From tossing a pin, to a torn gown, there are many traditions and omens in Welsh folklore when it comes to matrimony. If you should be lucky enough to walk down the aisle in the idyllic charm of Wales, why not honour some of its unique traditions at your own special occasion or feature some of them on your bespoke wedding stationery?
St Dwynwen’s Day
St Dwynwen is a name long synonymous with weddings. Now the patron saint of lovers in Wales, legend tells that in the 5th-Century, Dwynwen was by far the fairest of King Brychan Brycheiniog’s 24 daughters. Dwynwen fell in love with Prince Maelon Dafodrill, but her father had arranged a marriage for her to another.
So distraught was Dwynwen, she petitioned God, pleading that she might forget Maelon, and in turn was visited by an angel. The angel brought a potion to erase her memory and turn the prince she couldn’t be with into a block of ice. In the legend, God gave Dwynwen three wishes. She asked for Prince Maelon to be thawed, that all true lover’s hopes and dreams be met and that she be allowed to never marry.
God granted her wishes and, in return, Dwynwen gave herself to his service and formed a convent with a sacred well. After her death, lovers would journey to the well to receive a foretelling of their future happiness.
Wedding traditions from beginning to end
In Welsh tradition, it was thought to be lucky for a bride to be awoken by birdsong on her wedding day, and that her first congratulations coming from a man’s tongue would be a sign of good fortune.
Although wedding dresses in Wales were not traditionally white until they became popular at the royal marriage of Anne of Burgundy and King Louis XII of France in 1499, a gown being torn was considered a sign of a prosperous future for the bride and her intended.
At the wedding, confetti is traditionally thrown at the bride and groom in Wales. It has its origins in the throwing of grain in older days and more pagan times to wish the couple a fertile union.
A cutting bearing myrtle leaves was traditionally ensconced in a bridal bouquet as a symbol of love. These cutting were gifted to bridesmaids and, if they bloomed when planted, it indicated the girls would soon be joined in marriage too.
Following tradition, a Welsh bride would wear a pin in her wedding dress. In a custom similar to tossing the bouquet, the just-married bride would cast the pin over her shoulder to her gathered guests. The person picking it up, it was said, would be next in line to marry.
While many of these traditions have faded into tales and history now, there is no doubt that they conjure an added layer of enchantment to any wedding. Why not keep some of these beautiful traditions from the Welsh culture alive by making them a part of your special day?