Planning your wedding? Wedding traditions around the world
The traditional wedding most of us think of has a bride in a beautiful white dress, a ceremony in a quaint church near the bride’s home, bridesmaids, a reception with a sit-down meal and the newlyweds departing for their honeymoon at the end of the celebrations.
For many these traditions make up the perfect wedding day, but it’s becoming increasingly common for couples to look for something a little bit different for their big day.
If you are planning your wedding day, why not take inspiration from different traditions around the world to invent a wedding that’s all your own?
We’ve taken a look at the most interesting and fascinating wedding traditions for you to compare!
Weddings in Mexico traditionally took place on summer evenings, and as a result wedding outfits for the groom were light to keep cool in the Mexican sun: grooms usually wore a loose-fitting shirt called a guayabera.
The bride’s outfit was often dependent on the region of Mexico she was getting married in, but she could often pick out the colours she wanted to wear. These would become the main colour themes for the day.
The groom at a Mexican wedding would give his bride 13 coins during the ceremony. This symbolised Christ and his disciples. Once the vows were read, as a show of unity the priest would wrap the couple in a figure of eight with a Lazo (lasso).
Traditional Mexican food including spicy rice, beans and tortillas were popular at weddings. So if you’ve got a thing for spicy food this is the perfect theme for the meal!
The cake was often made from nuts and dried fruit and soaked in rum.
A mariachi band would often play on the day. This type of band commonly features violins, trumpets, a Spanish guitar, a vihuela and a guitarron. This music played by family members, led by two elders of the families, would weave their way around the room before forming an arch the bride and groom would walk down to begin their first dance. This was called La Marcha.
The best time to get married in Sweden was thought to be summer, as there would be almost 20 hours of sunlight! (In some parts of Sweden there can be only four hours of daylight in winter).
The bride wore a crown of myrtle leaves as a symbol of innocence along with her traditional Swedish wedding gown.
Brides traditionally had a gold coin from their father in the right shoe and a silver coin from their mother in the left to symbolise never going without. And rather than be given away by her father, the bride and groom would enter the church and walk down the aisle together. There was a popular belief that the first to cross the threshold would be the one who would ‘wear the trousers’ in their relationship.
Often the entourage of the bride and groom was much more simple than the bridesmaids, best man and ushers we have in Britain. One bridesmaid and one best man would accompany the bride and groom.
In some areas of Sweden the bride would carry a bunch of weeds with a strong and bad smell to ward off trolls from coming to the wedding - one tradition you probably wouldn’t want to embrace for your wedding!
For a truly Swedish wedding, a smorgasbord (a Swedish buffet) is essential. The celebrations with food often lasted up to three days and included dishes such as pickled herring, lingonberry jam and Swedish meatballs.
Love songs were often sung by guests and as the day wore on folk songs would be performed, mostly with the use of a fiddle!
The bride’s preparations for her wedding involve many members of her family and follows a routine of different regimes she must go through, including a milk bath and being decorated in henna (beberiska). Other female guests are also decorated with henna designs, but the bride’s is always the most intricate.
The wedding dress was usually a long robe or caftan made of silk, satin or other rich fabrics.
Sundays around harvest were traditionally the best time for marriages in Morocco as there was sure to be plenty of food to enjoy.
They would also last up to seven days - something which would be hard to achieve these days! The first three days would involve the preparations of the bride and the fourth day would be the day of marriage.
Moroccan weddings were colourful, including yellow to scare away any evil and green to bring good luck to the couple.
Fish and chicken were common at weddings as they are ancient symbols of fertility. Tajine, a chicken, beef and lamb stew mixed with almonds, apricots, onions and other spices, was also a popular dish alongside couscous.
A lively wedding march called the zaffa, complete with music, dancing and even flaming swords was the way the bride and groom were traditionally welcomed to their reception. Music would continue throughout the night for guests to dance to.
Ceremony Chinese couples would contact a fortune-teller to figure out the ideal date of their wedding based on their birth dates.
Chinese brides wore a qipao, a bright-red silk dress with intricate gold embroidery. These gowns were loose, high-necked and long-sleeved and fell all the way to the ground. Only the bride's head, hands and toes were visible. But she didn't have to wear this all day - the bride could get changed several times following the ceremony (this would show guests how wealthy her family is).
The groom's attire was and often is a black silk coat over a dark blue robe embroidered with a dragon, and a black cap with red tassels.
A 10 to 12-course banquet was a regular occurrence at a traditional Chinese wedding. Shark fin soup was a luxurious staple and today would cost more than $100 a bowl. Other popular foods included a bird's nest soup and whole fish.
Some weddings would have the lion dance, in which performers dressed as big cats swayed to the beat of drums, gongs and cymbals to scare away evil spirits.
The whole village or community will get involved in the preparations and the ceremony in Jamaica.
Brides wear a white wedding dress while men often wear a bush jacket. It is important for a bride to look great on her wedding day; if she is not in top shape she is criticised openly as she walks the street to her wedding ceremony, and if she receives too much criticism she will go back home to make improvements before going out again!
It’s all about the cake in Jamaica. Several different cakes are baked for the wedding day and married women from the community carry these cakes to the wedding. The cakes are covered in lace so that they are a surprise for the bride.
The reception was often held at the groom’s home and curried goat was a popular dish along with plenty of rum and cake.
The guitar, fife and banjo are traditional popular instruments for a Jamaican wedding. The quadrille was the traditional dance which family members, the couple, the maid of honor and the best man participate in.
What kind of wedding would you like to have and which tradition was your favourite? Are you a believer in the British traditional wedding or do you think more couples should be unique in their marriage arrangements?
Why not take a look at our selection of Personalised Wedding Gifts for your guests that you make completely unique! So no matter what wedding you choose to have, the gifts will always suit your theme!