Even today, many brides in the UK still adhere to the tradition of “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” although fewer adhere to the last bit of the rhyme “and a silver sixpence in her shoe”. Over recent years, however, the tradition has begun to be revived as increasing numbers of engaged couples seek to combine long-standing traditions with modern preferences. There are lots of traditions connected with wedding-related footwear and we’ve rounded up some of them.
(Imperial) China - Girls created embroidered slippers to encourage suitors
A marriage-maker would show off the shoes to possible grooms, who could get an idea of what the girl was like through the embroidery. In addition to showing off her skill as a seamstress, the shoes also showed off her personality and social status. If the groom liked what he saw, the marriage-maker would arrange a meeting.
Marken (the Netherlands) - Grooms made their brides a pair of ornate clogs
On the island of Marken, by contrast, it was the groom’s skills which were put to the test. He had to make his bride a pair of shoes for their wedding day. The effort put in to this showed how much he valued her and the quality showed his ability to take care of his future wife.
Germany - Hochzeit-Schuhe (Wedding Shoes)
Traditionally in Germany, girls started saving coins long before they were married and they used this money to buy their own wedding shoes. The idea was to help girls develop their housekeeping skills by teaching them the importance of being thrifty and making savings. It also reminded them of the importance of planning ahead.
Turkey/Greece - Signing the soles of the bride’s shoes
This provides a memento of the day and, according to various traditions, can help show who is going to get married next. In Greece, the groom also buys the shoes for the bride, although he may get a little help in choosing them from her family and friends. When the shoes are given to the bride, there should be money tucked in them and the money stays in even when she is wearing them.
Portugal - The happy couple collect money in the bride’s shoes
In Portugal, the bride takes off her shoes at the reception and the guests put money into them. Traditionally this money was used to finance the honeymoon, which it still can be, but it can also just be used as a general contribution to starting a new life together.
Nordic countries (especially Sweden) - Girls put a coin from each parent in their shoe
Traditionally girls get a silver coin from their father to wear in their left shoe and a gold coin from their mother to wear in their right shoe. This is to bring them future prosperity and to ensure that they always have the money they need to live happily throughout their lives.
India - Stealing the groom’s shoes
Footwear is a hugely important part of Indian weddings and it is traditional for the groom’s family to present the bride with a pair of silver slippers, which will have beautiful and ornate decoration. The groom’s own shoes will also be spectacular and lavishly-embroidered.
In some parts of India, there is a very popular wedding game in which the groom takes off his shoes after the wedding and the bride and her family try to steal them, while the groom and his family try to guard them. This can get very creative, for example the groom’s family may come prepared with decoy shoes to distract the bride’s family. If the bride’s family do manage to steal the groom’s shoes then the groom has to pay a ransom to get them back.
21st century weddings
Choosing footwear for a 21st century wedding is generally about finding stylish footwear, which also feels comfortable, after all, your wedding will be one of the biggest and best days of your life and it would be a real downer to spoil it all with sore feet. Because of this, the range of wedding shoes has now expanded greatly and includes all kinds of options, from the traditional shoes Victorian brides would have worn with a silver sixpence in them, to wedding flip flops and barefoot sandals.
This article was written by John from Poshh. John has been writing articles for over 10 years and is a commanding voice in the health and fitness community with his articles high in demand.