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Until the late 20th century, a wedding was probably the most important event in most people’s lives – something they would always remember. It was the beginning of a new life with someone special: vows were made and rings exchanged in front of family and friends in church, chapel or registry office.

In the past, the choice of date was considered very important, and people heeded the saying ‘Marry in haste, rue for aye’; farm workers avoided harvest times and favoured autumn, winter or Easter. Although it was traditional for the bride to wear white, dresses were rarely bought specially for weddings until 19th century and different colours - very often a best dress - were worn. Flowers represented fertility: roses, lilies of the valley, lilies and orange blossom were all traditional, and myrtle was considered the luckiest; some brides chose flower girls carrying baskets of petals rather than bridesmaids; the tradition of throwing rice was also symbolic of a fruitful marriage.  

Until the late 19th century, the bridal procession went to church and back on foot. The feast or reception with the traditional wedding cake - the oldest of the nuptial rites originating since Roman times – followed, and the celebrations usually ended with singing and dancing



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