10 Wedding traditions from around the world: Every country and culture has its own customs for tying the knot. In the United States, traditions such as the bride walking down the aisle with her father, throwing the bouquet, changing rings, and wearing old, new, borrowed, and blue items are well-practiced. But other countries and cultures have their own traditions—some more unpredictable than others. And as a traveler and a true citizen of the world, you may want to draw inspiration for your wedding from the traditions of your favorite international destinations.
Here are 10 customs past and present from cultures around the world that may pique your interest and provide some much-needed inspiration.
Green was traditionally a symbol of luck and fertility in Italian weddings. In the past, brides used to add green color to their outfits the evening before their weddings. It will come in the form of a sash or brooch during the rehearsal dinner.
Chinese couples have historically turned to astrologers to help them choose their wedding dates. The names and birthdays of the bride and groom are taken into account. Astronomical activities are also analyzed. Dates most likely to bring lifelong happiness and prosperity to the couple are then chosen. Some dates are considered particularly unlucky for some couples and others are considered universally lucky for all depending on the year.
At Swedish weddings, the bride is not accompanied by her father as she walks down the aisle. Instead, the bride and groom walk hand in hand to symbolize their new journey together. The concept of being “given” indicates ownership is not culturally acceptable.
In Japan, a ritual called San San Kudo is performed during the wedding ceremony. From the shallow cups of sake, the bride and groom take three sips each and then their parents take a total of nine sips. The number nine is considered very lucky. And the simultaneous participation of the married couple and their parents makes this practice symbolically binding.
In Cuba, like all of us, wedding ceremonies can be a real hit to the wallet. To help offset the costs, a penny dance is performed during the festivities. That is the bride dances with the male guests at the wedding as the men put money on her dress. These offerings are seen as thanksgiving and wedding gifts. Mudra dances of various forms can be found all over the world.
It is said that in some parts of Nigerian culture a list of items prepared by the bride’s family is given to the groom before the wedding. If he cannot present these gifts to the bride before the big day, she cannot get married. Items can sometimes be quite expensive or obscure. This can be a real test for the groom-to-be.
For German brides, preparations traditionally begin early. By this I mean, at birth. It is said that when a baby girl is born, her family plants the seeds of the tree. And before her wedding day, trees are sold to help pay for the festivities.
- Northern and Western India
In these regions of India, grooms traditionally ride on horseback to their wedding venue surrounded by friends and family, who sing, dance, and play music on foot. This is a tradition known as the procession, which is a symbol of masculinity and freedom. If you or your fiancé are a horse-lover, maybe riding a horse, or going on horseback, is for you.
In France, the wedding cake is called pice monte or croquembouche. It’s made from dozens of medium-sized cream puffs that have been stacked into a tall and pointed pyramid and drizzled with liquid caramel. Yum.
In the Andean mountains of Peru, the colors and patterns of textiles and fabrics are worth seeing. And the wedding days are no exception when the bride and groom wear traditional outfits with multicolored and patterned fabrics. Modern Peruvian-inspired brides these days can opt for a white dress but pay homage to the culture by adding brightly colored embroidery to the skirt of their dress.
What are the international wedding traditions that inspire you? 10 Wedding traditions from around the world.