Welsh Wedding Traditions from the Vintage Bride: Love Spoons

In this new series of posts Vintage Bride Sophie is going to be investigating Welsh Wedding Traditions and sharing with you ways that you can incorporate them into your wedding day. She kicks off this week with the beautiful tradition of Love Spoons.

Welsh Wedding Traditions: Love Spoons

Hi Cwtchers!

Over the next year, I’m going to be looking at various romantic and wedding related Welsh wedding traditions. I’d originally planned to do a single post on these but I wouldn’t be able to do each of them justice (some of them are incredible and some are HYSTERICAL!) so we’ll look at them one at a time.

Today I’m looking at the tradition of giving love spoons. This tradition is thought to date back to the seventeenth century and they were traditionally carved by men to present to young women as a way of asking their girl of choice out or showing affection. It is thought the spoon showed the girls’ father or family that he was good husband material – that he could carve wood and provide for her (grrrr). The earliest known Welsh love spoon dates back to 1667 and is on display at one of our favourite wedding venues, St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life (I’m now dreaming of proposals by it. Pleeease say this has happened to one of you!)

These days love spoons are generally given as gifts and presented at weddings, births, christenings and for anniversaries. As I’m sure you’re aware there are many different symbols and meanings associated with the spoons. Symbols are carved into the wood and, collectively, hold a little message. I remember my father giving me a silver love spoon necklace when I was a little girl which was meant to prevent my heart being broken. Of course, I did have my heart broken but I can honestly say that I wasn’t wearing it at the time and I’m sure it wouldn’t have happened if I had been.

So let’s have a look at the different meanings and ways you can incorporate love spoons into your wedding. Predominantly, these are the main symbols you will find carved into them.

  • Horseshoe: luck
  • Cross: faith
  • Bells: marriage
  • Hearts: love
  • Wheel: supporting a loved one
  • Lock: security
  • Caged balls: the number of children hoped for
  • Birds: going away together
  • Stalk: a new birth
  • Chain: a wish to be together
  • Diamond: wealth and good fortune
  • Key, lock or keyhole: security (I will look after you)
  • Knot: eternal love
  • Twisted stem: togetherness
  • Dragon: the protective symbol of Wales

In terms of incorporating this tradition into your day, there are many ways you can do so! You could present your husband or wife-to-be with a bespoke spoon as a gift they can cherish forever. If your budget allows you can buy personalised spoons in bulk to give as favours. You may choose to have spoons made for your bridesmaids, groomsmen or parents to say thank you. Or you could put one on your gift list if you’d like one for your own home to remember your day! Left it too late for your wedding? Your fifth anniversary is the one requiring a wooden gift .

If you don’t have the time or expertise to carve love spoons for your guests or loved one, shame on you (although I may be able to help).  Luckily, living in Wales, you can buy gorgeous spoons on your doorstep. Or for those further afield, they are readily available online too. Here are my picks…

You can purchase reproduction love spoons from St Fagans Museum of Welsh Life. They are carved by Sion Llewellyn and are copies of the spoons held in the museum. You can also buy from him directly.

Welsh Gifts: 20 personalised love spoon favours are £58.40

The Lovespoon Gallery in Mumbles is a gorgeous little shop selling many designs. You can order online and they have a selection of spoons which can be used as favours.

If you’re looking for something really special, Adam King carves the most beautiful bespoke spoons. You can choose exactly what you’d like carving to make your spoon really personal and unique (he’s even carved Care Bears before!) Prices range from £70-£150

For those of you wishing to go the extra mile, you can learn to carve your own spoon at this workshop: Sharon Littley Woodcarving in Port Talbot or  via this online tutorial.

If you’ve ever tried your hand at this amazing craft please let us know! We’d love to see your efforts and we’d love to see how you’ve incorporated love spoons into your wedding!

Enjoy the first days of spring all and, as always, happy planning!

Sophie x

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