In other words, why do grooms wear a wedding hanky in their breast pocket?
The handkerchief in the suit pocket (aka a “pocket square”) of the groom at weddings is thought to be worn for 2 main reasons:
1.) Tradition of ladies giving their handkerchief to their beaus
People have been carrying handkerchiefs around since Roman times for practical purposes such as wiping the hands or nose, or protecting against bad smells and infectious particles in the air. We know this because it’s mentioned in Roman poems written in the 1st century BC by Gaius Catullus. Rather unromantic! So how did it come to be worn by upper society folk and grooms?
Later on in history, the handkerchiefs took on a far more romantic purpose: When a lady saw a man or a knight who took her fancy, she’d show her feelings of affection in a subtle, dignified way, by presenting him with their perfume-laced handkerchief, or with her couverchef, a hanky-like head covering. If the feelings were returned, the man wore the handkerchief proudly in his suit pocket for all to see. So handkerchiefs became a key flirting tool!
A whole language of love evolved, involving the handkerchief as a way of silently speaking your romantic intentions even when carefully chaperoned. For example if a lady drew a handkerchief across her cheek it meant “I love you”.
By wearing the handkerchief in his suit pocket, it’s as if the groom is saying that he is carrying his bride’s love interest, and is returning it proudly.
2.) To catch the bride’s tears
Some say that handkerchiefs are worn in suits at weddings to offer to catch the tears of the emotional bride, and whoever else might be getting a bit teary eyed in the vicinity!
- Why do we have the engagement and wedding ring custom?
This site is working in affiliation with Amazon.com (for USA visitors) and zazzle. If you like a product that was recommended anywhere on this website, please consider buying these products via the links on this site, to help keep this website running. Thanks