Wedding Traditions from Around the World

We're so used to wedding traditions in our own country that we don't even second guess them. We plan bachelorette parties, make sure the bride has something old, new, borrowed, and blue on her wedding day, and anxiously await the bouquet toss to see who will be the next to marry.

But where do these traditions come from, and what do they mean?

Believe it or not, something old, new, borrowed, and blue comes from an Old English rhyme: "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe."

Though no one carries around sixpence, the first four objects are signs of good luck.
Something old signifies continuity; something new represents optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes borrowed happiness; and something blue represents purity, love, and fidelity.

Like the "something old, something new" custom, the origin of throwing the bouquet also originated in England as an alternative to guests ripping the bride's dress for good luck.
But what about wedding traditions outside of England? In Germany, it's tradition for the bride and groom the saw a log in half together.

In India, the bridal party steals the groom's shoes. There are countless other fun and quirky wedding traditions from around the world. We created a visual of fourteen different rituals so you can see how people all over celebrate their special day.

Throwing The Bouquet


Throwing the Bouquet

Origin: England
In 14th century Europe, it was common for Wedding guests to rip off sections of the bride's dress for good luck
To prevent this, brides started throwing the garter instead.
This led to guests, especially men, attempting to rip the garter off.
Eventually it became tradition for the groom to remove and throw the garter and the bride to throw the bouquet.




Ransoming The Bride


Ransoming The Bride

Origin: Romania
In Romania, it is tradition for the groom's friends to 'kidnap' the bride from the reception.
They drive her to an undisclosed location and negotiate a ransom, usually alcohol, with the groom.
Once a deal is struck, the kidnappers return the bride to the reception in exchange for their payment.




Lovespoons


Lovespoons

Origin: Wales
Originally these were hand carved by young men in order to court women.
The spoons were given to a man's lady of interest to court her and express his desire to feed and support her.
Now lovespoons are often exchanged on a couple's wedding day to commemorate their love.




Carrying Fire


Carrying Fire

Origin: South Africa
In South Africa, the parents of the bride and the parents of the groom bring fire from the hearths of their homes to the home of the newlyweds.
By lighting the hearth at the home of the newlyweds,
the two households are joined




Kissing the Newlyweds


Kissing the Newlyweds

Origin: Sweden
Newlyweds in Sweden may be kissing more than each other on their wedding night.
If the bride leaves the room for any reason, other women are allowed to kiss the groom.
Same goes if the groom leaves the room for any reason.




Dancing Feet


Dancing Feet

Origin: Ireland
During traditional Irish Weddings, the bride had to keep at least one foot on the ground at all times while dancing
If both feet left the floor at the same time,
legend had it that fairies would swoop under the bride and carry her away.




Blackening the Bride and Groom


Blackening the Bride and Groom

Origin: Scotland
This originated as a practice to ward off evil spirits and bring good lick before marriage.
The bride and / or groom is captured by friends and family the day before the wedding and covered in soot, mud, flour, feathers and other sticky substances,
and loudly paraded around town. Sometimes the victim ends up tied to a tree or post, or thrown in a body of water




Stealing the Groom's Shoes


Stealing the Groom's Shoes

Origin: India
When the groom enters the mandap for the ceremony, he must take off his shoes.
The unmarried girls from the bride's side steal and hide them. The men on the groom's side must try to steal them back or find them.
before the groom can leave the mandap he must put on his shoes, so the girls will often ransom the shoes to someone on the groom's side.




Cutting a Log


Cutting a Log

Origin: Germany
After the traditional wedding ceremony, bride and groom work together to saw a log in half.
This represents the first obstacle the couple must face in their marriage and symbolizes how by working as a team,
they can accomplish difficult tasks.




Money Dance


Money Dance

Origin: Greece
In Greece, the bride and groom have to dance for their wedding gifts.
In the customary money dance, the newlyweds share a dance together while their friends and family come up and pin money to their clothes,
drape money over them, or adorn them with money crowns.




Breaking a White Bell


Breaking a White Bell

Origin: Guatemala
A white bell filled with rice and flour is placed at the entrance of the reception hall.
This represents prosperity and abundance for the newlywed couple.
To welcome the bride and groom to the reception, the groom's mother breaks the bell over their heads.




Getting a Goose


Getting a Goose

Origin: Korea
The wild goose is an important symbol because it keeps the same partner for life.
Before the ceremony, the groom presents a wooden goose to the bride's mother as a promise of lifelong fidelity.
In the past, grooms used to present live wild geese.




Unity Bowl


Unity Bowl

Origin: Australia
Guests are given stones or marbles to hold throughout the wedding. At the end of the ceremony the stones are placed in the unity bowl, which the couple will take home as a reminder of their friends' and families' support.
Sometimes different coloured stones are given to each generation, and stones are placed in the bowl from the oldest to youngest to build a strong foundation for the couple.




Sake Sharing Ceremony


Sake Sharing Ceremony

Origin: Japan
The bride, groom and both sets of parents take three sips of sake from each of the three cups of sake.
The first cuprepresents the three couples partaking in the ceremony, the second represents the three human flaws: Hatred, Passion and Ignorance,
The third represents deliverance from these flaws.





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