No matter which country the ceremony occurs, a wedding is a very sacred event. However, different cultures have their own unique ways of preparing for and celebrating the happy couple’s nuptials. QUIZ, retailers of occasion dresses, tell us a few weird and wonderful wedding traditions from around the world.
Weddings in Germany
Many of the traditions for weddings in Germany start before the ceremony begins. 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.
As well as this, couples in this country don’t send wedding invitations by post… 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 these couples are required to have a civil ceremony in their town registry office? 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.
For those who opt for a church ceremony, tradition states that a Polterabend must take place. 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.
Newlyweds may also saw logs. 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!
But don’t worry about romance, this is covered when the bridge and groom dance beneath the 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.
Weddings in Spain
Despite being close to the UK, traditions are very different in Spain. 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 — diamond rings are a popular choice!
Believe it or not, the veil is often 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.
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.
Many brides choose orange blossoms for their flowering too. 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!
Weddings in China
As China is a large nation, traditions can depend on the region of the wedding. Tujia brides must cry for an hour a day every day for a month in the run-up to their wedding. 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.
Without the arrowheads, thankfully, grooms from the Yugar culture shoot their brides with a bow and arrow. After shooting their bride three times, the arrows are broken, showing that the couple will always love each other.
Good luck women tend to help the bride fix her hair too. 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. The groom will collect the bride from her home, where he is greeted by the bride’s friends, who block his entry into the home (it’s all in good spirits). 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.
You may not know this, but brides in Northern China usually wear a red dress! In southern China, brides wear a two-piece outfit — a Qun Gua, Kwa or Cheongsam — featuring a gold phoenix or dragon detailing.
On the night of the big day itself, brides are given a half-cooked dumpling. This is a signifier of family prosperity, as the word raw is linked to child birth.
Weddings in India
Just like China, weddings in India will also depend on which region they take place. 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 will take part of a Mehendi ceremony. 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.
Walking around a fire is a big thing too. 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.
There’s countless traditions around the world. 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? Or if you’re a guest, make sure you have the perfect party dress!