A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”

Mignon McLaughlin

Your wedding is just the start of a lifelong journey together. But oh, what a hectic start it is!

A day filled with anticipation (read: perspiration!), buckets of champagne, and tears of joy.

Actually, that’s sounding like a lot of things that might need soaking up, which is why I’m about to argue that everyone would benefit from handy access to a personalized handkerchief.

The History of Wedding Handkerchiefs

Handkerchiefs form a beautiful part of wedding tradition.

The earliest hanky can be traced back to around 1000 B.C., presumably to a flu-ridden hunter-gatherer. Later, handkerchiefs were made out of expensive materials like fine linen, and flaunted by upper-class Romans as a symbol of their wealth.

Raining money
This, but in Roman times with hankies

Over the years they’ve developed many uses, from comforting a cold to the symbolic “dropping of the handkerchief” to mark the start of a race.

Race start
And go!

In terms of weddings, a handkerchief’s role is pretty obvious – to catch those tears of happiness and joy!

But, it actually goes much deeper than that.

In a custom that started in the Southern parts of the United States and persists to this day, a wedding handkerchief is passed down from mother to daughter through generations.

Often ornately embroidered, it serves as both as a treasured keepsake and as “something old & something blue” for the bride.

Bride cry
Looks like it’s going to be a good harvest

Initially, this practice was linked to an agricultural belief that wedding day weeping foretold a healthy rainfall for farmers’ crops, while later a crying bride meant she would never shed another tear in her marriage.

These days, wedding handkerchiefs are multi-purpose – from dabbing away signs of nerves to giving to your guests as beautiful wedding favors.

Types of Wedding Handkerchiefs

Of course, your wedding day is about you and your partner forming a sacred bond.

Wedding high-five

But what about all the other special people you chose to share your day with? A little something to remember the day is traditionally given to wedding party members and other guests.

When it comes to what to give as wedding favors, superstition maintains that anything sharp is bad luck.

By that logic, something soft should be extra lucky, right?

And what’s softer than a hanky?

kitten yawn
Only this kitten

So, toss aside the knives (carefully), and check out these lovely handkerchiefs for every member of your wedding party:

Bridesmaid handkerchief
For your bridesmaid besties
Wedding favor
For the sheet emotion of the big day
Sexy wedding
For the bride who’s a little bit saucy
Wedding mom cry
For the mom who can’t stop sobbing
Father of the bride
And the world’s best dad
Bridal handkerchief
For the classic bride
Bride handkerchief
And the one who likes to mix things up
Wedding handkerchief
For the miss who can’t wait to be Mrs
Marriage handkerchief
For the couple who are meant to be
I love you more than cheese
And the couple who want to be cheesy

Thanks to Offbeat Bride for all the hanky examples.

Why Your Wedding Day Needs a Hanky

Wedding handkerchiefs are both practical and sentimental. From soaking up spilled bubbly to turning sweat into a glow to catching the tears you shed on the happiest day of your life, a wedding handkerchief is a must for every bride, groom and guest.

Champagne fountain

Here are some ways to make this tradition yours:

Make it personal

You know those jokes about people who always forget their wedding anniversaries? Well, chances are that those people don’t have hankies monogrammed with their wedding date!

Seriously though, wedding handkerchiefs are a wonderful way to put a personal stamp on something as a couple. If one of you is taking the other’s name, a hanky is the perfect place to debut your new initials!

Plus, a uniquely personalized hanky makes for wonderful close-up photos.

Happy bride
A token to treasure

And, as tradition dictates, hankies make for gorgeous keepsakes to be tucked away in remembrance of a beautiful occasion. Just think how happy the mother of the bride would be to receive a hanky adorned with her precious daughter’s special day.

Or the personalized wedding handkerchief for dad, who’s just too proud to show his tears.

Father of the bride crying
It’s okay to let it out, dad, there are hankies

Soak up those tears

Speaking of tears, let’s get real here: you’re definitely going to cry on your wedding day. And (hopefully) so will many of your family and guests.

Wedding cry

It is nothing to be ashamed of – it just means you’re experiencing strong, uninhibited feelings of joy.

That being said, you don’t want to look panda-eyed in every picture or get the wedding cake soggy. So, next to extra-strong waterproof mascara, a good handkerchief is a bride’s best friend.

Avril Lavigne cry
We feel you, Avril

Just a light dab under the eyes when things get too watery, and you’re golden. And the perfect place to store it? Your groom’s pocket square, of course! Chances are, he might even reach for it himself a few times…

Crying groom

Save your makeup

Speaking of waterproof mascara, you’ve most likely spent a lot of time (and money) on your makeup.

Pregnant bride

Between the tears, the sweat, the dancing, and the sheer exuberance of the day, things are bound to get a little streaky.

Joker makeup
How’s my makeup?

A soft, lightweight hanky is perfect for quick touch ups here and there when eyeliner starts to go south and lip-gloss north. In fact, why not bring all your bridesmaids onto this little tip with hankies as their wedding favors?

Fountain friends
Pure gratitude

Don’t sweat the pics

Even though rain on your wedding day is said to be a sign of good luck to Hindus (or of irony to Alanis Morissette fans), you’re likely banking on beautiful, sunny weather for your big day.

And what does beautiful sunny weather in addition to nerves and excitement make?

Yep, a whole lot of sweating!

Wedding sweat
This is my last summer wedding

Nothing wrong with a bit of a glow, of course.

But you don’t want your wedding album to look like post-marathon photos.

The solution?

A quick dab of the handkerchief on the brow – another reason why elegant hankies equal perfect summer wedding favors.

Royal wedding
Meghan did a quick dab just before this

No issues with tissues

You don’t want people looking at your wedding pictures and asking if the theme was “winter wonderland”.

Snow wedding
Unless it actually was

We’re referring, of course, to where the wads would end up should you use tissues instead of hankies on your big day.

The amount of soaking up that a wedding needs is already well documented in this post.

But where does it all go?

If it’s a hanky, discreetly in the pocket or purse.

But if it’s a soggy tissue?

Probably littered all over the venue.

Tissue mess

Keep it eco-friendly

Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something… green.

A wedding signifies the start of your future together. You want that future to be bright, beautiful for the next generation too.

Caring for the planet’s future, especially as you embark on starting a family, is the way to go and sure to be appreciated by your guests.

Epic wedding

Hankies are the far superior eco-friendly choice when compared to tissues (we have an article all about it here) so go for a green wedding and play your part in the sustainable movement.

HankyBook – The Best Wedding Handkerchief

We’ve already shown you some great wedding handkerchiefs but if you want something that is both personal and perfectly practical for the day, I recommend HankyBooks for weddings.

Okay, I created the HankyBook so I might be biased but we’ve found them to be the ideal wedding favor.

Wedding kiss
Carl must have gifted HankyBooks

HankyBook is a book-shaped handkerchief containing soft, organic-cotton “pages” that is guaranteed to stand the test of time – just like your love!

The handy book-shaped format is perfect for first-time hanky users, creating an easy and sanitary way for guests to save face.

Ooooh. Aaaah.

The sheer emotion of weddings often catch people off-guard – you don’t want anyone being pulled out of the moment with a mad scramble for tissues!

Guests can use HankyBook to wipe away their happy tears, rescue runaway makeup, dry perspiring faces before photos, and clean the cake-loving mouths of exuberant children.

Sustainable wedding favor
Sustainable. Customizable. Functional.

Whether it’s a handkerchief for dad on wedding day, a thankful wedding favor to help your guests enjoy the day even more, or as a treasured symbol of your love – drop us a line and we’ll help you customize a special HankyBook design to match your special day.