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Q: British Victorian wedding customs ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: British Victorian wedding customs
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: kh22-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 02 Dec 2004 05:43 PST
Expires: 01 Jan 2005 05:43 PST
Question ID: 437038
During which decade did the custom begin of throwing rice over the
wedding couple as they left the church?  The context is Britain in the
suburbs of London.

Request for Question Clarification by thx1138-ga on 02 Dec 2004 06:33 PST
Hello kh22 and thank you for your question.

I have been unable to find out exactly in which decade the custom of
throwing rice over the wedding couple as they left church in the
London area. However I have found out that the tradition started in
the second year of a particular decade in the North of England.  I
suspect it not unreasonable to assume that in the following eight
years the tradition would have spread to the London area.

If the year, location, name of the couple getting married, and the
name of the minister involved in the first instance of rice throwing
at a wedding in England interests you, let me know and I will post it
as an answer.

Very best regards


Clarification of Question by kh22-ga on 02 Dec 2004 07:29 PST
Yes, if you could let me have that information - together with some
indication of the source - then I would consider the question
answered.  thanks so much.
Subject: Re: British Victorian wedding customs
Answered By: thx1138-ga on 02 Dec 2004 07:38 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello kh22, thank you for your question and subsequent clarification.

The custom of throwing rice at weddings was first introduced in 1872
at the parish church of St Mary's in Swillington near Leeds. The
couple getting married were Job Lilley and Matilda Mason and the
presiding minister was the Rev Thomas Dealtry.

1872 ..... on this day, which was a Sunday, at the parish church of St
Mary's in Swillington, a 1,900-year-old custom brought to England by
the Romans in 54 BC, gave way to 19th century commercialism and market
forces, when rice, instead of a national cereal, was thrown over a
bridal couple for the FIRST time. The man responsible was the Rev
Thomas Dealtry who had arrived there from India, as the new rector
under the care of a local family, and he suggested that people who
wanted to perform the traditional 'crowning of the bride' ceremony,
should emulate the Hindus he had witnessed in India, and throw rice
instead. The young couple who were married were Job Lilley and Matilda

Apparently the practice originates in the Hindu custom of the
bridegroom throwing 3 handfuls of rice over his bride and she doing
the same to him, as a symbol of fertility. That custom, which later
became confetti rather than rice, was introduced in Swillington by
Ven. Thomas Dealtry  who was Rector here from 1872 to 1878. He had
previously spent his ministry in India, where he became Archdeacon of

When rice was first imported to Britain and Ireland, it was strictly
for the rich, only gaining popularity in Victorian times, when recipes
for curries were brought back from India.

Thank you for your question, and if you need any clarification of my
answer, do not hesitate to ask before rating my answer.

Very best regards


Search strategy included:
"the tradition of throwing rice"

Clarification of Answer by thx1138-ga on 02 Dec 2004 07:45 PST
Hello again kh22,

Actually, looking at the URL of the first link I gave you it looks
like the actual date was December 1st 1872, and checking further using
this calendar for 1872 we
can see that December 1st was indeed a Sunday. So there you have it,
the first time rice was used in a wedding ceremony in England was
Sunday December 1st 1872 (it was the anniversary yesterday!)

Very best regards

kh22-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $3.00
Thanks so much - tremendously useful.

Subject: Re: British Victorian wedding customs
From: answerfinder-ga on 02 Dec 2004 08:36 PST
The Times Newspaper of Friday, July 13, 1877, refers to a wedding in
central London where rice was thrown.

Wednesday, May 26, 1886, it carries a short article on the dangers of
throwing rice at weddings. It reports that in Bethnal Green, East
London, the practice had grown to such an extent that neighbouring
grocers kept parcels of rice ready packed for weddings in the nearby
church. One bridegroom had suffered serious injuries to his eyes after
rice was thrown and he was admitted to hospital.

Times Newspaper at my local library
Subject: Re: British Victorian wedding customs
From: thx1138-ga on 03 Dec 2004 03:00 PST
Hello again kh22,

Just a note to say thank you for the excellent rating and nice tip.

Very best regards


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