hand, as it was traditionally thought that this contained a vein that went straight to the heart.  The tradition of wearing wedding jewellery has become more popular in the last 100 years, when jewellery has become more affordable to all, with some costume jewellery, diamante jewellery and pearl jewellery now being available to the entire bridal party.

Flowers are often chosen according to their symbolic meaning for the bridal bouquet. Chrysanthemons for truth, ferns for sincerity, freesias for friendship, gypsophila for fertility, heather for good luck, ivy to represent a long lasting marriage, lilac and roses for love, lily for purity and myrtle because of its association with Venus (the Goddess of love). The bride is supposed to throw her bouquet backwards over her shoulder to all those unmarried female guests present. In theory the person who catches the bouquet will be next to marry.


Queen Victoria wore white for her wedding and started the fashion for wearing white, supposedly to symbolise the bride's virginity. The bridesmaids were traditionally dressed as beautifully as the bride to confuse any evil spirits who may have been waiting to snatch the bride. The Roman custom of the bride wearing a veil was also to disguise the bride from the evil spirits and to keep her safe. Victorian brides wore a veil to symbolise modesty, respect and virginity.  Pearl Jewellery makes  a wonderful choice for any bride, as the colours match so well with white and cream wedding dresses.  A beautiful pair of white pearl drop earrings would set off any glowing brides look.

Tradition also dictates that the bride should not make her own wedding dress, she should not try on the complete outfit until the day and that she should not be seen by the groom in her dress before arriving at the ceremony.


Back to the present and of course every bride dreams of a Tiffany Diamond necklace on her wedding day, but in this era of cost cutting, can you really justify spending £1,000’s on a designer wedding necklace with the huge price tag to go with it? Especially, as there are now jewellery boutiques offering beautiful wedding jewellery but without the designer price tag - you may find one of our wholesale stockists near you.

Here at Girls Love Pearls, we offer a range of designer,  award winning* diamond, cultured pearl  and diamante bridal jewellery without the price tag to match. Check out our diamond and pearl pendants – just stunning, and what Groom could turn down a beautiful gift for his bride at a price of just £250.  Our Chic collection of diamante jewellery is beautiful, and would not look out of place on the red carpet, but with prices starting at just £12.00 for a pair of diamante and faux pearl earrings, you simply can’t afford to miss out.   Diamante necklaces, diamante bracelets and diamante earrings have all been amongst our best selling items this season, with John Charles Mother of the Bride's 2014 collection featuring our jewellery in their photoshoot. If you really want to try on your jewellery first then why not visit one of our wholesale bridal jewellery stockists? they will be happy to help, and if they do not have the item you require, then it can be ordered in for you.  Our new range of bridal hair accessories, tiaras, headbands and pearl hair combs and lace hair combs have been extremely popular this season and have been featured in many of the UK's leading bridal magazines.


If you are looking for more bridal information, then keep checking back to our information pages reguarly, they are always being updated and packed with ideas and inspiration for your wedding jewellery and accessories.