This very common Italian proverb which literally means “wet bride, lucky bride” is used during weddings which take place in rainy days.

The proverb represents a wish for future prosperity, as a sort of compensation for the misfortune the bride has had during her wedding day.

enter image description here From Nobilah wedding.

I couldn’t find a similar BrE or AmE saying, so I’d like to know if there is an English equivalent, or a related saying that tries to make less dramatic something that goes wrong during a wedding?


In the US1, it is commonly said that rain on your wedding day is good luck—of course, it's also said that "happy is the bride who the sun shines on". In my experience, you can pick whichever superstition fits the weather at the wedding you are currently attending.

Several wedding sites note that "a wet knot is harder to untie", which might suit your wish for a pithy saying, but I don't know how English it is, or how well-known it is outside of wedding planning circles—the claim in those circles seems to be that it is of "Hindu" origin2, and it's not something I'd heard before looking for a source for the general superstition.

1 I can't speak from personal experience, but at least one UK magazine also says:

We're not sure any couple really wants torrential rain on their wedding day, but many cultures, including us in Britain, have long associated a bit of drizzle with good luck.
Francesca Rice, "Funny wedding superstitions and traditions explained", Prima, 5 January 2017

2 The first example I can actually find in print for this is from a 2004 newspaper story about local (Coronado, California) couples. The husband in one of the featured couples recalls of their 1984 wedding:

“We had a great wedding, but it rained. A lot. It was torrential rain for San Diego. A friend gave me a phrase for our marriage that day. 'A wet knot is hard to untie.’ I’ve remembered that ever since then.”
Rebecca Waer, "There are love stories to be found in Coronado", Coronado Eagle and Journal, 11 February 2004, p. 28

There is no mention of the friend's religion or national origin. The next year, a wedding planning book also mentions the saying, the first example I can find in Google Books:

Since wedding lore from various cultures is contradictory as to whether rain is a good or bad omen on your wedding day—think positive! As one encouraging old saying goes, “A wet knot is more difficult to untie,” so a long married life may await those who marry under rain clouds.
Kim Knox Beckius, The Everything Outdoor Wedding Book, 2005

Despite the mention of "various cultures", there is no origin given for this "old saying". The Hindu derivation is given for the first time that I can find in a 2009 memoir (also the second Google Books result, chronologically):

According to Hindu tradition, rain on your wedding day is a sign of good luck as it signifies a strong marriage. The premise behind this belief is that a wet knot is harder to untie.
—Kathleen Lockwood, Major League Bride, 2009

A 2009 "wedding planning blog" also repeats this story:

Research suggests that the superstitious sane[sic], “Rain on your wedding day is good luck” comes from several cultures mainly from the Hindu, with the idea that since marriage is often referred to as tying the knot, a wet knot is harder to untie.
Claudia Lutman, "A Look Back on Shejal & Josh, Sept. 6, 2008", Strive to Be Gracious – A Wedding Planning Blog, 6 September 2009

Although the bride in this entry was apparently Hindu (judging from the description of the ceremony by the wedding planner), it's unclear what "research" the writer is actually referencing.

After that there are several more mentions of the tradition in print between 2010 and 2016, some with the (unsourced) "Hindu" origin story, some without, and there are now numerous repetitions of the quote on various wedding-related websites. Based on this evidence, it seems plausible to me that it is a saying from the Indian sub-continent, but also that it was originally coined by an English-speaking officiant or friend seeking to comfort a rained-on bridal couple.

  • Is that BrE or AmE or both? – user067531 Mar 15 '18 at 20:22
  • Sorry, American English. It wouldn't surprise me if it works in the UK, too, though; an awful lot of "American" wedding traditions at least purport to be descended from the English. – 1006a Mar 15 '18 at 20:24
  • Interesting, but while “happy is the bride...” sounds like a proverb, “rain on your wedding day is good luck” looks more like a plain, ordinary sentence. Am I correct? – user067531 Mar 15 '18 at 20:35
  • Yes, it's most commonly expressed in plain English, though I've also heard "happy is the bride that rain falls on" (widely claimed to be an Irish blessing) and, apparently, the "wet knot" saying. – 1006a Mar 15 '18 at 20:42
  • 1
    @RaceYouAnytime I'm curious, too; I added what I could find about the origin in an English-speaking context, which wasn't much helpful. – 1006a Mar 15 '18 at 22:06

An entire day of sunshine is the exception rather than the norm in Great Britain, and a wedding must be exceptionally lucky if not a single drop of rain falls. Today the saying “Happy is the bride [that] the sun shines on” is quoted in speeches and the like, but the augural phrase in its entirety was

Happy is the bride the sun shines on, and happy the corpse the rain rains on.

1607: The Puritan, I i, If blessed be the corse the rain rains upon, he had it pouring down.

The Rev. Robert Herrick wrote in Hesperides, 1648, (p.129):

Blest is the bride on whom the sun doth shine.
And thousands gladly wish
You multiply, as doth a fish

It seems that the two maxims survived in unison until the end of the 19th century. In a letter by E. Peacock addressed to Notes & Queries, 1859,

A superstition prevalent in many parts of Britain, and preserved to us in an aphoristic form in the following distich : ––

Happy is the wedding that the sun shines on;
Blessed is the corpse that the rain rains on
Otherwise thus: ––
Sad is the burying in the sun shine;
But blessed is the corpse that goeth home in rain.

Sadly, as it's a fairly normal meteorological occurrence in the UK, there is no established English superstition that says a rainy wedding day is a good omen.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.