25 Apr 2013
The Royal Mint's 1oz Silver Britannia 'Year of the Snake' coin produced for A-mark
Embrace tradition and present the bride and groom with a beautiful year-dated wedding gift that will last forever.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...
and a silver sixpence in her shoe.
This rhyme is familiar to most people, but not many people know that the famous Victorian verse ends with this final line. However, coins actually have a long-standing association with wedding ceremonies. The silver sixpence in the shoe was thought to bring the bride good luck and prosperity in her marriage, and is still given as a wedding gift for good luck today.
These also make excellent anniversary gifts. You can help celebrate many years of happy marriage by presenting the couple with an item as enduring as their love, but which also provides a lasting reminder of their milestone year. The silver coin sets make the perfect silver anniversary gift for those celebrating their 25 years of marriage, while a gold coin makes an excellent keepsake for any year.
Yet the history of weddings and coins goes even further back than this. There is evidence that coins were exchanged at weddings as long ago as the 16th century. The Book of Common Prayers, published in 1549, contains the wedding vows from this period. It states that during the ceremony, the bride and groom would exchange tokens, including ones made of gold and silver. The first silver sixpence coin was minted just two years after this, and so it is very likely that these coins would have played an integral part of the wedding celebrations from this point onward.
There are slight variations of the coin tradition found throughout Britain. In Scotland, it was tradition for the groom to keep the token in his shoe, rather than the bride’s. In Ireland, the groom would traditionally give the bride a coin after the exchange of rings – a gesture to symbolise the financial security which awaited them both.
The custom is also found much further afield than Britain. Indian brides often scatter coins outside of her parents’ house as she leaves for the ceremony – a gift of her own to them, as a thank you for supporting her financially. In South America, Christian couples receive thirteen coins as wedding gifts. The thirteen symbolise Jesus and his twelve apostles, who are central to the faith which the marriage is built on.