19th-Century Bridal Superstitions for Getting Married and Staying Happy

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Dr. Ray Vaughn Pierce, who had facilities in Buffalo, New York, and London, became famous for his mail-order medicines. Things like "Dr. Pierce's Golden Medical Discovery Pills," "Dr. Pierce's Favorite Prescription Tablets," and "Dr. Pierce's Pleasant Pellets" may sound laughable now, but the opium-laced pills—which he peddled as cures for all sorts of "feminine ailments" like hysteria, fatigue, and menstruation pains—were hugely popular.

It wasn't just the addictive substances that buoyed sales of Dr. Pierce's wares, though; he was also a marketing innovator. In addition to billboards and broadsides, he published testimonial pamphlets, the most famous of which, The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser, sold a million copies. One such advertorial concerned itself—interspersed among the cure-all claims—with dream interpretations and bridal superstitions.

How To Tell If There's A Wedding Brewing

At the table, if two spoons are accidentally put down together, there will soon be a wedding in the family.

If, by chance, an unmarried woman or a bachelor be placed between a married couple at supper, that person will soon become engaged.

A strange white pigeon flying near a house is a sign that someone there will be married within a year.

To see a caged bird in one's dream indicates a forthcoming wedding.

To Take Matters Into Your Own Hands

Sometimes a gal's gotta know what her marriage prospects are, and she just can't wait for a strange white pigeon. That's where the following comes into play.

She must find a green pea-pod with exactly nine peas in it, and hang it over the door of a room or entry-way without letting anybody know about it; she must then watch the door and see who goes through first. If it is an unmarried young man, or a bachelor, she will positively be married before the current crop of peas is disposed of; if it is a woman, she will have to sigh in single-blessedness another year.

You're Getting Married! But First, Watch Your Step

This one requires a little background knowledge: "Calling of the banns" refers to a practice of publicly declaring your intention to be wed.

Between the calling of the banns and the wedding, the spirits of evil and envy are said to have great power. Therefore at this time the engaged couple should guard against a lovers' quarrel, exercise caution when going down stairs, not to stumble, and they should not be photographed together.

The first two sound like perfectly solid advice for engagements and beyond. But that last suggestion might have to be amended for any 21st Century editions of Dream Book Bridal Superstitions.

It's the Big Day

But beware! You may think it's all bouquet tosses and and wedded bliss from here on out, but there's still plenty that can go wrong.

On no account should a bride or a bridegroom be handed a telegram on the way to church.

The bride must be careful when leaving the church to put her right foot first. It is deemed most unfortunate for a bride to make the first step into the new world with the left foot.

To have an unequal number of guests at the wedding breakfast or supper is unlucky.

When to tie the knot

Even before you start following the preceding instructions to a tee, you should ensure that you pick a particularly auspicious date. Here's a helpful guide.

January—If married in January, the wife will live longer than her husband.

February—In February, domestic happiness will prevail.

March—In March, the couple will eventually make their home abroad.

April—The April bride very decidedly rules the roost.

May—May is considered unlucky for weddings.

June—June is an exceptionally lucky month and promises lasting love to its bridal couples.

July—July marriages are apt to be crisscrossed with sunshine and shadow.

August—August is noted for its ideally mated couples.

September—September marriages run a smooth, congenial course.

October—October, either love or money will be lacking in the future for those who join hands this month.

November—November promises prosperity.

December—December a life full of love.

September 3, 2014 - 7:00pm
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