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Wedding Traditions

A Collection of Wedding Traditions around the World

By Wendi Garcia

Weddings are quite predictable - the bride walks down the aisle, the couple exchanges vows, the bride and groom kiss, the bride tosses the bouquet, and off everyone goes to a night of partying at the reception.
Yes, you know the routine. But this is only if the wedding is going to be held here or if the couple would have an American wedding. This is not the case if the couple decides to incorporate wedding traditions from other parts of the world, more so if they decide to hold it in a different country.

If you are getting married soon and you are thinking of adding some international flair to your big day, let this ultimate guide enlighten you on wonderful (and unusual) wedding traditions from around the globe.

Italy

  • Wedding festivities begin in the morning, preferably on a Sunday. Marrying on a Tuesday or Friday is considered bad luck.
  • A groom carries a piece of iron on his pocket to drive evil spirits away.
  • Couple arrives in the wedding venue on foot. You can save money on fuel!
  • At the end of the ceremony, couple shatters a vase or glass. The number of pieces symbolize the number of years they will spend together.

    China

  • Couples consult a fortuneteller or astrologer to find the perfect date for the wedding. Love horoscopes
  • Bride usually wears a red silk dress designed with an embroidered dragon or phoenix.
  • Ritual tea ceremony is held to signify bond between the two families.
  • A 10 to 12-course banquet is in order to show everyone that the couple is well-off.
  • Lion dance is part of the wedding reception.

    Denmark

  • Pine branches are built in front of the bride’s house to symbolize fertility.
  • During the reception, the groom goes away so that all the bachelors in the party can kiss the bride. After that, the bride disappears when it is the groom’s turn to be kissed by all the single young women in the room.

    Finland

  • Instead of the bouquet toss, the bride would wear a golden crown and be blindfolded. She would spin around while the single women would dance around her. The one who gets crowned will be the next one to marry.
  • The bride walks from house to house carrying a pillowcase to collect wedding gifts.
  • The groom would stand beside her holding an umbrella to signify shelter and protection.

    Sweden

  • The mother of the bride will bequeath her with gold coin to be placed in her right shoe while the father places a silver coin in her left shoe. This is to ensure that the bride will never be poor.
  • The groom will hand out three gold rings. One is for engagement, the second is for the wedding, and the third is for motherhood.

    Indonesia

  • Bride and groom invites over a thousand people, all of whom they have to greet during the reception.

    Philippines

  • Before the wedding, the groom goes to the house of the bride's family to ask her hand in marriage, this is called "pamamanhikan." Sometimes, the groom would also perform various household chores to show the family that he is ready to take care of the bride.

    Africa

  • In Somalia, parents can arrange for a girl's wedding even before she is born.
  • In Sudan, a groom should pay the bride's family with cattle in replacement for loss of their daughter's labor.
  • Guests are expected to wear traditional regional costumes during the event.
  • The bride and groom would jump above a brush covered with flowers to signify the beginning of a domestic life together.

    Arabia

  • Feet of the bride is decorated with henna, drawing made with alhea.
  • Men and women are seated separately during the reception.

    England

  • The bride wears a horseshoe on her arm decorated with lace to represent an amulet.
  • The wedding cake is a fruitcake covered with marzipan. The upper section of the cake is kept until the couple's first child is born.

    France

  • On the wedding night, family and friends would drum pots and pans to disturb the couple.

    Germany

  • Beer, wine and marzipan are served during the reception.
  • Bride arrives in the church riding a carriage pulled by black horses.

    Greece

  • Kaslamantiano, a dance with handkerchiefs, is performed during the reception.

    Japan

  • A bride wears an intricately designed white silk dress and a special wig.
  • Kiogashi, which are colored sweets in flower shapes, are part of the reception.

    Of course, at the end of the day, it would hardly matter where you hold your wedding or what kind of customs you decide to incorporate into the event, the more important decision would be the person whom you intend to spend the rest of your life with.

  • The Scottish bride blackening deserves a special mention!

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