Love is universal, but the way we celebrate weddings is different around the world. If you’re going to marry someone from another country or culture, or if you’re heading to a destination wedding, you may experience different wedding rituals than you’re used to. Scroll down and get to know some fun and unusual wedding traditions around the world.
Polish wedding tradition: money dance
In Poland they came up with a smart idea to help the newly-married couple pay their wedding and honeymoon. During a money dance, male guests pay to dance briefly with the bride, and nowadays sometimes female guests pay to dance with the groom. Traditionally, the bride wears an apron over her wedding dress, and guests pin money to her in exchange for a dance. The Money Dance, also known as Dollar Dance, now appears as a wedding tradition in many cultures around the world.
Indian wedding tradition: Mehndi / henna
In Indian cultures, it’s a wedding tradition to perform a Mehndi ceremony the night before the wedding. Mehndi, also known as henna, is a form of body art. The bride (and other female wedding guests) gets the red-orange henna on her palms, back of the hands and feet. The core significance of applying it, is to take advantage of its natural medicinal herbal remedies, relieving the bride of any stress for her big day. The tradition also says the color of the Mehndi brings happiness to the bride and the groom, and the deeper the color, the happier they will be in their marriage. Fun fact: the name of the groom is usually hidden somewhere in the pattern.
Congolese wedding tradition: don’t smile
Whereas in Western cultures we consider our wedding as the happiest day of our lives and newly-weds usually have a big smile on their face the entire day, in Congo brides and grooms must keep their happiness in check according to tradition. During the entire day, it’s forbidden for them to smile. The reason they keep this tradition, is that they think if you smile during your wedding, you’re not serious about marriage.
Scottish wedding tradition: blackening
When we got to know about this wedding ritual, we were instantly happy we don’t have to get married in Scotland or Northern Ireland. Blackening is in those countries a tradition, performed in the days or weeks prior to marriages. The bride and/or groom are captured by friends and family and get covered in filthy food and other substances, such as curdled milk, dead fish, spoiled food, tar and feathers. After that, they are paraded publicly and taken out for a night of drinking. The wedding tradition says that if they can handle this kind of treatment, they can handle anything in their marriage.
German wedding tradition: smashing plates
In Germany, wedding guests bring any type of porcelain on the night before the wedding (called Polterabend) to smash them. Plates, stoneware, flowerpots or ceramics such as tiles, sinks and toilet bowls are happily thrown items. Sounds fun, right? The belief in the effectiveness of this custom is expressed by the adage “shards bring luck”. Afterwards, the couple is expected to clean up the mess together. This is supposed to make the couple aware that marriage is not always going to be easy, but if they work together, they can overcome any challenge.
English/western wedding tradition: throwing the wedding bouquet
Although we’re used to the tradition of the wedding bouquet in the western culture, it’s kind of strange, isn’t it? Have you ever thought of why we do it? The wedding ritual originated in England and is not as cute as it seems. In the middle ages, English brides were considered lucky, and to get something of that luck, unmarried female wedding guests would try to grab something of her belongings (like her hair, a piece of her dress or the flowers). To make her escape and to avoid a ruined dress and the stress of being grabbed, brides began throwing their bouquets to distract the guests. This is where the wedding tradition has begun and brides in many western cultures around the world still throw their bouquets.
Australian wedding tradition: unity bowl
An Australian wedding ceremony might feature the wedding tradition of a unity bowl. Guests are given decorative, colored stones and are asked to hold them during the ceremony. At the end, guests place the stones in a bowl, which the couple will keep and display afterwards to remind them of the support and presence of their friends and family.
Russian wedding tradition: pay a ransom
According to a custom, a Russian man must pay a “ransom” for his lady to his family in law. The man must go to the bride’s parent’s house on the morning of the wedding and prove his worth by giving the bride’s family gifts, or simply humiliating himself by dancing and singing. The bride’s family also kidnaps the bride and hide her before the ceremony until her partner has completed a series of challenges which are set up by the bridesmaids. If a task cannot be completed, a payment of either real cash, chocolates, or flowers must be made to the bridesmaids as compensation. This tradition should show how much he loves her.
Western wedding tradition: white wedding dress
Ever wondered why brides wear white dresses often, especially in Western countries? This hasn’t always been the case. The custom is believed to have originated with Queen Victoria, who wore a self-made white dress when she married Prince Albert in 1840. White was considered the color of mourning at the time, and conventional wedding dresses were colored, but the queen of the UK and Ireland didn’t care – how awesome ;-)? In the years after the royal wedding, the shock wore off and white wedding dresses slowly became more popular. Later, many people assumed that white dresses intended to symbolize virginity, though this was not the original intention.
French wedding tradition: the chamber pot
The last wedding ritual in this list of wedding traditions around the world, is very French and a little odd if you ask us. Guests gift the newlyweds a new chamber pot at the end of the wedding meal, containing a concoction of various drink and food products, known as the pôt de chambre. The newlyweds must consume it. The idea behind this is that it provides the couple with energy and strength for the night ahead.
We hope you enjoyed reading this blog post with 10 wedding traditions around the world. Are you attending a wedding anytime soon? Make sure to check out our bold suits to mix some fun into your outfit! ‘Cause we think the tradition of wearing plain suits to a wedding is made to be broken.