Love is love all over the world. But how it’s expressed varies from culture to culture. Wedding traditions range from the sweet (think kissing the new bride anytime her husband leaves the room, like they do in Sweden) to the savage (as in the feet whipping that occurs in Korea).
Many weddings around the world also adopt popular western traditions like the bouquet toss or wearing something borrowed and blue. However, many others predate these by hundreds or even thousands of years.
No matter how different or unique they are on the outside, these customs all share the same end goal: a shared lifetime of joy and happiness.
Here’s how marriages in different cultures begin their happily ever afters.
Spirit scaring crown: Norway
Norwegian brides wear a silver or gold crown with little charms hanging from all around. Their subtle noises are thought to deter bad energies and evil spirits who seek to split up the happy couple.
Dove release: Philippines
White doves may seem like a natural fit at any wedding around the world. In the Philippines, these lovely birds aren’t just for show though. Sending them off into the world together is said to ensure the bride and groom share love and success throughout their long marriage.
Reception sneak away: Venezuela
Where some Western cultures make a big to-do out of the wedding send-off, like throwing white confetti, Venezuelan couples are much more covert about their exits. In fact, it’s said to be good luck if they can sneak off during the reception without anyone noticing them before they’re gone.
Mehndi drawing: India
A calm bride is a happy bride. But with all the stress from the wedding, sometimes they need a little help. That’s why women in India don intricate henna tattoos. These delicate pieces are supposed to infuse serenity with ink that outlasts the big day by at least two weeks.
Shot through the heart: China
Chinese grooms take the concept of cupid’s arrow to heart. On the day of their wedding, they aim an arrow – whose tip has been removed – directly at their bride to be. They do this several times over, and then collect each arrow, where it is to be broken in half during the ceremony. It is said that doing so ensures a long happy life together.
No smiles allowed: Congo
Congolese couples say that marriage is no laughing matter. In fact, they’re traditionally not even allowed to smile on the day of their wedding. Nope, not even for pictures!
Clean shaven Greek Wedding: Greece
Grecian grooms first enjoy a shave from their best man, or koumparos. Afterwards, their new mother-in-law feeds them almonds and honey that represent sweetness and abundance in the marriage.
A smashing ceremony: Germany
Broken porcelain dishes are a common site at many German ceremonies. Guests are encouraged to break them as a way to ward off evil spirits. The couple then cleans up the mess together, solidifying their bond and serving as a reminder that they can face any challenges that come their way, so long as they do it together.
Camel dance: Niger
Look out Cotton Eye Joe, there’s a new dance in town. A rhythmic drum beat encourages the camel to shake a tail feather during the wedding reception. Traditionally this is done out in the desert where the camel can really get its groove on.
Candy commode: France
As you might expect, French wedding receptions are totally decadent. We’re talking rich chocolates, champagne and other hand crafted treats. But the bride and groom must forego their plates and instead fish these delicacies from a clean toilet! It’s said to strengthen the relationship. We’ll leave you to chew on that.
No cold feet: Korea
Groom’s in Korea can expect to have the bottoms of their feet whipped and beaten with items like dried fish. He also has to correctly answer trivia questions at the same time. It’s said to ensure he has a long memory for kindness and help the couple stay on their feet.
The sock shimmy: Canada
French Canadians enlist the help of their older siblings to do a special dance wearing colorful socks. As they do the other wedding guests throw money at them to help fund the happy couple’s honeymoon.
Some wedding customs and traditions look very similar to those we have in the states. Many involve throwing rice or eating some kind of cake as harbingers of fertility. Those that are more whimsical are just as important to brides and grooms of different cultures. And hey, good marriages take work. If a little toilet champagne was all you needed to ensure you a happy matrimony, wouldn’t you have at least a sip?
Want to stick with something more traditional? Contact us!