Weddings Worldwide: Do You Know These CRAZY Bridal Traditions?
The wedding ceremony is sacred across the world, not just in the UK. However, different cultures have their own unique ways of preparing for and celebrating the happy couple’s nuptials. We take a look at a few weird and wonderful wedding traditions from around the world.
Bridal Traditions In Germany
There are countless German wedding traditions, most of which occur before the day itself. For example, before a future bride-to-be is even engaged, she saves away pennies, which will then be used to purchase her wedding shoes. This tradition is said to help the happy couple get off on the right foot.
You may deliver invitations for your wedding in the post, but in Germany, things are slightly different! They send out a Hochzeitslader, a gentleman dressed in formal, fancy wear complete with ribbons and flowers, to hand-deliver their invitations. Guests accept the invitations by pinning a ribbon from the Hochzeitslader’s outfit onto his hat, before inviting him into their home for a drink. Depending on the guest list, this can take quite some time!
Did you know that in Germany, couples must have a civil ceremony in their town registry? Then, in the days following, a church ceremony can be held, although this isn’t required. Generally, few guests will attend the civil ceremony and the bride and groom will dress relatively simply.
Polterabend’s are essential if someone is being wed in a church. Believing that negative spirits are attracted to brides, Polterabend takes place to scare them aware. On the night before the church ceremony, the bride and groom gather with their friends and family where they smash china and porcelain. The noise made is said to scare away the spirits, while illustrating that their marriage will never break. Glass is never broken, as this is believed to be bad luck.
Believe it or not, after the service, a lot of couples saw a log together. A log is set up on a sawhorses and the bride and groom must work together to saw through it, illustrating their teamwork. Instead of confetti, wedding guests throw grains of rice over the bride and groom, with legend being that each grain of rice that lands in the bride’s hair symbolises a future child!
When it comes to the evening, the bride and groom dance beneath the bride’s veil. When the music stops, single women will tear pieces off the veil. The lady left with the biggest piece is said to be the next to marry. Alternatively, instead of ripping the veil, guests simply throw money into it while it is held up.
Bridal Traditions In Spain
Aside from German weddings, ceremonies in Spain are slightly different too. For example, they don’t include bridesmaids, groomsmen, a maid of honour or best man, and the mother of the groom walks her son down the aisle. Likewise, there are no speeches and wedding rings are worn on the ring finger of the right hand.
Did you know that the wedding veil was once made from black lace? However, modern times have seen more brides wearing a white lace dress and mantilla, a type of lace headdress. The mantilla is traditionally given by the mother of the bride, who will have it embroidered especially. The mantilla is worn with a peineta — a high comb.
Similar to English weddings, they will start in the early evening and continue until the next morning. Expect the bridal party to be dancing all night long in their maxi dresses! Often, the groom will present his bride with 13 gold coins, each blessed by a priest. This act is said to bring the couple good fortune and symbolise the groom’s commitment to support his bride.
Spanish people love floral weddings, and they often choose orange blossoms! The bride will give a small flower corsage to her girlfriends. If a lady is single, she must wear her corsage upside down and if she loses it during the night, it’s believed that she will be next to be married!
Bridal Traditions In China
As China is a significantly large country, bridal traditions can vary across different regions — but they all have unique aspects.
You’ll be surprised by this, but brides from Tujia must cry for an hour each day for the entire month leading up to their special day. After the first ten days, the bride’s mother joins her in crying daily before being joined by her grandmother. As the other women join in, it’s seen as an expression of their joy.
Grooms in Yugar will aim their bow and arrow at the bride too, but the arrows don’t have any harmful points! After shooting their bride three times, the arrows are broken, showing that the couple will always love each other.
‘Good luck women’ also help brides do their hair. This woman is considered lucky if she has living parents, a spouse and children, and it is hoped she will pass on some of this good fortune to the bride.
Grooms will then have to pick their brides up from their home, but the bridal party will block him from entering! The groom is required to prove his love for his future wife through answering a series of questions about her or even by offering money in red envelopes to buy his way into the house.
Don’t expect to see Brides in northern China wear white, because they’re all about the red! In southern China, brides wear a two-piece outfit — a Qun Gua, Kwa or Cheongsam — featuring a gold phoenix or dragon detailing.
As well as this, on the wedding night, brides will be given a half-cooked dumpling. This is a signifier of family prosperity, as the word raw is linked to child birth.
Bridal Traditions In India
Just like China, Indian weddings do depend on the region. It’s not uncommon for Indian weddings to take place over several days — different to the couple’s one special day in other countries.
Brides usually take part in Mehendi ceremonies. This is where family and friends gather to apply the beautifully intricate henna. Tradition says that the deepness of the colour of the henna determines the bond between husband and wife and how well the bride will get along with her mother-in-law. Hidden within the henna are the names of the happy couple and it’s often painted on the palms, hands, forearms and legs.
In some regions, the women will wear a saree (long drape) for her wedding and in others she wears a lehenga (a long skirt). It’s common for the bride to be dressed in red or another bright colour and her clothing is stitched with an outstanding design.
The marriage becomes official when the bride and groom walk around the fire four times as verses are chanted, and the couple is tied together. The husband and wife then race back to their seats, as the one who sits first is said to be the most dominant.
These bridal traditions differ so much from UK culture, they’re often unbelievable. But, they’re all a celebration of love and happiness and are special in their own ways. Will you take any inspiration from these traditions for your special day?