Weddings

Interesting Wedding Traditions from Around the World

picture of hands with henna design, one of the wedding traditions from India

Wedding traditions vary around the world. If your family comes from another country, include this country’s wedding traditions in your own ceremony. This makes it more unique and personal. Or include one of these lucky wedding traditions from around the world for extra luck.

The Money Dance

In Cuba, Greece, Poland, and parts of the southern United States, men pin money to the bride’s dress to pay for a dance with her. This helps fund the bride and groom’s new life as a married couple. There’s a similar Italian tradition. The bride carries a satin bag or wears it around her neck. People drop in money for dances or as presents for the couple.

Coins in the Bride’s Shoes

Swedish brides place a silver coin from their fathers in their left shoe and a gold coin from their mothers in their right shoe. These coins symbolize the hope that the couple’s marriage will prosper and the bride will never have to go without.

All Night Dancing

Wedding receptions in the U.S. often last between two and six hours. In France the wedding couple often keeps their friends and family dancing all night. The guests stay until they fall down or need to leave for work! All night dancing is also sometimes a part of Moroccan weddings.

Iron in the Pocket

Italian grooms carry a piece of iron in their pocket to help keep away evil spirits.

Jumping the Broom

In Ghana, the bride and groom jump over a broom. This symbolizes the sweeping away of past misdeeds and evil spirits. Traditionally, whoever jumps the highest over the broom is the head of the household.

The Smashing of the Vase

In Italy, couples smashing a vase after the wedding ceremony. The number of resulting pieces represents the number of years they will be happy in their marriage.

The 12 Symbols of Life

South African weddings always include 12 symbols of life. These symbols are a holy book, a spoon, a spear, salt, pepper, honey, bitter herbs, a broom, wine, a cooking pot, a spear, and a shield. They tie together the wrists of the bride and groom with grass, symbolizing their uniting as a couple.

Stealing Kisses

Whenever the bride leaves the table, other ladies at the reception can steal kisses from the groom in Sweden. Likewise, when the groom leaves, other men can steal kisses from the bride.

Engagement Ring for the Groom

In Sweden, the grooms get engagement rings too, not just the bride.

The Wearing of the Green

Italian brides wear something green the night before their wedding to bring good luck.

Yellow, Blue, and Red Ribbons

Mexican brides often sew ribbons into their undergarments to symbolize food, money, and passion in the future. The bride wearing a blue slip is another of the wedding traditions in Mexico.

Two Bridal Bouquets

In Mexico, the bride carries two bouquets and leaves one in the church for the Virgin Mary.

Three Golden Rings

In Sweden, the groom gives the bride three rings instead of two. The third ring is for pregnancy.

Horseshoes

In Ireland, brides usually try to wear a small horseshoe somewhere on their outfit. Then they keep it so the ends of the horseshoe are always facing up to keep all the luck in.

Henna

Wedding traditions in India and Morocco include the bride and her attendants getting henna tattoos on their hands and feet. The bride’s family does this for the bride in Jordan as well and the women sing and tell stories during the process to keep everyone entertained. This means there’s no need to pick out wedding jewelry, as the henna tattoos decorate the bride for about two weeks.

Baby on the Bed

In Czechoslovakia, someone puts a baby on the bride and groom’s bed before the ceremony to promote fertility. For further fertility promotion, they also toss lentils, peas, or rice on the bride and groom after the wedding.

Take a Big Bite

In Russia, couples share a sweetbread called karavaya decorated with symbols of prosperity and faithfulness. Whoever takes the biggest bite without using their hands is the head of the household.

A Pinch for Luck

All the single female wedding guests pinch Egyptian brides for luck.

Release of the Doves

In the Philippines, couples release a male and a female dove into the air after the ceremony to represent a harmonious life.

Ribbon Cakes

The wedding cakes in Peruvian weddings features ribbons with charms attached. Whichever single lady pulls out the ribbon with the ring attached will be the next to wed. Cake pulls are also a tradition in New Orleans and some other parts of the southern U.S., although sometimes people limit the tradition to those in the wedding party and not all single female wedding guests.

Sneak Away

In Venezuela, it’s good luck for the bride and groom if they can sneak away from the reception before it’s over without getting caught. However, it’s also good luck for anyone who catches them trying to sneak away early.

Wedding Newspaper

In Germany, families sometimes produce a wedding newspaper containing stores and pictures of the bride and groom. Then they sell this newspaper at the wedding, and the bride and groom use the proceeds to help fund their honeymoon.

Tie and Garter Auction

In Spain, they cut the groom’s tie (and sometimes the bride’s garter) into pieces and auction them off. They say this brings good luck to those who receive a piece.

Myrtle Cuttings

Brides in Wales include myrtle in their bouquets to symbolize love and give a cutting to each of the bridesmaids. The bridesmaids plant the cuttings and if one gets her cutting to bloom, she’ll be the next to marry.

A Race to the Carpet

Russian Orthodox weddings involve the couple reciting their vows on a special carpet. However, instead of a stately walk down the aisle, the couple races to the carpet, with the winner declared the head of the household.

Light a Candle

Columbian wedding traditions include the bride and groom each using their own candle to light a third candle after they exchange rings to symbolize their unity.