No matter where you are in the world, marriage is a sacred thing. However, different cultures have their own unique ways of preparing for and celebrating the happy couple’s nuptials. Fashion retailer QUIZ tells us a few weird and wonderful wedding traditions from brides around the world.
Bride traditions in Germany
When it comes to weddings in Germany, there are plenty of wedding traditions that run through the family. For example, before a future bride-to-be is even engaged, she saves away pennies, which will then be used to purchase her wedding shoes. This tradition is said to help the happy couple get off on the right foot.
You’ll be waiting a long time if you expect your invitation to come in the post. They send out a Hochzeitslader. A gentleman dressed in formal, fancy wear complete with ribbons and flowers, to hand-deliver their invitations. Guests accept the invitations by pinning a ribbon from the Hochzeitslader’s outfit onto his hat, before inviting him into their home for a drink. Depending on the guest list, this can take quite some time!
As well as this, couples are usually expected to have a service in their local registry office. Then, in the days following, a church ceremony can be held, although this isn’t required. Generally, few guests will attend the civil ceremony and the bride and groom will dress relatively simply.
Removing negative spirits
In addition to this, to remove negative spirits are attracted to brides, Polterabend takes place to scare them aware. On the night before the church ceremony, the bride and groom gather with their friends and family where they smash china and porcelain. The noise made is said to scare away the spirits, while illustrating that their marriage will never break. Glass is never broken, as this is believed to be bad luck.
Once the wedding is over, expect the happy couple to cut some logs together. A log is set up on a sawhorse and the bride and groom must work together to saw through it, illustrating their teamwork. Instead of confetti, wedding guests throw grains of rice over the bride and groom, with the legend being that each grain of rice that lands in the bride’s hair will symbolise a future child!
Similar to weddings in the UK, the bride and groom do opt for dancing under the veil. However, when the music stops, single women will tear pieces off the veil. The lady left with the biggest piece is said to be the next to marry. Alternatively, instead of ripping the veil, guests simply throw money into it while it is held up.
Bride traditions in Spain
As you would expect, traditions for the bride are different in Spain too. For example, they don’t include bridesmaids, groomsmen, a maid of honour or best man, and the mother of the groom walks her son down the aisle. Likewise, there are no speeches and wedding rings are worn on the ring finger of the right hand.
Believe it or not, the gown brides wore used to be made from black lace! However, modern times have seen more brides wearing a white lace dress and mantilla, a type of lace headdress. The mantilla is traditionally given by the mother of the bride, who will have it embroidered especially. The mantilla is worn with a peineta — a high comb.
Another tradition will see the groom will present his bride with 13 gold coins, each blessed by a priest. This act is said to bring the couple good fortune and symbolise the groom’s commitment to supporting his bride.
For the décor, many brides will choose orange blossom. The bride will give a small flower corsage to her girlfriends. If a lady is single, she must wear her corsage upside down and if she loses it during the night, it’s believed that she will be next to be married!
Bride traditions in China
As China is such a large place, traditions brides follow differ depending on their home region. Tujia brides must cry for an hour a day every day for a month in the run-up to their wedding. After the first ten days, the bride’s mother joins her in crying daily before being joined by her grandmother. As the other women join in, it’s seen as an expression of their joy.
Without the arrowheads, grooms of the Yugar culture will shoot their brides with arrows. After shooting their bride three times, the arrows are broken, showing that the couple will always love each other.
As well, the bride is assigned a ‘good luck’ woman who will help do her hair. This woman is considered lucky if she has living parents, a spouse and children, and it is hoped she will pass on some of this good fortune to the bride. The groom will collect the bride from her home, where he is greeted by the bride’s friends, who block his entry into the home (it’s all in good spirits). The groom is required to prove his love for his future wife through answering a series of questions about her or even by offering money in red envelopes to buy his way into the house.
Northern China will see brides wear red dresses. In southern China, brides wear a two-piece outfit — a Qun Gua, Kwa or Cheongsam — featuring a gold phoenix or dragon detailing. On the wedding night, the bride is given a half-cooked dumpling. This is a signifier of family prosperity, as the word raw is linked to childbirth.
Bride traditions in India
Just like China, traditions in India depend on the region too. It’s not uncommon for Indian weddings to take place over several days — different from the couple’s one special day in other countries.
Before the brides big day, she’ll attend a Mehendi ceremony. This is where family and friends gather to apply the beautifully intricate henna. Tradition says that the deepness of the colour of the henna determines the bond between husband and wife and how well the bride will get along with her mother-in-law. Hidden within the henna are the names of the happy couple and it’s often painted on the palms, hands, forearms and legs.
In some regions, the women will wear a saree (long drape) for her wedding and in others, she wears a lehenga (a long skirt). It’s common for the bride to be dressed in red or another bright colour and her clothing is stitched with an outstanding design.
Interestingly, the marriage becomes official when the bride and groom walk around the fire four times as verses are chanted, and the couple is tied together. The husband and wife then race back to their seats, as the one who sits first is said to be the most dominant.