When it comes to wedding celebrations, every culture has its own set of traditions. From stealing the groom’s shoes to tossing loose change for good luck, discover some of the unique ceremonies, happenings and customs that take place at weddings around the world.
Symbolizing the union of husband and wife, the hands of the bride and groom are tied together during an Irish wedding ceremony. This tradition is the origin of the phrase “tying the knot”.
During an Indian wedding, the groom takes off his shoes, and the bride’s friends attempt to take them while the groom’s family tries to keep them from doing so. If the shoes are successfully stolen, the groom has to pay the friends if he wants them back.
At a Japanese wedding, the speeches are very important. Loved ones all line up to wish the newlyweds well, whether it’s with a moralistic tale of married life or a message of love for the couple’s new journey.
In Greek culture, odd numbers are considered luckier than even numbers – they cannot be divided. For this reason, guests spit an odd number of times to ward off the Evil Eye, an odd number of guests must be in attendance and an odd number of koufeta (sweet sugar almonds) are placed in each bomboniere (wedding favor).
Wish the newlyweds luck at an Italian wedding by taking part in La Tarantella. During this fast-paced dance, everyone holds hands and moves clockwise around the couple until the music speeds up, changing directions with the tempo of the song.
The flower of choice at a Spanish wedding is the orange blossom, as it symbolizes happiness and fulfillment. The flowers are used in the bouquet, decorations and even in the bride’s hair.
On the morning a Chinese wedding, the groom is placed through a series of tests by the bridesmaids in order to win their approval. Once he is deemed worthy, he is allowed to pick up his future bride.
As the newlyweds are leaving the ceremony, the guests at a Polish wedding toss loose change at them for good luck. The couple is then expected to pick up every last coin.
In African culture, a kola nut represents healing and is shared between the couple and their parents to represent a willingness to help each other. In some countries, the wedding ceremony is not considered complete until this happens.
Buried within the cake at an Argentinian wedding reception are small charms attached to ribbons that hang throughout the layers. The single women gather around the cake to pull the ribbons, and it is said that whoever pulls out the ring charm will be the next to marry.