Wedding traditions differ from country to country and although some may be present in the whole area or even continent, some can indeed seem quite unusual. However, there are always some traditions that have a deeper, symbolical meaning that transcends religions, borders and even continents. These traditions are fun, romantic and easy to incorporate in almost any wedding theme. So, here they are and, if you like them, feel free to use them for your wedding.
1. Something Old, Something New…
…something borrowed something blue and a gold sixpence in her shoe. Actually, there’s more to it than just a good rhyme – this interesting tradition that is still being followed in many countries dates back to Victorian times. But why borrowed and why blue, why that gold sixpence should be in your shoe? Well, a new thing should symbolize a new beginning, an object you borrow must come from a happily married woman so you would be happy too, blue is the symbol of love while old represents your old life and your family. Sixpence, of course, stands for wealth of both financial and emotional nature. But, let me tell you an interesting variation of “sixpence in a shoe” tradition that’s very popular in villages in my country – a bride is supposed to pretend her shoe is too big and the best man is supposed to put money into the shoe until she says the shoe finally fits.
2. Money Dance
Some say money dance is rude, tacky and designed for lower classes, some love it and think of it as a perfect way to spend more time with their guests and collect some extra cash for the honeymoon. But, what exactly a money dance presumes? Well, the modern version of it is the one that lets the male guests dance with the bride and the female guests dance with the groom– each guest is supposed to pin some money onto the bride’s or groom’s clothes or put it in the basket/scarf/bag brought out for this purpose. Many cultures support the tradition of giving money to the newlyweds, so I honestly see no reason why not to go with it.
3. Leis VS. Vows
When I think of beach weddings my first association are leis! Probably because a lot of couples chooses them. Can’t blame them, though, they do go great with the beach wedding theme! But, did you know that if you exchange leis, you don’t have to exchange verbal vows? In Hawaiian culture, leis stand for love and respect, which is, basically, everything you would want your vows to reflect, right? By exchanging leis, the newlyweds express their love, respect and devotion and there is no need to say or write anything more. Unless you want to, of course!
4. Unity, Crowns and the Number 3
Love makes two souls become one, marriage gives that love deeper acknowledgement and a marriage ceremony is there to celebrate, bless and symbolically represent the process of joining those two people. Now I’m not what you could call a deeply religious one but still, I am a Christian orthodox and I love, respect and know my traditions well. So let me share one I especially like and look forward to – crowning, unity wrap and doing everything three times. During the traditional, church marriage, the crowns are spanned three times before the priest puts them on the couple’s heads. Newlyweds are wrapped with the single silk or satin scarf or a rope and they should make three circles around the altar or the centre of the church. The priest blesses them three times and pretty much everything is done three times.
5. Shake It, Brake It!
It may sound strange or even a bit violent but breaking dishes is actually a very popular wedding tradition. In Russia all glasses hit the floor after the toast to the bride and groom and, if they break, that’s a sign of good luck. Greeks used to break plates for the same reason but, since this tradition is very dangerous, today, plates are replaced with paper napkins. Hurray for that –With all due respect to Greek culture and all those wonderful traditions, I certainly wouldn’t like for my “Big Fat Greek Wedding” to turn into a bloody massacre. Especially because the bride is known for her clumsiness and the ability to get hurt even when there is no sharp objects in sight!
6. White Doves
They symbolize love and peace so you can incorporate them in both casual and formal weddings. I can easily picture a couple releasing the doves on the beach, in the garden and in front of the church. But, can anybody tell me who was the first one to start this tradition? Seriously, I have no idea and I would really like to know.
7. Who’s Next?
A bride throws her bouquet and the bridesmaid that catches it will be the next one to marry. But, what about the groom and the groomsmen? In some countries, a groom throws the brides garter to determine which one of his groomsmen will be the next one to tie the knot, right? However, in Estonia groomsmen are supposed to spin the groom and then leave him to try to fight the dizziness while putting his hat onto the nearest guy’s head. No pushing, shoving and taking advantage of the ability to jump very high – Whoever get’s the hat will marry next!
8. Sugar, Fruits and Herbs
An old Greek tradition says a bride should have a lump of sugar with her on the wedding day. Some also suggest a lump of sugar could be replaced with pomegranate because all those little pieces packed inside symbolize wealth and fertility. You can also add aromatic herbs like sage and ivy to your bouquet because, in Victorian times, these herbs were used to scare away evil spirits and provide a happy undisturbed wedding day as well as safe, jinx-free marriage.
These are my fav wedding traditions – What are yours? Which traditions are being honored in your country and what do you think of them? I like some of our traditions but I have to agree that some are outdated and kind of tacky. Like negotiating a price for the bride! I mean, come on! A price! Sorry but I’m not an eBay auction!
Top Photo Credit: irwandy