No matter where you are across the globe, getting married is often a significant moment — especially the moment when the wedding rings are placed on the fingers. However, different cultures have their own unique ways of preparing for and celebrating the happy couple’s nuptials.
QUIZ, retailers of occasion dresses and going out tops, tell us a few weird and wonderful wedding traditions from around the world.
Bride traditions in Germany
Traditions start well before the special day in Germany. 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.
Don’t expect an invite in the post however. 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!
Couples must get married in their local registry too. 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.
Believing that negative spirits are attracted to brides, Polterabend takes place to scare them aware if they opt for a church ceremony. 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.
A lot of happy couples then saw logs together. A log is set up on a sawhorse 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!
Aside from all of this oddness, the bride and groom will still dance romantically 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.
Bride traditions in Spain
Although we’re close in proximity, weddings in Spain are completely different. 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.
Some traditions like the wedding dress being made out of black lace still stand in some regions! 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.
Flowers are a big part of Spanish weddings. Many choose the orange blossom to symbolise purity. 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!
Bride traditions in China
As China is a large country home to countless regions and cultures, traditions for weddings can vary depending on location.
Interestingly, Tujia brides must cry for an hour each day for a month. 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.
However, in the Yugar culture, grooms shoot their brides with bows and arrows — thankfully there is no sharp end! After shooting their bride three times, the arrows are broken, showing that the couple will always love each other.
As well as this, bridges are assigned ‘good luck women’. 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.
When the groom comes to pick up his bride, her bridal party will try to stop his entry for some fun before the ceremony. 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.
In southern China, brides wear a two-piece outfit — a Qun Gua, Kwa or Cheongsam — featuring a gold phoenix or dragon detailing. A tradition on the wedding night is for the bride to be given a half-cooked dumpling. This is a signifier of family prosperity, as the word raw is linked to child birth.
Bride traditions in India
Indian traditions also depend on which region you are born in. 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 often take part in a Mehendi ceremony before the special day. 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.
Outfits depend on where the bride was born. 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.
A lot of couples from India like to walk around a fire 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.