You might think that weddings have changed in recent years, and you’re right.
Due to changes in the law and personal tastes, people now get married in hotels, golf clubs, even at their favorite football team’s ground!
Orthodox weddings are still popular, yes, but the traditions that we are so familiar with are not as common as they once were.
However, around the world wedding traditions and custom still make up a large part of the ceremony itself. Whether that’s what the bride wears, or the role that friends, family and guests play on the big day.
So here’s a look at 10 national tying-the-knot traditions from countries across the globe.
It’s bad news for any Lebanese groom looking for a lie-in on the morning of his wedding. A traditional ceremony kicks off with music, dancing and joyful shouting right outside the groom’s doors. This is the zaffe, a rowdy and traditional escort made by the friends and family. The group then escorts the groom to his bride’s house, sending them off to the wedding ceremony in a shower of flower petals while shouting out blessings and good luck messages.
Before a Russian wedding, the groom shows up at the bride’s home and asks for his beloved. In jest, her friends and family refuse his entry until he pays up in gifts, money, jewellery or even just by humiliating himself in public. This is often in the form of silly dances, riddles, or performing goofy tests that prove he’ll make a worthy husband. Once the groom has passed this test, or vykup nevesty, as it is known, he’s allowed to meet his bride-to-be.
After a Pakistani wedding, the couple returns home for a ceremony called the “showing of the face.” As wedding guests hold a shawl over the couple’s heads, the bride doesn’t removes the veil she’s been wearing throughout the wedding ceremony. While the newlyweds are busy gazing at one another, the bride’s female relatives take the groom’s shoes and demand money for their safe return.
- South Korea
Before a traditional South Korean wedding the groom can look forward to something of a beating from his party. Foot whipping – also known as bastinado or falaka – involves the beating of a groom’s bare feet with a cane by his groomsman and is said to be a test of the groom’s strength and character.
Sometimes, both the bride and groom wear white on their wedding day to symbolize purity. And it’s not just the bride who is walked down the aisle – the groom’s parents escort him to the Chuppah with the bride and her parents following on behind.
Traditionally, Spanish women used to wear black on their wedding day. Now it’s more common for white dresses to be worn, though veils are almost always present – symbolising God’s protection for the bride. As for the men they wear embroidered shirts on their wedding day, often handmade by their future wives in the lead-up to the big day
In Germany it’s tradition for guests visit the home of bride the night before the wedding, and break any porcelain object they can get their hands on. This act is thought to bring good luck to the couple and the resulting clean-up operation is meant to test their ability to work together in later life.
On the morning of the wedding day, the groom makes his way to the bride’s home, where the bridesmaids demand that he prove his desire to marry the bride by offering cash gifts. Once the ladies are satisfied with his offerings, they deem him worthy of entering, and he then joins the bride’s parents for tea. As for the bride she will wear the traditional qipao, on the wedding day, a bright-red silk dress with intricate gold embroidery. But at the reception, she will often change gowns several times throughout the night.
What a bride and groom wear on their wedding day in Mexico varies greatly. From simple white cotton to a colourfully embroidered outfit or Spanish-inspired mantilla veils for the bride while the groom usually opts for a lightly coloured guayabera and a loose-fitting shirt. As for the ceremony, the groom presents his bride with 13 gold coins, which symbolize Christ and his apostles.
There is a tradition in Sweden that requires that the bride carries coins in her shoes; one silver coin in her left shoe from her father, and one gold coin in her right from her mother. This is meant to bring good luck and ensure financial stability. Traditionally the bride will also wear a garland of myrtle leaves on her head to symbol innocence.
This article has been written and researched by journalist and blogger Matthew Crist on behalf of IC Glamour, specialists in Pakistani wedding dresses and stockists of traditional Asian clothing.