8 Wedding Traditions From Around the World


Weddings are long-standing traditions in almost every culture throughout the world. There are intimate weddings, culturally rich weddings, and those weddings where if you’re an outsider you might not know what’s going on. So what’s the story with these traditions? Is it religion or culture?

Some places have so many different cultures under one roof that traditions can stretch far and wide, while others have just a few. Check out some interesting wedding traditions from around the world.

China

China is a very large country with firm roots dating back thousands of years. It’s clear from their weddings that they still value those traditions to this day.

  • The bride and future in-laws are formally introduced at a pre-wedding tea ceremony hosted by the in-laws at their home.
  • Red, as opposed to the ever-popular white, is the predominant color of weddings.
  • Both the bride and groom have to keep their shoes on for the entire ceremony and reception. This means no stiletto-dropping on the dance floor for the ladies!

Scotland

Scotland is where scotch is made. So it stands to reason that their pre-wedding traditions involve booze.

  • The day before their wedding, Scottish brides and grooms celebrate a day called the Blackening. This tradition involves the friends and family liquoring the bride and groom up and covering them in all things dirty - treacle, feathers, flowers, and soot. The Blackening comes from an old tradition, called the Penny Bridal ritual, in which the bride’s feet would be washed and the groom’s legs blackened with coal prior to the wedding.

Japan

The Japanese people value family over most other things, and that is evident in their weddings.

  • Japanese families - not just bride and groom - bond by sipping sake in a tradition referred to as san-san-kudo. The bride and groom each take three sips from three different sake cups, then their parents do the same. Nothing like bonding over a drink, right?

India

Indian weddings are full of colour and long-standing traditions, but with so many different cultures in the one country, the traditions vary from state to state.

  • Before the bride walks down the aisle, her friends and family draw spectacular henna tattoo designs, called mendhi, on her skin. These designs last for weeks - but sorry, guys, it’s a tradition for ladies only!
  • The groom is robbed by his bride’s sisters - only of his shoes, and only until he leaves the wedding tent. To get his shoes back, he has to bribe the ladies.
  • In certain parts of India, where astrological signs hold great significance, people born while Mars is in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th or 12th house are known as Mangliks. These women are considered to be cursed, causing their husband’s untimely death. To avoid this, Mangliks marry a tree first then cut it down.

Jewish

While Jewish people live all over the world, they all share a set of very strong marriage customs.

  • During the ceremony, the bride and groom stand under a tent called a chuppah, where they exchange vows. Traditionally, the bride and groom do not wear any jewellery under the tent as their marriage is about a unity of souls, not material possessions. Yes, this includes wedding rings!
  • After the vows are spoken, the couple drinks wine, which represents joy in the Jewish tradition. They then recite The Seven Blessings before downing another cup of wine.
  • Most people are familiar with the breaking of the glass in Jewish weddings, but not with its roots. The breaking of the glass symbolises the destruction of a temple in Jerusalem, and the couple’s connection with their Jewish people.

Germany

German weddings seem to be some of the most lighthearted, with pranks being a feature.

  • Immediately after being married, German couples work together to saw a log in half in front of their guests. This is meant to display their ability to work together and face whatever trials and tribulations that may come with their marriage.
  • The first night of marriage is often considered a special one. Unless all of your friends decide to pull pranks on you and make it as laughable as possible, as in German tradition.
  • After the wedding, a wedding party procession of honking cars signifies the sending of well wishes to the bride and groom.

United Kingdom

As per usual, the UK’s traditions centre around the royals.

  • Perhaps this applies only to royal weddings, but the bride selects bridesmaids that are younger, rather than peers.
  • The traditions involve a bit of lore, as well. It is said that the Western tradition of wearing a white dress was started by Queen Victoria in 1840. Prior to that, women simply wore their best dress.

Thailand

Thailand’s weddings are filled with customs, starting with the engagement.

  • A couple traditionally become engaged during a ceremony known asthong mun, where the groom gives gold to his fiancée in the presence of parents, friends and relatives.
  • While traditionally a dowry was paid to compensate the bride’s family, today many parents-in-law hand the dowry back to the married couple as a wedding gift, or use part of the money to pay for the wedding.

This is just a small sample of the multitudes of different wedding traditions around the world. Feel free to make up your own tradition, follow one of your family’s, or adhere to cultural norms! Nothing is set in stone. Until you’ve said “I do”, of course.

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