Popular Wedding Traditions Around the World
Did you know carrying a bouquet is an American-specific wedding tradition? What about serving cake and giving toasts at the reception? These traditions may seem like commonplace wedding activities, but to the rest of the world, they’re completely unique. For anyone interested in having a destination wedding (or just interested in learning about other cultures), here are the top wedding traditions in several countries around the world.
To celebrate their “I Do’s”, German brides and grooms spend the first few moments after their vows cleaning up pieces of shattered plates. German wedding guests smash plates to ward off potential evil spirits and leave the happy couple with good luck. This tradition is also used to symbolize the teamwork needed by the couple to make their relationship last. Teamwork is a popular trait German couples value as another one of their common wedding traditions involves a large log and saw. Together, they must saw the log in half and if they succeed, they have proven their ability to work so they will overcome future obstacles.
Chinese brides and grooms take their wedding traditions very seriously. One of their most common traditions? The groom shoots the bride with a bow and arrow multiple times. No, there are no actual arrowheads attached, but the groom does aim for his bride as the bullseye. During the ceremony, he will break the arrows to prove that their love is everlasting. Another intense Chinese wedding tradition? On the day of the wedding, the bridesmaids will haze the groom by putting him through specific tests and obstacles. Once he successfully completes their tasks, only then has he proven his worthiness to marry the bride. He will also pay the bridesmaids with an envelope full of money. Sounds like a good deal for the bridesmaids, right?
Congo might take the cake for having one of the most unique traditions. During the entirety of their wedding events, including the ceremony and reception, if a Congolese couple smiles, it means they aren’t serious about committing to the relationship. We’re not sure if we’d be able to commit to this tradition!
In the U.S., it’s common for a bride to want to shed some weight before the big day, right? In Mauritius, their popular wedding tradition is quite the opposite. Brides on this small island nation quite literally pack on the pounds. The heavier the bride, the more beautiful she appears to her future husband who considers a well-fed bride to be a symbol of success.
Donut towers and macaroon-filled platters run wild at U.S. weddings, but in Norway, brides and grooms are all about the wedding cake and wine – together. Yes, this tradition involves placing a bottle of wine in the middle of a towering almond cake called a kransekake. Um, yum! Another tradition Norwegian couples follow is the wearing of a crown by the bride. This crown is often adorned with little charms that twinkle when she walks and ward off any evil spirits that might threaten the happy couple.
“Spit take” takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to weddings in Kenya. After the celebration is over, a Masai bride’s father will spit on the newly betrothed couple. Sounds a bit germy, right? The point of this peculiar tradition is to avoid tempting fate by not showing too much support for the newlyweds. Not the most heartwarming wedding tradition in the world, but certainly one of the most unique!
This Filipino wedding tradition is straight out of a fairytale! At some point during the ceremony, the bride and groom open a bird cage together two release two white doves into the air. This tradition is definitely Hollywood-like, and it symbolizes the couple’s future life together that is full of prosperity and harmony.
You may have seen this popular Indian wedding tradition featured in dozens of Bollywood movies, or, when Cece marries Schmidt in “New Girl”. Either way, this distinct wedding tradition is one of the most intricate. Before the wedding, Indian brides will gather their bridal party to receive a Mendhi-style henna tattoo. This tattoo lasts for weeks after the wedding and replaces any accessories brides might need for the big day.
Couples in Romania have similar wedding traditions to those in China, but they do things a little differently. In this country, guests work with the groom to “kidnap” the bride and take her to an undisclosed location. Here, they ask her for a “gift” to give the groom in order to return her to the ceremony. Some gifts include several bottles of alcohol, and sometimes, a love song sang to the groom in front of the entire guest list.
Would you be interested in bringing any of these traditions to your ceremony? What are other popular wedding traditions around the world that we missed? If you are planning a wedding in the near (or distant) future, check out our wedding video services here to see what our team can bring to your special day. And for more tips and tricks for planning a wedding, take a look at our other blog posts to learn more!