Wedding Memories: Lucky horseshoe charms

Do you remember when all brides carried a silver horseshoe charm with them?

Legend has it that in the 10th century the Archbishop of Canterbury (who was a former blacksmith) managed to outwit the devil. In the story the devil asked him to shoe his hoof and realising his customer was the devil he nailed the shoe on as painfully as he could. The devil begged for mercy and the Archbishop agreed to remove the shoe on condition that the devil would never to enter a place where a horseshoe was hung over the door.

In folklore the horseshoe is also thought to enhance fertility due to its similar shape to the crescent moon. Horseshoes would be presented to the bride and groom and they were often displayed as cake-toppers. In order to retain the good luck the horseshoe should be hung upside down with the shoulders pointing upwards otherwise all the luck in your marriage would fall out.

1930’s bride



1940’s bride



1950’s bride



1960’s bride



Even in the 1980’s on Princess Diana’s wedding dress, a horseshoe studded with diamonds was sewn to her waistband.  In vintage wedding dresses from the 1920’s onwards you can find small horseshoes sewn into the wedding dress’ hem.



By the 1940’s and 50’s cardboard horseshoes on ribbon were used.  Delicate and easily damaged they were however cheap to produce while Britain was still recovering from the Second World War.



By the 1960’s plastic had taken over…many brides were given them with lucky heather in a satin lined presentation box.



You can of course, find modern updated versions now but generally brides don’t carry these charms anymore.  Maybe its a tradition that should be revived?

What do you remember from weddings of the past that we don’t see so often now?  Share one of your wedding memory items with us and we’ll feature it in an upcoming blog.

Are you going to be a vintage bride soon? Come visit one of our upcoming vintage wedding fairs in Cambridge on 14th September, Harrogate on 21st September, or in London on 9th November and find everything you need for your big day. For more details check the website –

Written by Sarah Gorlov

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