10 Amazing Wedding Traditions from Around the World
by Angela Tufvesson
April 11, 2019 / Engagement and Weddings
From the bride walking down the aisle in a white gown to the cutting of a three-tiered wedding cake and a choreographed first dance, Aussie wedding traditions are so popular that most non-traditional couples still take part.
But even though marriage is almost universal, tying the knot is different everywhere. Other countries and cultures are home to an enormous array of wedding traditions that include releasing doves, smashing kitchenware and even throwing money.
Here are some of our favourite wedding traditions from around the world. Click each link or scroll down to read more.
Release Doves in the Philippines
After a Filipino wedding ceremony, the couple releases a pair of white doves – one male and one female – to symbolise harmony and peace in their new life together. The doves are often on display in a decorative cage for guests to view, and many couples choose a poem or song to accompany the release of the doves.
Smash Kitchenware in Germany
The night before a German wedding, guests gather at the bride’s parents’ home to break porcelain – plates, mugs, flowerpots, toilet seats and any other objects they’ve brought along. Outside, of course. The practice is meant to bring good luck to the couple. Next comes the fun part: after the porcelain has been broken, the couple cleans it up, which teaches them that they can work through difficult situations together.
Kidnap the Bride in Romania
No one panics if the bride goes missing before the wedding in Romania because it’s tradition for friends and family – or hired entertainers – to ‘kidnap’ her. To get his bride back the groom must pay her ‘ransom’ with acts like buying drinks or grand romantic gestures. Bride-napping has also spread to other European countries like Russia and Germany.
Get Henna in India
Indian weddings are nothing short of extravagant, and the same goes for the intricate henna – or mehndi – designs brides have painted on their hands and feet the day before the big day. Many brides host a mehndi ceremony for female relatives from both sides of the family. It takes hours to achieve the look that’s supposed to help calm wedding stress. Thankfully, it lasts about two weeks.
Choose Sponsors in Mexico
Mexican couples choose sponsors – godparents, or ‘padrinos’ and ‘madrinas’ – to guide them in married life. The sponsors are usually a happy couple whose marriage the couple hopes to emulate. At the wedding, the sponsors accept responsibility for an aspect of the ceremony – signing the marriage certificate, lighting a unity candle or serving as witnesses.
Toss the Bouquet in the UK
Sure, Aussie brides often toss the bouquet, but the tradition actually originates in the UK. These days it’s said that whoever catches the bouquet will marry next, but hundreds of years ago in ye olde England it was considered good luck to touch the bride. To distract overeager guests, brides began tossing their bouquets, which were also believed to bring good luck. Luckily, the bride-grappling tradition died down once guests realised they could stay calm and wait for the bouquet.
Pay to Dance With the Bride in Cuba
Brides dance with guests the world over, but in Cuba the dance comes with a price. Male guests who dance with the bride are required to pin money to her dress. The ‘money dance’ is meant to help the couple pay for their new life together, and it’s also popular in Poland, Greece and southern parts of the US.
Hold a Tea Ceremony in China
Tea is a big deal in China and especially at weddings. In fact, tea ceremonies are the most significant tradition at a Chinese wedding. At the bride’s home, the couple kneels on two red cushions and serves tea to the bride’s parents, who give a blessing or gift to the couple. Tea is then served to grandparents, uncles, aunties, siblings and cousins, and the whole process is repeated at the groom’s home.
Indulge in a Croquembouche in France
Instead of fruit cake, French couples often serve a croquembouche as the wedding cake. The MasterChef favourite – a fabulously tall tower of cream-filled pastry balls piled into a cone and bound with caramel – is usually decorated with fruits, nuts and glazes. It’s a centuries-old tradition that’s decadent, over-the-top and sure to impress.
Throw Money on the Dance Floor in Nigeria
The ‘money spray’ is hugely popular at Nigerian weddings. On the dance floor, guests delicately place money on the bride’s head, or simply throw it on the floor, to keep the newlyweds dancing – and to help the couple in their new life together. It’s common for older guests to participate enthusiastically, and bridesmaids will usually be tasked with the job of collecting the spray.