Unique Cultural Wedding Traditions from Around the World
Unless you’ve spent your entire life living under a rock, you’ve probably already heard of classic wedding traditions, such as the bride’s good-luck items of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” Still, that doesn’t mean wedding traditions are universal. At Knowles Hospitality, our wedding experts became accustomed to learning about different rituals to symbolize unity, romance, and joy.
The uniting of two lovers in marriage occurs worldwide, but traditions and rituals may vary immensely. Several of the wedding traditions used by different cultures around the globe are endearing, some of which you may even want to incorporate into your celebration! From countries scattered throughout Europe to the beautiful Philippines, our wedding specialists rounded up some of the most unique cultural wedding traditions.
Italy: Candy Confetti
If you traveled to Italy, we guarantee you’ll feel shocked to learn that confetti isn’t those small, bright-colored pieces of paper. Instead, they are sugar-coated almonds which guests throw towards the couple in celebration. Some theories date this tradition back to the Roman Era, while others trace confetti back to 1200 in Venice brought by merchants from the Far East.
The almond symbolizes the bittersweetness of marriage and the beginning of a new life. Moreover, the bitter taste of the almond represents life, and the candy layer represents everlasting hope for the bride and groom for a sweet new life together. The five almonds that each guest receives to shower the couple with symbolizes happiness, health, wealth, fertility, and longevity.
Sweden: Flower Crowns
Beginning in the ancient period and still customary today, Swedish brides wear a flower crown or headdress made of myrtle leaves on their wedding days. As a replacement to the conventional tiara or veil, this flower headpiece represents the bride’s innocence. Talk about flower power!
Spain: The Bride in Black
With this tradition in Spain, Catholic brides may choose to wear black, silk dresses instead of big white gowns. These black outfits are so much more than your typical little black dress. These black dresses signify the bride’s commitment to her new husband and devotion to “until death do us part.”
Japan: Sake-Drinking Ceremony
Dating back hundreds of years, one of the oldest Japanese wedding traditions is the sake-drinking ceremony of san san kudo, meaning “three three nine times.” Instead of exchanging vows, the bride, groom, and parents each sip sake three times from three different sized cups. The first set of sips represents sealing the bond between the families.
The second set represents hatred, passion, and ignorance, and the third set represents freedom from those flaws. Many consider this a lucky number, so the nine sips are equal to triple the happiness.
Netherlands: The Wishing Tree
The Dutch ditch the guest book and replace it with a wishing tree. With a collection of branches, ribbon, and leaves to write on, guests can visually express their well-wishes. The wishing tree can be a more sentimental option in place of a guest book. Even better, the newlyweds may opt to prominently display the tree in their home after the ceremony.
Australia: Unity Rocks
The guests at an Aussie wedding will typically gather rocks and bring them to the ceremony. All of the collected rocks come together in one bowl to create a “unity bowl.” This keepsake goes on to live with the bride and groom in their home as a reminder of the love and support from their loved ones. The tradition began when early Australian settlers couldn’t afford wedding rings, so they threw a rock into the water to symbolize the idea of “staying together as life ebbed and flowed around them.”
Philippines: Love Birds
At a traditional Filipino wedding, the newlyweds release a pair of white doves into the air to symbolize a long, peaceful, and harmonious life together. The doves fly away together while the newlyweds begin their new life as one.
Germany: Log Cutting
Newlywed German relationships are immediately put to the test by trying to work together to saw a log in half in front of all their guests. According to tradition, this test displays the bride and groom’s natural ability to work together and how well they can face the obstacles that may come throughout their marriage.
Guatemala: Ringing the Bell
The parents of Guatemalan grooms may do anything they please at the wedding. Unfortunately, this also includes accidentally breaking centerpieces or decorations. When the newlyweds arrive, tradition says the groom’s mother will break a white ceramic bell filled with grains, such as rice and flour, in hopes of bringing prosperity to the couple.
The World’s Wonderful Wedding Traditions
Although the traditions from each culture differ from one another, each ceremony comprises acts that create a ceremony showcasing love and unity among loved ones. It’s an enormous world out there, so it might do you and your fiancé well to consider embracing your cultural heritage. Whatever way you decide to honor your traditions and customs, try using inspiration from different cultures to create a memorable and romantic wedding ceremony.
Are you looking for an experienced team to help plan a breathtaking wedding that features timeless traditions? Connect with the renowned wedding planners at Knowles Hospitality today.