Have you heard of the wedding hanky tradition? Some believe it has begun in the southern U.S. countries based on a wedding fable which claims that if brides cry on their wedding day, those will be the last tears they shed about their marriages. So, in the U.S. bridesmaids and brides commonly give each other hankies as wedding presents or favors. Other countries have their own customs and traditions involving wedding handkerchief keepsakes.
Wedding Handkerchief Keepsakes come in many colors and styles and their symbolism varies from country to country. Early farmers believed bride’s wedding tears can bring rain for the crops. In the South (U.S.), crying brides meant they wouldn’t shed tears about their marriages. Nowadays, the hankies which dab away the tears of happiness and joy are kept as a family heirloom, usually in a shadow box or frame, until it becomes passed down from mother to daughter (or daughter in law) to use on her own big day.
In Belgium, bride’s family takes a hanky embroidered with the bride’s name and, after the special day, it is displayed proudly in the home of the family. Once subsequent daughters in the family marry, their names become added and displayed, too. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, bridesmaids carry colored hankies and guests “purchase” them and contribute a money to the couple’s nest egg.
Wedding handkerchief keepsakes are sometimes given to the bride and groom or as favors to the bridal party for being around on the special day. Some brides even choose to personalize their handkerchiefs by monogramming them, which looks elegant and glamorous. In some cases, the wedding hanky serves a purpose as “something old” or “something blue”, or even both things. Furthermore, some couples choose to have wedding invitations printed on handkerchiefs.
Obviously, the tradition of passing down and giving away the wedding handkerchief hasn’t been modified significantly, but its symbolism varies from country to country, yet everybody feels their own custom and tradition is genuine. One way or another, wedding handkerchief is something every bride should have, at least for catching her tears of joy.