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Wedding Handkerchief Tradition

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Wedding handkerchiefs are a beautiful and thoughtful keepsake to give the bride, bridal party and mothers and fathers of the bride and groom on the big day. I have heard lovely stories of how wedding hankies have become a part of so many families' traditions. I thought I would share with you information and stories that I found and was told over the years on how the tradition of a wedding handkerchief may have first begun. 

The exact timing of when handkerchiefs came into existence seems to be a little unclear. Some historians date the first handkerchiefs back to 1000 B.C. while Christians might argue that the shroud of cloth offered to Christ by Veronica may have been a handkerchief. It is known, however, that handkerchiefs were carried by early Romans and seen as a status symbol for the wealthy. These handkerchiefs were originally made out of fine linen and later were created in less expensive materials so that they could be purchased by the middle class. Handkerchiefs have had various uses through the years as well. From the symbolic "dropping of the handkerchief" to start a race to its use as a head accessory. From its practical use to blow ones nose and to its more modern use of drying a bride's and groom's happy tears. I found it to be interesting though as I was digging around for handkerchief history that the actual wedding hanky tradition is said to have begun in the Southern part of the United States. Often a wedding handkerchief was passed down through many generations and the hanky sometimes even served a dual purpose as the bride's "something old & something blue", as it still does today.  

The reasons why a bride wanted to catch her tears of joy with a handkerchief have changed over the years. I found some information that says early farmers thought a bride's wedding day tears brought luck and her tears would bring rain to their crops. It may also have been believed that a bride who cried on her wedding day would never shed another tear about her marriage. Today, a bride's and groom's tears are celebrated as tears of joy and wedding handkerchiefs are used as a practical and sentimental accessory for the bride and groom. Later it is tucked away as a remembrance of their wedding day.

Wedding handkerchiefs are often given to the bride and groom and as gifts to their bridal party and parents for sharing in their special day. Many brides personalize their hankies with monogramming or messages. 

{Something Blue handkerchief w/ powder blue embroidery}

{Silver Rush w/ grey embroidery thread & Gold Rush handkerchiefs}

{Embroidered hankies for mothers of the bride & groom, fathers of the bride & groom and grandfather of the bride}

{Vintage handkerchief bundles}


 

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