Wedding Traditions

By Julie Price

July 7, 2014 4 min read

Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Boy proposes with a ring. Girl says yes. They are engaged. A wedding cake is ordered, one that will most likely be cut while a bunch of cameras flash, capturing the new couple as they feed each other slices, trying to smear their new spouse's lips with frosting. Tradition No. 1.

Then, of course, you have the bouquet toss where all of the "single" ladies run to the center of the floor, awaiting a blind flower throw that promises the lucky catcher will be the next to wed. Tradition No. 2.

Then the groom spins around his beautiful new bride, slowly and seductively pulling the garter from her leg and tossing it to an ecstatic single guy, who then gets to dance with the woman who caught the bouquet. Tradition No. 3.

There are many, many more.

But while the U.S. has its own wedding traditions that could seem quite strange to someone visiting and completely normal to Americans, the same goes for other countries. Here are some unique foreign traditions.

Ireland: The bride's feet must stay on the floor while she's dancing, otherwise there's potential for her to be carried away by evil fairies.

Sweden: Whenever the bride or groom leaves their table to use the restroom or converse with their guests, other guests rush to the table and kiss whoever is left sitting behind. Lots of times.

Japan: The deal is officially sealed with several sips of sake, making the marriage official.

India: Indian weddings tend to span several days of celebrations and includes gift giving among the family, the bride's body from her wrists to her ankles being decorated beforehand, and the bride and groom adorning each other with flower necklaces the day of the main ceremony.

Malaysia: Since the ceremony focuses on creating a baby-making environment, guests are sometimes given the gift of hard-boiled eggs to represent fertility for the bride.

Russia: At the ceremony following the wedding itself, the bride and groom will take shots of vodka with their guests and kiss until they can no longer taste the strong flavor of the alcohol on their tongues.

African tribal regions: "Jumping the broom" is a must for many of these tribes, as it signifies a sweeping of the past, letting go, and moving forward to better times ahead.

Thailand: The night before the wedding, a Buddhist ceremony is held to honor and respect the bride-to-be's ancestors.

Australia: On the wedding day, the bride often receives a Bible as a gift that can be passed from generation to generation. There will be a section in the Bible reserved for keeping track of births and deaths in the family.

Italy: The traditions mostly revolve around good food (sometimes up to 14 courses) and wine (from local vineyards). Some of the food and refreshment costs are offset by the little satchel, used to collect money from guests, that is passed around by the bride,

France: Consider yourself special if you get invited to the dinner served at a French wedding. Often, guests will join tables later if they were only invited for dessert. They will usually arrive around 11:30 or midnight, and the wedding can be expected to go until 3 or 4 a.m.

Vietnam: Generally, before a potential wedding date is even considered, the engaged couple and their family will schedule a visit with a fortune-teller to find out the best date for them to wed.

Overall, just as any tradition of a country can pique curiosity and intrigue, sometimes the traditions you grow up with feel just as foreign. The one thing most weddings have in common is the cheerfulness, the celebration and the reminder that love is the most universal feeling there is.

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