Due to the traditions of lucky horseshoes, they are often given to brides or grooms as a traditional good luck symbol. When a horseshoe is given as a wedding gift, it is also often associated with fertility, prosperity and happiness.

The tradition of giving a horseshoe as a wedding gift is most common in the UK, where one may see a bride carrying the horseshoe as she walks to the marriage ceremony. However, this traditional gift is sometimes also found in other countries, particularly those which have British associations such as America and Australia.

After the wedding, some couples hang the horseshoe in the house to bring good fortune to their new home. Common locations include hallways, on a door or above a door.

Traditional lucky horseshoes are made from iron. However, in the case of wedding horseshoes, softer and more elegant materials (such as wood, cloth, velvet or silk) which are cut or formed into a horseshoe shape are often used instead.

They may also have good luck wishes embroidered onto the materials (with horseshoes made out of cloth or similar materials) or cut into the horseshoes (with wooden horseshoes). Alternatively, good luck messages may be on ribbons attached to the horseshoe.

Unlike other good luck horseshoes, wedding horseshoes are often:

  • Ornamental rather than plain, reflecting the festive nature of a wedding.
  • Painted or enammled white rather than left bare, with white reflecting the purity and sacredness of the marriage, as well as reflecting the purity of the bride.
  • New rather than used, even though used horseshoes are often considered luckier, as one will normally give something new rather than used for a marriage gift.

One tradition associated with this gift is to attach ribbons to the ends of the horseshoe and carry it by the ribbons (if it is subsequently hung in the home, it is also hung by the ribbons). The traditional reason for this is to ensure that the horseshoe is carried upright (ends pointed up) and that it cannot be accidentally turned upside down (which would allow the luck to spill out).

Horseshoe Wedding Gift Stores

There are a large number of stores which offer wedding horseshoes. Depending on where you buy it, you can find them in a variety of materials (iron, wood, cloth, velvet, silk) and a variety of styles (plain, elaborate, boxed, with ribbons, with tartans, engraved). Taking the bride's and groom's preferences into account will help you choose an appropriate style.

To find stores, do an internet search on 'wedding horseshoe' or 'wedding horseshoe gift'. If you cannot find a store near you, do not despair since some stores ship nationally or even internationally. 

I find that if you go to Amazon UK (which has a bigger selection than Amazon in other countries) and do a search on 'wedding horseshoe', you can see a variety of different designs and styles.

Make Your Own

As an alternative, this is a wedding gift you can make yourself. In this case you may want to look at the various styles sold online to get an idea of the different designs and to choose a design which you think the bride and groom would appreciate. This approach also allows you to personalize the gift, for example by including the bridal names and wedding date on the horseshoe or printed on ribbons attached to the horseshoe. 

If you use an iron horseshoe, it should first be thoroughly cleaned and then painted with a rust inhibitor. If you want it a specific color, you can then paint it with a coat of primer, followed by a coat of acrylic latex paint in your preferred color (white is very traditional, silver is also a common choice).

A reference for making a relatively simple version is : Photo Guide to Making Wedding Horseshoe


For related articles, click on Horseshoe Information, or on any of the following: