On the occassion of our Principal Gemma’s recent nuptials , we thought it might nice to write a bit about different traditions in the different countries represented in our office!
In our Senior Registrar, Sian’s , native land of Wales they have a long tradition of ” lovespoons” !
The lovespoon was given to a young woman by her suitor. It was important for the girl’s father to see that the young man was capable of providing for the family and woodworking.
Sailors would often carve lovespoons during their long journeys, which is why anchors would often be incorporated into the carvings.
Certain symbols came to have specific meanings: a horseshoe for luck, a cross for faith, bells for marriage, hearts for love, a wheel supporting a loved one and a lock for security, among others. Caged balls indicated the number of children hoped for. Other difficult carvings, such as chains, were as much a demonstration of the carver’s skill as a symbolic meaning.
Today lovespoons are given as wedding and anniversary gifts, as well as birthday, baby gifts, Christmas or Valentine’s Day gifts. (Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovespoon)
Maria , our Intern, writes about Spanish Wedding traditions
Weddings in Spain are an important occasion, where you can meet the whole family and all people that want to celebrate. You should expect at least 200 guests in traditional weddings. The average price per person is around 100 euros and the guests give gifts of an average of 150 euros ! However, it depends on how close you are to the couple! Sometimes it can be less or more!
Before the ceremony the closest guests to the groom and bride go home to have a snack and some of them take the opportunity to give gifts and money. A traditional custom in the Spanish wedding is that the groom presents the bride 13 coins, known as arras, representing a commitment to support him in it. But times change and today’s brides and grooms exchange the coins as a symbol of health and finances are shared.
In Spain, the partnership takes on the ring finger of the right hand. Spanish weddings do not have bridesmaids or attendants of the bridegroom. Only the couple and the groom’s mother and the bride’s father (godmother and godfather) accompany them to go to the altar.
Customs are throwing some rice and flower petals when the couple leaves the church or city hall. Some weddings can be very noisy with firecrackers.
At the banquet, the main table is traditionally prepared for 6 people: the bride, groom and both sets of parents. We give great importance to the food and we are eating, drinking and dancing all day!! No speeches.
During the wedding reception or banquet, the bride and groom go from table to table carrying a basket with small details to give to each guest personally. A man is offered a pure and / or a small bottle of wine and the women receives a small gift. At this time the guests delivered the couple’s favourite gift: money … in envelopes. Some couples send a bank account number with the invitation.
The Spanish custom of cutting the groom’s tie and the bride’s garter into pieces and then selling them to guests as a symbol of good luck is practiced today by the groom’s closest friends.
It is also tradition that friends play a joke on the newlyweds, sometimes it can be very heavy!
Finally, after the banquet and with a full stomach after eating seafood, meat, ham, cheese and lots of typical and delicious dishes, the party begins and the newlyweds start waltzing.
Mel explains some wedding traditions in the United States!
Weddings are a big deal by us in the state and it’s very much like what you have seen in the movies! Sometimes people get engaged a good 2 years ahead of the wedding date and then they plan ! plan! plan! We have a number of events leading up to the big day . First is the Engagement Party then the Bridal Shower , where the Bride receives lots of gifts for her future home then there is the Bachelorette Party, the Bachelor Party then the Rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding . In the morning of the wedding the Bride usually gets ready with her Maid of Honor and her bridesmaids where they usually drink mimosas ( prosecco mixed with Orange Juice) . On the wedding evening there are many dances . The first dance is with the Bride & Groom , then the Bride dances with her father (many tears for this one) then the Groom dances with his mother . We basically eat, drink & dance all night!
Here is a 7 minute video from my wedding party in New York back in 2010 for you to enjoy!
Wedding traditions in England
Early Wedding Traditions
As early as the sixteenth, up to the nineteenth century, marriages were arranged by parents or guardians. The bride and bridegroom often were not acquainted until their marriage. The parents often made the marriage arrangements and betrothals while the bride and bridegroom were small children (ages three to seven). The children would continue to live with their own parents and meet from time to time for meals or holiday celebrations. (http://www.weddingdetails.com/lore-tradition/england/)
Nowadays this is not the case as many couples will live together before they “get hitched”. English weddings are similiar to American as there are speeches by the Groom and they also have Engagement celebrations and a dinner the evening before the wedding day!
Here are some more pics of our Principal Gemma’s wedding:
Congrats again to Gemma and her new husband we hope you are enjoying your honeymoon in the sun and we look forward to seeing Gem soon