Wherever you are in the world, getting married is a special occasion. However, different cultures have their own unique ways of preparing for and celebrating the happy couple’s nuptials. QUIZ, retailers of occasion dresses and plus size tops, tell us a few weird and wonderful wedding traditions from around the world.
Traditions in Germany
When it comes to wedding traditions, Germany have many. Some of them begin before the big day is underway. 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.
It’s common for people to post their wedding invitations to their guests, but not in Germany. Here, 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!
It’s tradition for German couples to get married in a 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.
If a couple decide to wed in a church however, it’s traditional for a Polterabend to take place a few days after the civil ceremony. 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.
After the service is over, some Germans get active by sawing 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!
When it comes to the reception, the bride’s veil is held up and the bride and groom dance underneath it. 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.
Traditions in Spain
There are some noticeable differences between wedding traditions in Spain and the UK. 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.
With true tradition, the wedding dress and veil was 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.
What about timings? Traditional Spanish weddings will begin in the early evening and continue into the early hours. 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.
One thing that’s a big part of traditional weddings in Spain is flowers. 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!
Traditions in China
Due to the size of the country, traditions can vary from region to region, yet each has their own special meaning.
One unusual tradition involved Tujia brides, they 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.
In the Yugar culture, brides are shot by their grooms with a bow and arrow (thankfully, the arrows are free from their arrowheads!). After shooting their bride three times, the arrows are broken, showing that the couple will always love each other.
Before the wedding, when the bride is getting ready, a ‘good luck woman’ will help the bride do her 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.
The husband-to-be 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.
In northern China, brides will traditionally wear a red dress or Qi Pao, embroidered with gold and silver detailing. In southern China, brides wear a two-piece outfit — a Qun Gua, Kwa or Cheongsam — featuring a gold phoenix or dragon detailing.
On the evening of the wedding, the bride is given a half-cooked dumpling. This is a signifier of family prosperity, as the word raw is linked to child birth.
Traditions in India
Similar to in China, it depends on the region that the wedding is taking place as to the traditions that are followed. It’s not uncommon for Indian weddings to take place over several days — different to the couple’s one special day in other countries.
Before the big day, the bride partakes in 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.
What about the outfit? This also depends 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.
One big part of an Indian wedding is the walk around the fire. 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.
As we can see traditions vary significantly depending on where you live. 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?
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