30 Interesting And Unique Wedding Traditions From Around The World
Love is in the air – and in some countries, kidnappings, dissected chickens and graveyards are also in the air!
Yup, wedding season is on its way and that can only mean one thing – it’s time to do something wonderfully weird to show how much you love your partner!
Weddings are a celebration of love, and represent the coming together of two people. But what happens when weddings get, well, weird?
Where you come from, it’s possible that a wedding traditionally takes place in a church or a register office. Vows are exchanged, the bride and groom are married by a priest, while friends and family watch on. A few tears are shed, there is clapping, and afterwards everyone heads to a specially chosen place for drink and a dance.
Then, the new husband and wife head away for their honeymoon. Sweet.
However, things are not so simple and, dare we say it, as “normal” in all parts of the world. Indeed, in some parts of the world, weddings are subject to some rather odd customs indeed! Some are strange, others are bizarre, while still others are completely wonderful.
If you’re curiouser and curiouser to know more about wedding customs from around the world, let’s take a look at 30 interesting and unique wedding traditions.
The Russian spirit can be a morose one, especially during winter.
In fact, it’s so morose that one Russian tradition is to marry next to the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.
Lots of westerners visit the Philippines because it’s such a beautiful and peaceful country. Did you know that, among some Philippine islands, there is no such word for “war”? Since they don’t have a word for it, they don’t really have any experience of it. Consequently, they don’t go to war! They only have time for love.
And love is something they do very well. When Filipino’s get married, it’s traditional for the bride and groom to each release a dove into the air. Why? Because it signifies that this is going to be a lasting, peaceful marriage that will last forever.
The Germans have always been crazy, right? (no offence intended, of course!)
But Germany, which gave us lederhosen, for sure has a rather strange and unique wedding tradition that we’re sure your grandma and granddad definitely didn’t try.
In Germany, the newly married husband and wife must show their in-laws how right they are for each other by taking part in a bonding exercise.
In their wedding attire, they must take a long and proceed to saw it in half! Usually while a man in background plays a tune on an accordion. Obviously.
We’re sure that the task is meant to show us all what a great team they are. As opposed to the husband preparing his wife for a career chopping wood while he plays video games. Hmm!
Have you heard the joke about their couple who attached their lock to a fence, before throwing away their key into a river?
It’s not a joke. It’s a worldwide wedding tradition that has its origins in Rome.
The Romanian’s like to take things up a notch. They certainly don’t do things by halves.
Seen the film Taken? What occurs at a Romanian wedding isn’t exactly dissimilar to that movie!
On the day of the wedding, either friends and family or hired actors (presumably not Javier Bardem, he’s probably busy) abduct the bride.
For real. They actually kidnap the bride.
And they won’t give her up until the groom has paid a ransom. This can be in the form of alcohol, romantic gestures or, of course, cold, hard cash.
Basically, the guy has to turn into Liam Neeson to get his girl back.
Bride-napping is not actually exclusive to Romania, but is a tradition in a few European countries, including Wales, Russia and, of course, Germany.
Unfortunately, we can’t comment on North Korean wedding traditions, as we don’t have them. Maybe it’s traditional for all the brides to marry the President, but that’s another story!
In South Korea, however, the natives have a rather cute tradition that’s worth sharing.
Down the years, the groom was expected to hand over a live wild duck or goose to his wife-to-be. This he usually did, as the animal was meant to show how devoted he was to his wife. It was meant to show that he wouldn’t stray, but would remain her loyal servant.
These days, the giving of a live animal seems to have mostly been dropped. It’s now more popular for the groom to give his wife a wooden goose or duck instead.
Whatever you think of the Welsh, you can’t deny that they’re not romantic. One of their sacred wedding traditions is the one where the groom gives his intend a carved wooden spoon as a wedding gift.
Why? It lets her know that he will never let her go hungry.
We’re presuming he makes sure to buy an oven too, of course. It would help.
Staying with Asia for this one because China has a rather unique wedding tradition of its own.
One thing the Chinese don’t do when it comes to wedding is blandness. Whereas it’s traditional for guys in the UK to wear grey on their wedding day (SO sombre), the Chinese celebrate love with an abundance of red.
Everything is decorated in red, from the carpets to the bride and groom, and from the sedan to the umbrellas.
Yes, you read that right – sedan.
The bride is traditionally carted to her wedding in a bridal sedan. The sedan and everything is flooded with red because red symbolises luck, love and boldness.
The red umbrella, meanwhile, is held above the bride’s head as a symbol of fertility. Nice.
Okay, the Germans have always been a bit crazy. So what does that make the Scots?
The Scots have given the world the kilt, haggis and Braveheart (Mel Gibson in a kilt, we are ever thankful!).
Unfortunately, if you’re Scottish, you have to go through a rather bizarre wedding initiation that reminds one of a frat house initiation. Both the bride and groom are led by their friends to and area near the church, where they are then made to drink beer.
So far, so awesome.
Then, they are literally covered from head to toe in ash, feathers, treacle and flour.
As you can imagine, it gets a bit messy.
Apparently, though, this is not some frat bro-esque initiation where you have to pass a test of endurance. Instead, you’re covered in ash, feathers, treacle and flour to ward off evil spirits.
As opposed to just praying to God, of course.
If your marriage fails in Croatia, people make sure you remember it. How? By showcasing your souvenirs and mementoes in a museum known as the Museum of Broken Relationships.
If you’ve been to a Mexican wedding, you may have noticed the bride carrying two bouquets of flowers. And you may have wondered why this was.
After all, isn’t it traditional to carry just one bouquet? Maybe where you come from. But then maybe you don’t pay tribute to the Virgin Mary.
Yep, in Mexico, the bride honours herself with a bouquet of flowers, and she honours the Virgin Mary with a second bouquet.
This Pakistani wedding tradition is not quite as wacky as the ones above, but we thought that it was time to share something a bit more normal. It’s also quite cute.
In Pakistan, it’s traditional for the bride and groom to wear decorative garb, of douse. But the groom tops it all off by wearing a ring of flowers around his neck.
The bridge can sometimes participate too if she wishes, by wearing a ring around her neck, too.
We’re certain it symbolises something. Either that, or men just like wearing flowers.
Indian’s take their weddings very seriously, and include all kinds of ceremonies and rituals as part of the package.
An engagement ceremony takes place before the wedding. Here, the families swap gifts, and the bridge and groom swap rings. This is followed by a second ceremony known as the Mehendi ceremony, in which the bride’s wrists, palms, arms, feet and legs are decorated.
Finally, comes the wedding day.
On the wedding day, things get a bit, shall we say, interesting.
Once the groom enters the wedding tent, all set to marry the love of his life, the bride’s sisters conspire to steal his shoes.
Once they have stolen his shoes (presumably without saying “gimme all your money, buster”), he then has to actually bribe them to return them before he leaves the tent!
We’re not sure what actually happens in the event that the groom fails to convince them to return his shoes, but it’s probably something to do with bad luck.
Ever been to a wedding in Borneo? If you have, you may have noticed that the bride and groom were missing.
That’s because neither are allowed to leave their rooms on their wedding day.
Why? You guessed it – it’d bring bad luck.
That gosh darn bad luck!
This particularly fiery South African wedding tradition is one of those where you shouldn’t try it at home.
At South Africa weddings, it’s traditional for the the bride and groom to return to their new home and start a fire. So far, so normal.
Then, their parents knock at their door with a gift.
The gift is not cake, money or Prosecco. Instead, it’s actual FIRE.
Yup, the parents have to bring fire from the bride and grooms’ childhood homes and christen the new one with it. Why? Because it means their new life together carries something from their familial homes. The values they were raised on pass over to their new life, igniting not just the fire but also their souls. Aww.
We’re back with India because we just can’t get our heads around this next one: If a woman is born under a certain astrological sign, she is cursed, and her husband will be doomed to die early.
She can break the curse by marrying a tree before she marries a human.
In Krygyzstan, it’s traditional for a woman to cry on her wedding day/. Why? Because tears will result in a happy marriage.
Of course, it’s not always so easy for a girl to cry tears of sadness on what is meant to be the happiest day of her life. As such, some families take it upon themselves to actually arrange that the bridge is kidnapped, where she is held until she cries.
Isn’t that sweet?
In most countries around the world, it’s traditionally to cut a white wedding cake.
You know what a wedding cake looks like, right? It’s quite tall, as many layers, and is always, always white.
Maybe occasionally it’s pink or blue.
In India, however, the cake is black.
Like, full on black-black.
You’re probably thinking that it has something to do with evil spirits again. But it’s simply because Jamaican’s love their rum and their dark fruit cakes.
In fact, Jamaican wedding cake actually tastes a lot like Christmas cake.
Now it’s time for something truly unique and bizarre and maybe a tad gross.
Kenyan’s love a good wedding as much as anyone. This sunburned, lush country is a wonderful place to get married.
But traditional wedding custom of theirs in particular leaves a lot to be desired.
See, once the bride and groom have exchanged their vows rings, it’s tradition for them to then stroll hand in hand out of the church. Just like it is for you and your partner.
But in a daring, irreverent act, the father must take it upon himself to do something. He doesn’t offer his hand to the groom, nor does he kiss his daughter. Instead, he SPITS on his daughter’s face and chest!
We’re guessing that if he misses, he must try again.
And again until he gets it right.
This is all so that good fortune smiles down on the happy couple.
Eastern European country Poland have some gorgeous cuisine, and some rather fun wedding traditions. One of them is the so-called Money Dance.
In one way, “Money Dance” sounds like a striptease. But this is a wedding, so there is nothing like that here!
Instead, a Money Dance is nothing more than a bride dancing with guys for money.
Basically, any guy at the wedding can buy a dance with the bride by offering money. The money is collected together and contributes to the newlywed’s honeymoon.
It’s just a cute, fun way to finish the day off (and a great way to make some extra cash!)
Guatemala may be a country you don’t know too much about. It borders Mexico, and literally translated into English means “the land of the forests.”
As you can expect, it’s a country full of forests.
And if you’re raised in land of forests, you’re probably going to develop a few unique traditions that the rest of the world think are “quirky”.
And indeed their main wedding tradition is an unusual one.
During the wedding reception, it’s expected that the groom’s mom will take a white bell she’s brought to the party with her – and smash it to pieces. We assume this is quite an uproarious event. Breaking a bell, after all, sounds quite a noisy thing to do!
The bell is usually stuffed with grains, rice and flour, and is supposed to bring posterity and good luck to the newlyweds. Sweet.
We’re back in China for a much more bizarre wedding tradition than the one involving the colour red. In fact, that one was much more normal than this one, which involves a chicken.
A chicken, you say? Whatever could a chicken have to do with weddings?
Unfortunately, this is a wedding custom we’re talking about, so it’s not going to be as simple as “everyone gets together to eat chicken sandwiches.”
Nope. In China, it’s traditional for an engaged couple to find a chicken and dissect it. Why? To examine the health of its liver. Why? To see if it’s healthy. But why? So that they can set a date for the wedding, of course!
If the liver isn’t healthy, the couple have to postpone any date setting until they find and dissect a chicken with a healthy liver.
In Mauritania, they have a rather odd, mystic belief: Some locals believe that the bigger a woman is, the more luck she’ll have in a marriage.
As such, it’s tradition for a petite woman to try to put on as much weight as possible before her marriage for a bit of prosperity.
Unfortunately, this superstition is held in such high regard that there have been cases of women literally force feeding themselves to death.
The Germans are back, and they’re back with their unique but fun wedding traditions.
For this one, it’s traditional for the friends and family of the bride and groom to arrive outside the bride and grooms house on the eve of the wedding.
Aww. They want to sing a song to them? Maybe Edelweiss?
Um. Not exactly.
Instead, the friends and family smash pots on the pavement outside.
The next day, the bride and groom must clean it all up in their wedding attire.
We’re not sure what the meaning of this particularly mischievous tradition is, but it probably has something to do with warding off bad luck and evil spirits again.
Either that, or the Germans just wanna play a prank. Gotta love ‘em.
(Definitely not getting married in German)
In Greece, the newlyweds must dance at the reception while their family and friends money to their clothes.
What a fab way of making a bit of cash!!
We don’t usually associate Australian’s with weirdness. We know that Australians life to surf on Christmas Day and they have lots of barbecues, but they’re not really known for any curious customs.
One wedding day tradition they like to uphold is known as the Unity Bowl.
Essentially, a Unity Bowl is a medium-sized bowl that is put on display during the wedding ceremony. Stones are handed out before the vows are exchanged, and the guests are asking to keep hold of them throughout the proceedings.
At the end, the guests are invited to place their stones in the bowl in a show of strength, solidarity and support.
If you live in Niger and want to get married, you’ll have to be a very good performer. That’s because here the males must don exquisite, colourful costumes and perform for women.
Like on a game show, the women then have to choose who they prefer.
Sounds like The Bachelor!
Fiji is not a million miles away from Australia, but their customs are, shall we say, a little bit different.
In Fiji, their fascinating wedding traditions begin long before the wedding. Essentially, if a native wants to marry a woman, he must first find her an unusual gift. This really could be anything (if you know anything about Fiji culture, you’ll know there are many unusual things about it), but the most popular is a whale’s tooth.
In fact, it’s pretty much mandatory for a Fiji man to offer his future father in law a whales tooth before he can ask for the hand of his daughter.
We’re not sure how the men manage to get hold of the whales teeth. Presumably, they don’t go inside a whales mouth themselves to extract it – but you never know!!
Hey, you’d do anything for love, right?
China is back! Bet you’re happy about that?
The Chinese clearly find weddings so boring that they have to do all kinds of crazy things so that they start to resemble a Japanese game show.
Perhaps their craziest wedding tradition is the one known as the Bridesmaid Blockade. For this party trick, the bridesmaids must form a line that curtails the grooms route to his beloved. To get past the wall of angry bridesmaids, he must curry their favour.
Basically, he must prove how strong his love is.
He can pay the bridesmaids off, perform some silly dances, or act out whatever crazy ritual the mischievous girls have planned for him.
For this South African pre-pre wedding ritual, women some tribes are allowed to hang out with potential suitors in what are known as Courting Hubs.
No one else but single dudes and gals are allowed in the huts – especially not parents!