Something old. Something new. Something burrowed, and someone stealing your shoes? Weddings are a great way to incorporate a unique tradition into well-worn rituals. We scour the globe to highlight 10 wedding customs that you’ve probably never heard of. From the romantic to the unexpected, these global traditions are filled with celebration and intrigue.
At the end of the wedding ceremony, the bride and groom releases two doves (male and female) as a symbol of harmony and peace. Another rite involves the groom handing 13 coins, known as arras, to the bride. This symbolizes the groom’s ability to financially provide.
This tradition is definitely on the messy side. Called the “Blackening of the Bride,” both the bride and groom are thrown trash in the hope that if they can handle the gross act, their marriage will be able to survive anything.
The traditional wedding cake is known as the croquembouche and it features choux pastry puffs filled with cream and held together with spun sugar and caramel. The groom is expected to use a sword to cut the top of the croquembouche.
On this Caribbean island, bridal guests are expected to pin money on the bride in exchange for a dance with her. The tradition also exists in some form in Puerto Rico and Mexico.
The night before the ceremony, the bride’s side of the family will hire a professional Mehndi artist to create intricate henna designs on hands and feet. Another fun custom includes the groom’s shoes being stolen during the wedding.
For the Javanese, the three-day celebration includes the Siraman where a bowl is filled with flowers and water. The water is then poured over the hands and feet of the bride-to-be and groom, three times each.
In the Southwest province of Sichuan, some brides practice the tradition called Zuo Tang (Sitting in the hall). A month before the wedding, the bride will cry daily for an hour. Ten days later she is joined by her mother, and ten days after that, her grandmother joins her. Soon, her sisters and aunts may participate in the sobbing affair.
Besides the unique ritual of having both the bride and groom walk down the aisle together, it is also expected that the female bridal guests are to kiss the groom every time the bride walks out of the room during the reception.
A traditional Shinto wedding is a beautiful ceremony usually held in a shrine and led by a Shinto priest. The bride wears a Japanese wedding kimono with a white headdress. After offering prayers to the gods, the couple partakes in San-san-kudo where the couple takes turn sipping from three different cup sizes.
Sugarcoated almonds, or confetti as they are called, play a key role in Italian weddings. The candy is often given as wedding gift souvenirs but it is also a tradition for a tray to be created of confetti in lucky colors—white for the wedding, pink and blue for possible children, and silver and gold to mark prosperity.