World Wedding Traditions Part 1
North East Wedding Band Funk Conspiracy bring you an A to Z of wedding customs, traditions and whacky facts from around the world!
A is for Argentina
Bridesmaids and the best man have never been part of a traditional wedding in Argentina. The mother of the groom and the father of the bride escort the couple getting married down the church aisle, and stand beside them through the wedding ceremony. It is also a tradition for the couple to exchange their wedding rings at the engagement, and not during the marriage vows.
B is for Bulgaria
At the beginning of the ceremony, the bride will toss a dish filled with wheat, coins and raw egg over her head. If the dish breaks it signifies good luck to come. It is also a sign of future happiness if the bride and groom each step into the church with the right foot first. We wonder if the Bulgarian brides wash the egg out before the marriage?!
C is for Czechoslovakia
The bride’s friends would often plant a tree in her garden and decorate it with ribbons and brightly-painted egg shells. The belief was that the bride would live as long as the tree.
D is for Denmark
At some point during the marriage celebration the groom will disappear and the male guests all kiss the new bride. After the groom returns his bride eventually leaves the room and all of the female guests kiss him. At a traditional Danish wedding reception, the guests will all gather around the groom during the dancing and festivities and cut his tie and socks with scissors. We hope he takes the socks off first!
E is for England
Mead, an alcoholic wine made from honey, has been drunk in Britain since Celtic times. Did you know the word ‘honeymoon’ is derived from the ancient Norse custom of having newlyweds drink Mead for a whole ‘moon’ in order to increase their fertility?
F is for France
The popularity of a bride wearing a white wedding gown on her day of matrimony began in France several hundred years ago. The custom of having fragrant flowers as decorations and bridal bouquets has also been popular for centuries and we have our neighbours to thank for this too. Each flower is supposed to represent a special and unique meaning to the bride and groom, and especially fragrant flowers helped freshen things up a bit, back in the days before deodorant and perfumes were invented!
G is for Greece
Some marriage trivia for you - this is where the word ‘wed’ comes from. It’s derived from the ancient Greek word for pledge.
H is for Hungary
New brides are presented with an egg. By smashing it she would ensure the health of her future children. (Eggs are seemingly popular in traditional European weddings!) Traditionally the new bride would present her husband with a gift of seven scarves, seven being a lucky number and signifying her desire for a long and happy marriage.
I is for Israel
The traditional wedding custom of a bride wearing ‘something blue’ with her wedding dress originated in ancient Israel. An Israeli bride about to be married wore a blue ribbon, symbolising fidelity.
J is for Jamaica
Traditional wedding cake is a rich fruitcake liberally laced with rum! Following the celebration, the wedding party slices the remainder of the wedding cake and mails them to friends and relatives unable to attend the wedding reception. We are assuming the copious amounts of Rum in the cake keep it fresh – what if they are using snail mail to friends abroad?!
K is for Korea
After the Korean newlyweds have exchanged their vows, the groom formally introduces his new wife to his parents. The groom's father may throw red dates at his daughter-in-law to bring her luck in fertility. Marriages in Korea incorporate ducks or geese into the ceremony. These two animals are important symbols in the culture as they mate for life and represent faithfulness.
L is for Latvia
On her wedding day, a traditional Latvian bride wears her white wedding dress and veil until midnight. The women at the reception then remove her wedding veil and pass it down to one of the younger sisters, who will presumably marry next. It is only once the wedding gown and veil are removed that the bride becomes the wife. Sometimes at the wedding reception, the new bride is kidnapped by the groomsmen. The groom must then pay a ransom (sing a song or buy a round of drinks!) to get her back.
Written by Navella Caretto.