So early this summer we filmed in a lovely village in North Yorkshire, where during the service the children of village maintained the old custom of tying the church gates together with rope. Once married, the groom must throw coins to the children as payment for cutting the rope. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this custom –sometimes referred to as “roping out”, but it’s no longer as common as perhaps it once was. This got me thinking about the wedding traditions that are no longer maintained and also about ones that may still continue in a local setting.
If you say to someone “something old, something new” chances are they will know exactly what you mean and automatically reply with “something borrowed, something blue”; but there are so many customs that, sadly, are now mostly forgotten. Why is it that some survive while others fizzle out? And which of them, like roping out, only occur in certain areas?
When I started researching for this blog, I was surprised to find little information out there about quaint local traditions; but I did find a fountain of knowledge about the origins of wedding cake. I may have mentioned in previous blogs about my love of cake but, that aside, I found some great stuff that I’d love to see in a modern setting.
Can you imagine; the speeches are done, you’ve all finished the wedding breakfast (another tradition maintained by the way, at least in name, as a couple no longer fast before their wedding so this meal is no longer “breaking the fast”) when one of two things happens. Either the groom breaks cake (or bread) over the bride’s head, or her friends cover her face with a napkin and pour a basket of bread over her! This is probably not so much a quaint tradition as an outdated custom with somewhat chauvinistic connotations, and perhaps it hints to the reason behind some of these traditions fading into obscurity. That said, I can’t help thinking that if done in the right humour it would be quite comical to see.
One cake related tradition that appears to be going through resurgence, particularity in the USA, is that of the groom’s cake. It was apparently originally a British tradition for a dark cake (often chocolate or rich fruit cake) to be present at the wedding reception, contradicting the bride’s white cake; however the tradition took off more across the pond than it ever did on our shores. Nowadays it appears the revival has led to something a bit more personal than a standard wedding cake. Browsing through Pinterest there are some amazing examples from Star Wars related cakes to musical instruments; it seems to be a way for grooms to make their mark on the wedding.
So as it turned out, this blog became somewhat more about cake than I had originally intended, and in my research I never really answered my own questions - though I am still intrigued about what traditions linger in villages and towns around the country. Now, usually these blogs are simply my musings on random wedding related subjects, and they tend not to lean towards audience participation, but if you happen to know of any local traditions that are still going strong, please drop me a message on facebook or twitter and perhaps at some point I can do a follow up blog.