Weddings with a Canadian Flair

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in her shoe”. This is the basis that most Canadian brides follow for what to have with them on their wedding day. Each item symbolizes good luck and fortune in their marriage.

“Something old” symbolizes continuity with the bride’s family so that no past relationships get lost or forgotten as she embarks on new adventures with her husband.

“Something new” symbolizes optimism and hope for her new life ahead. “Something borrowed” is usually an item from a happily married friend or family member so good fortune and blessing can carry over to the bride.

“Something blue” symbolizes modesty, love and fidelity. The Virgin Mary has been dressed in a long blue robe, which is why purity is associated with the colour blue. In the late 19th century, blue was the colour for wedding gowns, as the ancient proverb expressed,

“Marry in blue, lover be true.” The last part of the rhyme, the silver sixpence, represents wealth and security. These days a penny, nickel or dime is substituted and is often placed in the left shoe of the bride.

Every Canadian wedding has the ceremony first, followed by a formal dinner and reception. During the reception, the toast offered by the best man and maid of honour take the form of a “roast”, where embarrassing stories are told about the couple before best wishes are offered.

A tradition that often takes place in smaller communities is the trousseau tea party. The bride’s mother invites neighbours and acquaintances that will not be attending the wedding. The mother of the bride normally lays out the “bride’s trousseau” (bridal shower and wedding gifts) for the attendees to see. This way, no one is left out of the celebrations.

The ceremony usually takes place in a church and the wedding party is large. There is the father of the bride and groom, mother of the bride and groom, best man, maid of honour, groomsmen, bridesmaids, flower girl, and ring bearer. The ceremony starts with music and the official will ask for any reason that the bride and groom should not be married. Then the vows are read, the rings are exchanged, and the couple is pronounced man and wife. The groom may now kiss the bride. The couple leaves the church as rice or confetti is thrown to symbolize fertility.

To help the new couple start their life financially, guests participate in what is known as the Wedding Wheel. During the reception, guests form two lines and pay $1 or more to dance with the bride and groom. The Wedding Wheel is not practiced as often as it used to be, or as we think it should be! Instead, guests fill the bride’s shoe with cash as she dances.

The reception is where all the fun begins. Toasts are made where the couple gets roasted for most of the night, the bride and groom must kiss every time people clink their cutlery against their plates and all the guests can enjoy an evening of food, drinking, and dancing!