Wedding Memories: Throwing Rice

Memories

In early Roman times, wheat was the grain of choice for the wedding ceremony, as wheat, not rice, symbolized fertility. The virginal bride carried a sheaf of wheat in her hand throughout the ceremony, or wore a garland of wheat in her hair. Instead of the bride tossing a bouquet, as is traditionally done today, wedding guests tossed grains of wheat at her, and young, single girls clambered for the grains that bounced off of the young bride, believing that these grains could ensure them a trip down the bridal path soon thereafter.

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After that grains like wheat or rice were thrown at the newlyweds generally so the couple would be prosperous and have many children to help them farm the land.  For Pagans food as part of wedding traditions was a popular option because it symbolised an abundant harvest and the gift of fertility, both things that were key for a happy life.

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The wheat tossing custom fell by the wayside under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England, when the wheat instead was baked into small cakes, which the guests then crumbled and tossed over the bride’s head. This tradition gave way to another, in which a large wheat cake was baked, then eaten, not tossed. Wedding guests, needed to find a suitable substitute for the costly wheat cakes to toss at the bride - the natural choice was cheap, clean, white rice, and the tradition then born has stuck to this day.

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In other countries, different foods are thrown during weddings. For example, in Morocco, newlyweds are showered with figs and raisins to ensure a fruitful union. Italians traditionally throw candy and sweetened nuts. In Korea, the groom’s father throws red dates at his new daughter-in-law to attract fertility.

In Indian weddings, after tying the mangal sutra on the bride, the bride and groom shower one another with “talambralu”, which is rice mixed with saffron & turmeric. This denotes the couple’s desire for happiness, enjoyment and contentment. Initially they take turns to shower the rice, but as time progresses the bride and groom begin to compete with each other, making for entertaining photos and lots of fun and laughter.

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Nowdays many venues don’t allow confetti, so maybe rice tossing seems like something we should embrace again - its biodegradable, simple and cheap…and the urban myth about it making birds that eating it explode is just that, a myth!  Just don’t throw it too hard!  What do you remember from weddings of the past that we don’t see so often now? Share one of your wedding memories with us and we’ll feature it in an upcoming blog at National Vintage Wedding Fair.

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Are you going to be a vintage bride soon? Come visit one of our upcoming vintage wedding fairs in Cambridge on 14th September, Harrogate on 21st September, Stoke Newington, London on 12th October or Chiswick, London on 9th November and find everything you need for your big day. For more details check the website – www.vintageweddingfair.co.uk.

Written by Sarah Gorlov

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Weddings we wish we’d been to: Liz Taylor & Richard Burton

One of the most intriguing thing about an iconic celebrity wedding is often the celebrity love story behind it.  With the wedding of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, intense, all consuming love was ALL of it.  Today we look how they did it, twice…

From the moment their eyes met on the set of Cleopatra in 1963, the two stars were consumed with one another. Their first on-screen kiss lasted so long that the director had to ask them whether he could say ‘cut’. They carried on kissing.  Elizabeth and Richard’s affair caused a huge sensation as both were already married – she to her fourth husband Eddie Fisher, who she had famously stolen from Debbie Reynolds.  The press closely followed their relationship before, during, and after their ten years of marriage, due to great public interest in “the most famous film star in the world and the man many believed to be the finest classical actor of his generation.”  We think these publicity stills for Cleopatra say it all…

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Just nine days after splitting from her forth husband, Eddie Fisher, Liz said “I do” to Richard Burton in March 1964.  Liz wore a short daffodil yellow empire line chiffon gown wedding dress. As wedding accessories, she wore the emerald and diamond brooch attached to the gown, a jewellery piece that Richard Burton presented to her. Her hair was decorated with a crown of lilies of the valley and white hyacinth that wrapped around her long twisted ponytail.

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While Richard was appearing in Hamlet in Toronto, the couple made an unannounced journey to Montreal where they were married in a low-key ceremony on March 15, 1964, in the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Only nine people were in attendance to see the lovers pronounced man and wife, including Richard’s best man, Jim Benton.

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They were married for 10 years – Liz’s longest marriage from 1964 to 1974, and adopted a daughter, Maria, in their first year of marriage that Taylor had started proceedings to adopt while married to Eddie Fisher. Richard Burton later adopted Taylor’s biological daughter Liza as well.  ‘Richard and I had an incredible chemistry together. We couldn’t get enough of each other,’ Elizabeth once said.

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And the famous Burton/Taylor diamond that was their engagement ring.  Imagine being lavished with jewellery like this!  Wow, just wow.
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After a much publicised fiery relationship they divorced in 1974.  Sixteen months after divorcing—Burton said, “You can’t keep clapping a couple of sticks (of dynamite) together without expecting them to blow up” after not being able to stay apart, they remarried in a private ceremony in Kasane, Botswana in October 1975, but soon separated and redivorced in 1976.

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Richard died less than a decade later, but both, apparently, considered the other the love of their lives.  Taylor was married eight times to seven husbands. When asked why she married so often, she replied, “I don’t know, honey. It sure beats the hell out of me,”but also said that, “I was taught by my parents that if you fall in love, if you want to have a love affair, you get married. I guess I’m very old-fashioned”.  We at National Vintage Wedding Fair think this is the sort of love that can never die.

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Are you going to be a vintage bride soon? Come visit one of our upcoming vintage wedding fairs in Cambridge on 14th September, Harrogate on 21st September, Stoke Newington, London on 12th October or Chiswick, London on 9th November and find everything you need for your big day. For more details check the website – www.vintageweddingfair.co.uk.

Written by Sarah Gorlov.

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Everything Etsy! Five Thoughtful Thank-you cards

If you are currently planning a vintage wedding, or looking for wedding inspiration we suspect you will be quite familiar with handmade and vintage marketplace Etsy. Selling products from around the world it is a wonderful collection of bespoke items you just won’t find anywhere else, the hardest part is making a choice! Todays Etsy selection is five thoughtful thank-you cards to share your thanks for your gifts with your guests. thank you header

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After your wedding day, let one of the first things you do is use your new married name formally. Create a personalised surname thank you card with your married surname on the front, but also the date of your marriage on the reverse.  You’ll love how it looks!

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 If your wedding was a pretty as a picture, pastel hued day why not make your thank you cards the same?  Pick this square book-fold thank you card with a de-bossed square design to the front and thank you plaque embellished with a double-faced satin bow.   So pretty.

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Sticking with a personalised theme is always a great way to make your guests smile when they receive your card and be reminded of what a great day it was…If you had retro styling continue the retro vibe with Polaroid style thank you postcard with handwritten style text.  

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 Ultimately your thank you card should say what is in your heart and this one sums it up for us.  Say ‘Our wedding wouldn’t have been the same without you’ with this typewriter font card to the people who made your day extra special, maybe to your bridesmaids or a relative who helped set up your decorations! 

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 5For a vintage look why not go for a distressed looking postcard design?  Hand printed and heat embossed in a gorgeous brown/coppery colour this stunning vintage wedding dress sketch design is ideal for wedding thank you’s.  Each postcard has been ink distressed to give that stunning vintage look to match your vintage themed day.

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Our 5 Etsy buying tips –

  • Be clever with your search options. Use specific colour and shape descriptions as keywords. So instead of just searching for ‘pink dress’, search for cerise dress, fuchsia dress, pastel dress, blush dress, coral dress etc. Search every day as people list all the time and you don’t want to miss out on the perfect item because you didn’t find it in time.
  • Consider the location of your seller. You can buy globally on Etsy but factor in timescales, postage costs, customs charges and language differences.
  • Use Paypal. This will protect both you and the seller and provide you with extra protection in case of a problem.
  • Request samples. This one is particularly key if you’re thinking about co-ordinating lots of different products together, as colours can vary widely and photographs aren’t always accurate. Most sellers should be open to sending you small samples, especially if you’re willing to pay postage or a small fee.
  • Read the feedback and askabout the return policy. Check out what other shoppers have said as comments and reviews are a great sources of information. When you’re buying products sight unseen, there should always be an easy return or exchange option. Check out the seller’s return policy, and if it’s not on the site, feel free to ask about it.

Are you going to be a vintage bride soon? Come visit one of our upcoming vintage wedding fairs in Cambridge on 14th September, Harrogate on 21st September, or in Stoke Newington, London on 12th October or Chiswick, London on 9th November and find everything you need for your big day. For more details check the website – www.vintageweddingfair.co.uk.

Written by Sarah Gorlov.

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