“Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something blue.”
Brides around the world remember this saying when they prepare for their weddings. From sentimental items that are borrowed from a family member or friend to modern, personalized items that perfectly match the bride’s personality, these are the four factors that remain constant with brides everywhere. However, other wedding traditions differ depending on the cultural background of the wedding family. Here’s a closer look into the different wedding traditions around the globe that go a step further than just the white dress.
Chinese brides typically have three wedding dresses instead of just one white dress. The first dress is usually an embroidered frock, that is often red, which symbolizes strength and luck in the Chinese culture. The second wardrobe change involves a more traditional white ballgown style dress like you would see here in the USA. The third and final dress is for the wedding reception and is typically a cocktail dress or gown in the bride’s favorite color.
It is a tradition in the Indian culture to use henna-dye tattoos, known as mehndi, to elaborately decorate the bride’s hands, arms, and feet with intricate designs before the wedding. Applying these mehndi tattoos can take hours at a time and will typically last a few weeks before wearing off. They often have celebrations before the wedding where the bride and her friends apply each other’s mehndi designs, making it a fun get-together and prep fest.
“Jumping the broom” is a wedding tradition that first originated in Rome, but is now often used by a number of cultures. This is the act of the bride and groom holding hands, and just as it sounds, physically jumping over a broom. This motion symbolizes “out with the old, in with the new,” or a way of showing the beginning of the couple’s new journey together. This is also an extremely popular tradition in African American weddings.
Jewish weddings are know for the breaking of the glass. This is the physical act of the bride and groom stomping on a piece of glass after they recite their vows. Don’t be alarmed if you witness this ceremonial act one day! After the glass breaks, the guests usually yell out “Mazel Tov!” which means, “Good luck!” This is a very important tradition in the Jewish community.
In the United Kingdom, it is common for the bridesmaids to be very young, rather than the typical bridesmaid being of about the same age as the bride. Kate Middleton, in her 2011 royal wedding, had her husband’s goddaughter, age 3, and Camilla Parker Bowles’s granddaughter, also age 3, walk down the aisle with Kate’s sister Pippa Middleton. Of course, this is a very common tradition in all of the United Kingdom, not just royal weddings.
The Peruvian Cake Pull is a fun twist on a commonly known US tradition. Instead of tossing the bride’s bouquet of flowers, the bride and her bridesmaids gather around the wedding cake before it is cut. Embedded into the cake are several different ribbons sticking out, one with a fake ring attached to the end. On the count of three, each woman pulls a ribbon out of the cake. The woman who pulls the ribbon with the ring on it is said to be the next lucky girl getting married next.
Lebanese-style weddings include a celebration known as a “zaffe.” Friends, family, and sometimes musicians gather around the groom’s door and begin dancing, shouting, singing, and celebrating the couple’s big day. The crowd then escorts the groom to the bride’s house. The zaffe is often accompanied by flower petal showers, drum playing, and dancing.
In Russia, the most common wedding tradition is for the groom to have to “work” to see the bride on their wedding day. The groom will show up at the bride’s house and ask for the bride. The bride’s friends who answer the door create different obstacles, such as riddles or silly tests, for the groom to complete in order to ask the bride for her hand in marriage.
After Pakistani weddings, the bride and groom return to their homes for “the showing of the face.” A shawl is held over the couple’s heads while the bride removes her wedding veil. As the couple is lost in a loving gaze, the bride’s relatives capture the groom’s shoes and hold them for ransom. The groom must pay them in order to get his shoes back.
In the United States, it is a common tradition for a bride to wear a pearly white dress, which symbolizes purity of the heart. It is also considered bad luck if the groom sees the bride on the day of the wedding before she walks down the aisle, however there is a growing trend in couples seeing each prior to the ceremony. At the wedding reception, the bride tosses her bouquet of flowers into a group of women. The woman who catches the bouquet is considered to be the next lucky girl who will be married.
We hope you found these wedding traditions from around the world as interesting as we did! It is always fun to learn something new and in the wedding industry, trends are constantly changing. In order to stay up to date with wedding trends and styles, be sure to check out our blog each week for new wedding posts!