Bride Elect (Evolution of a Bridezilla)
Chapter Thirty-Eight— Contented Hearts
I have been told that our choice of wedding month means a “contented heart”. However, when I did some research into the meanings of months for weddings, I found something quite different. There is a rhyme, which goes:
Married when the year is new, he’ll be kind loving and true.
When February birds do mate, You wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow you’ll both know.
Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden and 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 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.
Marry in lent, live to repent.
Really? Harumph! My first response was “that sucks”, my second response was “fuck you—stupid superstitions!” I can be quite the grown up in some circumstances, in this particular knee jerk reaction, not so much.
Nevertheless, I went further into the rabbit hole of weddings and superstitions. I found out a number of things, many of which seemed to offer evidence of how deeply disturbed we, as a society, have been over the years. Sure the superstitions have become in many cases benign traditions and rituals, but knowing the original intent behind these things can be unsettling.
For example, the throwing of the garter and bouquet hark back to the day when people were so desperate to have any kind of good fortune that they felt entitled to mob a bride, and tear at her until they had a shred of her dress or wedding flowers. It was believed that having this shred of something from the bride would bring some of the bride’s good fortune into the life of the person who mobbed the bride. It was out of shear necessity of survival (it was not uncommon for brides to be smothered or even pummelled to death as a result of being mobbed) that the tradition of throwing the bouquet, and garter was borne.
The tradition of the veil varies according to culture. Although it is interesting for me to realize that head/face coverings for brides was quite cross cultural. In many cases it was for purposes of protection. Whether it be from evil spirits, or from bandits, or even from potentially reneging on a contract, the veil acted as a protective measure of some sort. There was also cross cultural similarity regarding the symbolism. In many cases the veil also came to symbolize purity, fertility, female submission, and the joining of “houses”.
I am not a big fan of the female or feminine submissive paradigm. Ergo, I was not instantly receptive to the idea of a veil. Granted, in time, I found both a version of the paradigm and veil I could be contented with. Nevertheless it was so distracting to know how things were, or came to be, I had trouble marvelling over how far we had come.
Early on, I did research about the “Something Old, something new…” adage. I discovered the whole vintage Victorian Age rhyme was, “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a six pence in the bottom of her shoe”. Victorians loved their grim foreboding and their rhymes. This rhyme was among the more upbeat superstitions. The something old represented the sustaining and honouring of old friends, and the something new represented the future. The something borrowed was intended for the bride to “borrow” something from within her family that represented fortuitous things like happiness, wealth, etc. It would bring luck to the couple, once the item was returned to its proper owner. The colour blue has a tradition of representing fidelity, and honour.
The sixpence, I came to learn, was meant to represent a silver coin. In Victorian times, sixpence was a common piece of silver. It was meant to represent wealth, riches, and prosperity for the couple. I have since learned that the CAD equivalent is one dime, but since dimes are no longer made of silver, traditions suggest that I could use a copper penny, or a coin that had silver in it.
I suspect, in the grand tradition of superstitions, it would not likely be considered lucky to use a penny since they were officially taken out of circulation—the very year we got married. To those who were already concerned about my black cat, the lack of concern I show over both broken mirrors and stepping on cracks, and my wanton travels under ladders, I suspect they would view my using a penny as possibly manifesting some kind ill-fated union. I decided to go with a quarter that I found in my piggy bank as a kid. It is a quarter from the year 1946, it is silver, and it is the only coin I have that bears the profile of King George VI. It seemed to fit the bill, and cover (if I wanted it to) both the “something old” and the “six pence”.
Despite all my research, however, I came across nothing that specifically referred to “contented hearts”. I would learn later that the reference was specific to the month’s gem. This particular birthstone is the gem associated with calming the heart—hence “contented heart”. This information, however, was not as readily available as all the other ‘stuff’. There were rhymes about everything ranging in dress colour to days of the week. There were superstitions about flowers, and even names. If I, or any bride, took any of these superstitions to heart, then we would surely feel doomed, and thoroughly fucked over. Those morose rhyming Victorians had us hooped at just about every turn.
For example, Palucid and I, according to these stupid superstitions, would be subject to the following parameters:
- We would have to strive for our daily bread
- We would have “no luck at all” not only because we were marrying on a Saturday, but also because his surname started with the same letter as my surname
- We would enjoy either majesty or death, because of my choice in wedding flowers
- I would be “doing it right” because I was wearing white
- There would be fidelity because I would be wearing some blue
- We would have “good luck” because Palucid’s corsage (peacock feather) also appeared in my bouquet
- I might get mobbed because there would be no throwing of bouquet or garter (and my guests would entitled to do it pursuit of their own good fortune)
- I would be protected by evil spirits—thanks to my veil
Clearly, Palucid and I had our work cut out for us both on the wedding day, and up until death parted us.
Personally, I reverted back to what I was originally told about our wedding month. I knew at least two other happy couples who also had their weddings in the same month we chose. We each had contented hearts, and things happen in threes—take that you superstitious rhyming bastards!