I’m sure many brides and grooms start planning their wedding with the question ‘what would make it the perfect wedding day?’. It’s a bit like wondering ‘how long is a piece of a string’ though, isn’t it? There are so many types of weddings and personal situations – religious or civil, contemporary or traditional, budget or luxury and indeed, first or subsequent weddings. All these factors combine to set the scene of what will be possible and appropriate, aside from what the bride and groom would actually wish for themselves on their wedding day!
The time of year, the venue and the budget available are probably the main starting points when planning your wedding day. A winter wedding in a cathedral with a luxurious reception obviously entails a totally different level of planning and expense than maybe a simple and intimate summer wedding on a beach – unless it’s a particularly exotic one, of course! But at the heart of it, everyone wants the wedding day to be happy and memorable – so what makes a wedding happy and memorable? Often, it’s those little touches and thoughts that mean the most to party and guests alike.
Of course, it’s impossible for our thoughts not to turn to the expense involved, but it doesn’t have to be all about the amount of money spent on the day. That old adage, ‘it’s the thought that counts’ holds as true for weddings as other occasions. Special words, gestures and gifts exchanged between family members and close friends can make such a difference, and all sorts of ideas and questions come up. The bride and groom, wondering what previous generations have done, may decide to follow old traditions to honour the sentiments they represent. Or their personal situation and tastes may lead them to invent new ways to express their feelings. So, old or new, the search for those ideal ‘little touches’ begins.
A starting point may be the rhyme every bride is familiar with ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’. But there is a further, less well-known line ‘and a silver sixpence for her shoe’ which could lead to a delightful ‘little touch’. A lovely old tradition, gradually making a comeback, is for the father of the bride to give her a gift of a silver sixpence on the morning of the wedding, to place in her left shoe. As she walks down the aisle to her groom it will hopefully bring them luck and prosperity in their new life together – as well as ticking the boxes of tradition and those important ‘little touches’.
Naturally, the bride will wish to thank her mother or other close female relatives for their love and support, so something thoughtful and personal is called for to honour these special ladies! Just draw on memories over the years for your inspiration, maybe a hand-made and personalised item, reflecting a special memory would mean far more than any expensive piece of jewellery. Or even just the right words, sincerely spoken in a private moment, can have more value than any object.
Then to girlfriends and bridesmaids, those girls who have joined the bride in every joyful (or stressful!) step along her way to the altar. For them, a big ‘Thank You’ is in order and the bride will probably have no problem in coming up with it, undoubtedly being on the ‘same wavelength’ as them all! A shared treat such as pampering on the day itself or a special keepsake tucked in their bouquets as a last-minute surprise? Anything considered ‘Lucky’ would no doubt be appreciated by an engaged bridesmaid. She’d surely be thrilled with her own silver sixpence – or how about ‘something borrowed’ from her friend’s wedding day? That delivers on the ‘traditional’ ‘lucky’ and ‘inexpensive’ fronts!
Finally – the gentlemen of the party. How can love and gratitude to those distinguished men in the bride and groom’s lives be fully expressed? Their supporting roles are, of course, what makes the whole day work and recognition is vital – be sure not to overlook or diminish any one of them. For example, if the bride’s father, Best Man and groomsmen are wearing matching wedding suits, be sure to offer the groom’s father and brother(s) the opportunity to be included. Masculine tastes often run to the practical. Try thinking of their individual interests and personalities, rather than giving each one the same, generic token.
Money has long played a part in all sorts of wedding traditions, from the father of the bride paying for the wedding, to the bride being provided with a dowry by her family to take to her new family – although largely fallen into disuse in the UK, this is still a part of many cultures worldwide.
However, in the event of the perfect item not coming to mind, a simple gift of money itself can also be ideal. It would certainly be very welcome to put towards paying for the honeymoon!
I hope my suggestions will add something for those currently planning a wedding. You might like to take a look at The Royal Mint’s range of Wedding gifts. Their enduring keepsakes continue time-honoured traditions and introduce new ideas to mark this moment in time with your loved ones.