No matter where in the world a couple decides to get married there are countless traditions surrounding tying the knot. Some of these customs have evolved over the years from superstitions or old wives’ tales that have somehow worked their way into various cultures around the globe. Some of these traditions are believed to affect as to whether or not a couple will be prosperous and successful, have children or whether they will stay together.
While it’s easy to denounce such things as superstitions that have no bearing on a couple’s future happiness, they can offer couples a way to connect with their culture and offer a bit of interest and fun as well.
Here are a few of the wedding traditions, customs, and superstitions from around the world.
Almost everyone knows about the custom of the groom carrying the bride over the threshold. The origin of this tradition comes from old Europe, as early as pre-Christian times. The belief is that the groom is protecting his bride and their home from evil spirits that may wish to enter through the soles of their feet.
In Japan, it is customary for the bride and groom to each take three sips of sake from three different cups and then offer them to both sets of parents who do the same. It is believed that it binds the two families together.
In China, it is customary for the bride to wear red silk for luck. It is also traditional for her to wear various items of jewelry that are either given or loaned to her by elder female relatives such as a mother or grandmother. This is believed to ensure the prosperity of the couple.
Brides in many areas of the subcontinent of India will also traditionally get married in red. Traditional wedding saris are extremely detailed and ornate and can cost many thousands of dollars. Sometimes these garments which range in length from 6- 9 yards of fabric are embellished with precious and semi-precious stones and are often included as part of her dowry. One of the most unusual traditions, however, is that some Indian brides in the South must marry a tree before they can actually marry the groom!
In Scotland on the day before the wedding, friends take them out for libations and then douse the couple with treacle, ash, feathers and flour in order to confuse evil spirits and bring them good luck in the future. In some Scots traditions, it is customary to make a small cut on the palm of the hand and then to bind the couple’s hands together with a red cord or a sash made especially for the occasion.
In the Maori culture of New Zealand, it is traditional for the groom and his party to perform the traditional haka, or warrior dance for the bride and their guests. It affirms his strength and his commitment to her and the community.
Rain on a wedding day can mean good luck or not, depending on where in the world you are. Rain is a necessary element for agricultural families regardless of where you are. In India, it is considered to be good luck because of the importance of rain for good crops.
In some parts of the U.S., mostly in the South, however, rain on the wedding day isn’t viewed so positively. Some couples who are determined to have gorgeous weather on their big day will bury a bottle of bourbon in order to ensure sunshine. This buried bribe is done a month before the wedding day then dug up on the day to be shared at the reception.
According to a recent article in the Pocono Record, in England, they have the unusual superstition that when a spider is found in a wedding dress, it’s considered good luck. Hopefully, if such a thing were to happen, it is before the bride puts it on!
In Germany, a bride and groom will traditionally use a two-person saw and saw a log together to symbolize their working together as a couple.
In Sweden, brides will place a silver coin from their father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe to ensure her security. Modern brides in the U.S. do this for luck as well. It does serve as a very good reminder to women to never be entirely dependent on a spouse for security and well-being.
It’s well known that breaking a glass is done at Jewish weddings, but it is also a custom at Italian wedding receptions as well. In Jewish lore, it is representative of the fragility of both love and life itself, whereas in Italy the number of pieces that the glass shatters into is representative of the number of years the couple will be together.
In some Native American traditions, it is customary for a prospective groom to bestow gifts to the bride’s family. He may give horses, fish, game, or other handmade items for example, in order to prove to her family that he will be a good provider. In Algonquin culture, a couple will also traditionally will have a giveaway and every guest in attendance will receive a gift.
Of course, there are countless traditions and that have found their way into weddings today. One tradition that seems to be used almost everywhere is the use of bells. The sound of bells can be heard through many religious and secular style weddings. Their sound can be heard from church towers and even in the wedding attire of couples and their guests to commemorate the special occasion and ring in the celebration of a new life together.
Whatever wedding you choose to have or traditions and customs you want to incorporate into your own special day, Geri Simms at Atlanta Wedding Décor can help.
Geri has more than 25 years’ experience and specializes in wedding and event planning. Through the drama of drapery and lighting we can turn your wedding, regardless of tradition into the event you have in mind. Contact Geri today to make an appointment and discuss your wedding plans at 404-558-1300.