Wedding Traditions From Around the World

There are wedding requirements: tossing the bouquet. Something new, something old, something borrowed, something blue. But that’s only one way to celebrate. If you turn to other countries, you may find their idea of a wedding differs from ours!

Your big day will always be special because it’s about you. But if you’re looking for a way to bring some extra inspiration to your nuptials, keep reading to learn about some fascinating wedding traditions from all around the world.

Teamwork — Germany.

Is your love strong enough to saw through a log? In Germany, newlywed couples must work together to saw a log in half in front of all the guests. It’s meant to show their ability to face problems and effectively communicate in marriage.

Taking it seriously — Congo.

In the Congo, if the bride or groom finds themself overcome with joy about their nuptials, they’d better keep it in check - if they smile during the entire day, it means they aren’t serious about their marriage!

No, thanks, I’ll drive — China.

In China, there’s no walking down the aisle. Instead, the bride is carried in a bridal sedan, traditionally wearing a red veil and with a red umbrella held over her by her mother or attendant. The color red symbolizes boldness, luck, and love in China, and the umbrella is meant to encourage fertility.

A shave and a haircut — Greece.

In Greece, a groom’s “koumparos”, or best man, will quite literally groom him and give him a fresh shave. After he’s finished, his new mother-in-law presents the groom with a meal of honey and almonds.

Spit on the bride — Kenya.

According to the Maasai tribes, there is such a thing as too much good luck. As the newlyweds leave the ceremony, the father of the bride spits on his daughter’s head and chest in order not to jinx their good fortune. We hope she has a dry cleaner ready!

Dance for sale — Poland.

At a Polish reception, don’t be surprised if you ask the bride to dance and she responds, “Have you paid?” It’s tradition to buy dances with the bride from the maid of honor - donations go towards the newlyweds’ honeymoon!

Where are my shoes? — India.

In an Indian ceremony, the bride’s sisters steal the groom’s shoes after he enters the wedding tent. Before he exits, the groom must bribe the sisters to return his shoes.

Don’t chicken out — Mongolia.

Before a Mongolian couple weds, they must slaughter a baby chicken, holding the knife together, and find the liver. Once they find the liver, they can set a wedding date.

Bride-napping — Romania.

Although most popular in Romania, it wouldn’t be fair to relegate this custom to one Eastern European country, as the tradition can be found throughout many countries including Germany, Russia, and the Caucasus. Staging a mock kidnapping of the bride before a wedding where the bride is “kidnapped” by friends, groomsmen or hired entertainers and the groom must pay her ransom is just part of the fun. The ransom can be money, drinks, or even romantic gestures.

Bells are ringing — Guatemala.

In Guatemala, the mother of the groom breaks a white bell filled with rice, flour, and grains to welcome the couple to the ceremony. The bell is meant to symbolize fertility.

Head in the clouds, feet on the ground — Ireland.

If an Irish bride doesn’t want to be spirited away by evil faeries, she must keep one foot on the floor at all times. Maybe it’s best for her to sit out the dancing altogether.

Step on me — French Polynesia.

After a wedding in the Marquesas islands of French Polynesia, the relatives of the newlyweds lay down side by side on the ground while the couple walks over their backs. It beats a coal pit.

Tarred and Feathered — Scotland.

Forget about a bachelor party. In Scotland, the bride and groom are captured by their friends the day before their ceremony and covered in ingredients like molasses, paint, ash, flowers, and feathers, before being marched around for the whole town to see. Although it may seem like unnecessary humiliation, the practice is actually meant to ward off evil spirits.

No ball and chain — Sweden.

We’re sorry for anybody getting married in Sweden who tends towards the jealous, because if the bride leaves the table, the groom becomes fair game for any lady hoping to steal a kiss. And if it’s the groom leaving the room, the Swedish gentlemen are free to lock lips with the bride, too.

Doves of love — Philippines.

After a wedding ceremony in the Philippines, the bride and groom release a pair of white doves (one male and one female) into the air. The birds are meant to promote a life of peace and harmony between the married couple.

October 2019

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