My parents have just celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary and with mine and the husbands 2nd coming up in the summer I have been thinking about marriage. More specifically, what makes a good one, what makes it work, why does it last?
And then I realised that that is all a little bit deep for me (and I’m on far too strong medication to allow me to even pretend to be profound) so I stopped thinking and started reading about ye olde wedding superstitions instead.
Orange blossoms, which represent purity, chastity, and fertility, have always been associated with weddings and were a required inclusion for Victorian weddings. Roses also signify love and were therefore, also commonly included. Flowers to be avoided are peonies, as they symbolize shame, and any combination of red and white flowers should be avoided as well because they represent blood and bandages.
I am (a little bit ashamed to say) that I am quite superstitious; I don’t walk under ladders, I
worry all day about salute lone magpies, I throw salt over my shoulder if I spill any…But wedding superstitions weren’t exactly at the forefront of my mind in the midst of planning my own.
When we were booking the date for our ceremony we chose the closest Saturday to our ‘getting together’ anniversary. Because Saturdays are just the day that you do weddings aren’t they? We booked and we planned and slowly things were ticked off the endless to do list for the biggest party that we would ever throw.
A mid-July Saturday wedding with around 300 guests in a cathedral, followed by a vintage crockery and bunting filled reception with peonies in teapots, sweeties in jars, a swing band and bacon sandwiches at midnight.
Monday for health, Tuesday for wealth, Wednesday best of all,
Thursday for losses, Friday for crosses, Saturday for no luck at all
- Are we talking good crosses or bad crosses? -
Only none of that ever happened.
The money that we were relying on to pay for all the fabulousness never came when one of the husbands clients
who happens to be a well known celebrity who has plenty of cash to burn and really should know better but I’m not allowed to tell you about that part decided not to pay for a job that had been completed.
Also, I was pregnant and the wedding was a matter of months away.
Married in White, you have chosen right
Married in Grey, you will go far away,
Married in Black, you will wish yourself back,
Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in Blue, you will always be true,
Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
Married in Brown, you will live in the town,
Married in Pink, you spirit will sink.
- That’s ok then -
I sobbed rationally and irrationally as
my our perfect wedding was cancelled booking by booking, as guests were uninvited and plans were hastily changed.
We still got married though, obviously, only it was in a small church with under 100 guests, a reception in an (admittedly very, very nice) pub that we left as soon as we had cut the cake because my dress was so heavy and my morning sickness was so horrible and I was so tired. And it was on a Friday.
Married when the year is new, he’ll be loving, kind & true,
When February birds do mate, You wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you’ll know.
Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden & for Man.
Marry in the month of May, and you’ll surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you’ll go.
Those who in July do wed, must labour for their daily bred.
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see
Marry in September’s shrine, your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember.
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last.
- Could have picked better there then -
We didn’t stay in a manor on our wedding night, we didn’t honeymoon overlooking mountains and lakes like we had planned to. Guests confirmed two hours before the ceremony meaning that I had to flutter my eyelashes at the chef to ask if we could have just one more steak, pretty please. I was late for the ceremony and so totally forgot the only superstition that I knew (old, new, borrowed and blue), the husband was hungover and had forgotten to arrive at the church armed with our wedding licence. I do like a drama.
I didn’t have peonies or vintage china or bridesmaids but the ceremony was small and intimate and relaxed and the rest of the day followed in the same vain. It was stressful and horrible and hair tearingly frustrating at times but it gave me more than I ever imagined it to. It reminded me what a wonderful family I have, it proved what was important (not pretty crockery apparently) and rather than feeling like a self conscious fool in a white dress at the alter I felt that with the husband by my side I could literally do anything in the world. Even when all the guests laughed when I couldn’t understand which side I was supposed to cross the husband on to walk back down the aisle…Something to do with sword carrying and traditions?!
Our wedding wasn’t how I imagined it, but it was amazing and married life is proving to be pretty good too. I’m still no clearer on what makes a happy, lasting marriage but I hope I enjoy one.