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11th June 2019

Our Favourite Weird & Wonderful World Wedding Traditions

When it comes to wedding traditions, we Brits still honour some of the oldest.

Grooms can’t see brides before the wedding because tradition says he might have the chance to change his mind. We throw rice or confetti at the end of the ceremony, to encourage fertility and then there’s the obligatory lift over the threshold, which protected the bride from demons lurking in the marital home.

British wedding tradition

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The list is endless and dated, but these are the time honoured wedding traditions most adhere to, for fear of jinxing their marriage before it’s even begun.

After contemplating the reasons behind our own country’s customs, we ventured out across the globe in search of some equally strange, yet time honoured, wedding traditions from other countries and cultures.

What we found will shock and amaze as some of these are wonderful wedding traditions we’d happily adopt, others are a bit too weird, even for us.

Bride Squad Goals: China

An interesting and fun wedding tradition from China, and one of our favourites; the hazing of the groom.

China wedding traditions

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Bridesmaids in China are said to set a series of challenges for the groom and his groomsmen to overcome before he is deemed worthy for the bride.

If the groom and his men are unsuccessful, the maids might be bought off with ransom money.

Kerching!

Kiss the Couple: Sweden

At a Swedish wedding reception, a wonderful wedding tradition involves wedding guests sneaking a kiss with the bride or groom whenever the other leaves the room.

This tradition was once reserved for just the groom, but in today’s society, the bride is also free to peck when her new hubby isn’t around.

Ready, Aim, Fire: China

Chinese grooms from the Yugar culture become Cupid on the day of their wedding, shooting the bride with three headless arrows before breaking them in two.

The breaking of the arrows is a symbol, showing their marital love will last forever.

Our Kind of Wedding Tradition: Mauritania

Instead of dieting to fit into their wedding dresses, brides from certain cultures in Mauritania would be sent to fat camps.

The idea is that the plumper the bride was, the wealthier the husband would seem.

Shoe Theft: India

Bridesmaids at it again, raising money for their bride-to-be, an Indian wedding tradition involves the girls pilfering the groom’s elaborate shoes.

Indian wedding tradition

Credit: Shutterstock

They then hold the footwear to ransom until the groom pays up.

Blackening the Bride: Scotland

It’s well known that Scottish ladies are tough, it’s in their DNA. But, to be sure they can take whatever their new marriage might throw at them, friends and family put them through their paces.

The bride-to-be would first be pelted with rubbish, rotten fruit and veg, spoiled milk and fish then tarred and feathered.

After being tied to a tree her “friends” would then take her out for a night on the town.

No Getting Cold Feet: Korea

Grooms in Korea don’t worry about getting cold feet, instead, their feet are whipped with rope or dead fish.

This is done for an entire hour, to test the strength and willingness of the groom-to-be.

Let the Tree Take the Fall: India

According to wedding traditions in India, brides born as Manglik’s must first get married to a tree.

It is custom to believe that these women are cursed from birth and, without this weird tree marrying wedding tradition, an early death would befall their first husband.

The tree basically takes the fall of the curse, instead of the first husband.

Biggest Mouth Wears the Pants: Russia

It’s all up for grabs in the Russian household as, wedding traditions dictate, whoever takes the biggest bite out of the wedding sweetbread “Karavay” will wear the trousers in the relationship.

Russian wedding tradition

Credit: Shutterstock

The trick is you can’t use your hands.

Marriage Going Down the Toilet: France

Past French wedding traditions involved the leftovers from a wedding feast being eaten out of a toilet. This was to give the couple fuel for the wedding night ahead.

These days the custom has given a been given a chic makeover, with Champagne and chocolates now being served . . . still from a toilet bowl mind.

Chicken Liver Lovers: Mongolia

Before Mongolian brides and grooms can officially tie the knot, they must first butcher a few chickens.

Only when they find a healthy liver can they proceed to set a date. Macabre we know but this is the tradition.

Lasso for Life: Mexico

At the altar of a Mexican wedding, the person performing the ceremony passes a lasso made of flowers in a figure of eight over the happy couple’s shoulders.

This is meant to signify an everlasting marriage and a love that will last for all eternity.

Bride Napping: Romania

Bringing a new meaning to the phrase “Runaway Bride”, wedding guests at a Romanian wedding will kidnap the bride and stash her in a secret location. They then demand a ransom from the groom for her return.

Romanian wedding tradition

Credit: Shutterstock

If he can’t pay with cash, or booze, as this strange wedding tradition demands, he must sing a sappy love song in front of the entire wedding party to get her back.

Brides in Drag: Sparta

Ancient Spartan wedding culture would see the brides shave their heads and dress up as men.

They would then be left alone in a darkened room and ritually captured by their husbands to be.

This is Sparta.

Testing Teamwork: Germany

After becoming husband and wife, happy couples in Germany are presented with a large log and dual-ended saw.

They are challenged to saw the log in half, proving their strength and resilience as a couple.

Staying Grounded: Ireland

Ever a fanciful folk, Irish wedding tradition keeps the bride grounded throughout her wedding day. The rule even extends to her having both feet on the floor throughout the first dance.

Should either of her feet lift from the floor, fairies are said to swoop in and steal her away.

A Smashing Way to Celebrate: Germany

Back in Germany now, and these guys really want to make sure the bride and groom work hard on their wedding day.

German wedding tradition

Credit: Shutterstock

Not only will they be sawing large logs in half, but their entire wedding party will smash plates, pots and cups after the couple say ‘I do’, which the bride and groom must then clean up!

Lock, Stock, Tie and Garter: Spain

After weddings in Spain, groomsmen and bridesmaids will steal the groom’s tie and brides garter, chop them up and send them out to wedding guests.

A souvenir from the day to keep as long as the marriage lasts.

All the Single Ladies: Peru

This interesting wedding tradition involves baking ribbons into the first layer of a wedding cake, one of which will have a ring attached.

All the single ladies at the wedding each grab a ribbon, and whichever gets the one with the ring will be the next to be married.

A Whale of a Tale: Fiji

Going to new depths to impress the potential father in law, men in Fiji must swim into the ocean in search of a whale tooth to present for their loved one’s hand in marriage.

Now that’s dedication if you ask us.

Getting Through the Groom Gates: Thailand

A beautiful wedding tradition in Thailand asks that the groom passes through several gates on his way into the wedding ceremony.

Thailand wedding tradition

Credit: Shutterstock

These can be anything as simple as breaking a chain of jasmine flowers, or belts made of gold, to performing embarrassing tricks, or singing songs.

Take a Walk Down the Human Aisle: French Polynesia

Forget wedding gifts and or donations to honeymoons, this weird and wonderful wedding tradition dictates all guests lie face down, side-by-side for the bride and groom walk along out of the ceremony.

The gesture is meant to show your support of the new marriage.

Here Comes the Bride: Jamaica

Instead of oohing and aahing at the beautiful bride in her wedding day ensemble, Jamaican locals will instead come out to critique her look.

The bride will parade down her local high street, with passers-by shouting out their thoughts on how she could have improved her bridal attire.

Dances for Money: Cuba

Men who wish to dance with a newly wedded Cuban bride on her wedding day must pay for the privilege by pinning cash to her dress.

The money raised is to go towards the happy couple’s future home.

Love Spoons, Not Diamonds: Wales

Handcrafted goods go further than diamonds with this Welsh wedding tradition.

Welsh Love Spoon wedding tradition

Credit: Shutterstock

Grooms have been known to hand carve Love Spoons to win the hearts of their loved ones, adding keys to unlock each other’s love and beads as a symbol of how many children they’ll have.

Saliva for Success: Massai Kenya

The father of the bride has more responsibility in Kenya than simply paying for the wedding. Instead, it is his job to spit all over his daughter, immediately after the ceremony.

This is apparently custom so as not to jinx the new marriage by tempting fate and being overly happy for the newlyweds.

Putting the Baby to Bed: Czech Republic

Something that will no doubt be part of the new couple’s life in the future, putting the baby to bed in the Czech Republic is a wedding tradition that encourages fertility.

The bridal party basically find an infant at the wedding and place it in the matrimonial bed, blessing the marriage with children in the future.

Sock It too Them: Canada

Older, unmarried siblings of brides and grooms in Canada, carry out a traditional sock dance where they don crazy, unmatched socks and perform silly dances.

The wedding party then throw cash at them which is collected and given to the newly married couple for their future.

Disappearing Bride Groom: Venezuela

Sometimes weddings can be so exhausting for the bride and groom and all they want to do is run away from it altogether.

Venezuela wedding tradition

Credit: Shutterstock

And in Venezuela, that’s exactly what they do. In fact, it’s a challenge for the bride and groom to escape their own wedding party unnoticed and its seen as good luck if they succeed.

The Price You Pay: Russia

To wed any Russian bride, its custom for the groom-to-be to pay up, literally, on the day of the wedding.

He must either come to the bride’s parents house armed with cash or gifts and if he has neither, must be prepared to be humiliated.

The bride’s parents will request that the groom sings and dances until they are satisfied he’s paid his dues.

La Serenata: Italy

This is without a doubt the most romantic on our list of weird and wonderful wedding traditions, and who’s surprised it’s from Italy.

Italian wedding tradition

Credit: Shutterstock

On the eve of the wedding, Italian grooms will appear outside their bride’s windows to serenade them, complete with backing singers, after which a full-blown street party takes place with all the family and plenty of food.

That’s how to sweep a girl off her feet, with music, pasta and pizza.

Don’t Smile for the Camera: Congo

Congolese wedding ceremonies are no laughing matter. In fact, it’s a customary wedding tradition that both bride and groom must remain stony-faced throughout their entire wedding day.

Should they crack a smile at any point, it is seen as a warning that they aren’t serious about their marriage?

Make Your Own Traditions

When looking forward to planning your own wedding day, why not incorporate any of these weird and wonderful wedding traditions from around the world or, better still create some of your own.

Our blog archive has some great ideas on how to host the most magnificent wedding ceremonies and receptions, from sensational seasonal styling, theme inspiration and how to guides.

Check out some of the stunning historic wedding venues in Liverpool available at Signature Living Weddings, each one a unique and breathtaking backdrop that is perfect for hosting your special day.

Liverpool wedding venues

Rainhill Hall

Go outdoors at Rainhill Hall or opt for elegance in The White Star Grand Hall, bring the heat at Alma de Cuba or visit paradise in The Garden of Eden. whatever your tastes, Signature Living Weddings have a venue and wedding package to suit.

Call 0151 305 3753 to speak with our team or email weddings@signatureliving.co.uk, to start planning your special day with Signature Living Weddings.

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