We’ve collected 10 of the most elegant wedding traditions from around the world that are easy to incorporate into your nuptials. Check out these memorable international wedding traditions to bring a unique flair to your big day.
1. China: Yes To The Dress(es)
In China, a bride wears a form-fitting gown with elaborate embroidery to her ceremony, traditionally called a qipao or cheongsam. Before the reception, she changes into a more Western style gown, usually a princess style ball gown. Toward the end of the evening, she dons a cocktail dress, for a total of three wardrobe changes. This isn’t too far removed from the common American practice of wearing a different dress for the ceremony and reception, and the impact is unforgettable.
2. Wales: Taking Root
Included in a Welsh bride’s bouquet is myrtle, a bloom that symbolizes love. She gives a cutting to each of her bridesmaids as a gift. According to tradition, if the bridesmaid plants the cutting and it blooms, she will be the next bride.
3. Russia: More Than You Can Chew
Newlywed couples in Russia share a hunk of sweet bread decorated with symbols of wheat and rings, called a karavaya. Whoever takes the biggest bite out of the bread without using their hands is considered the new head of the family. Open wide!
4. Romania: Ransom Demands
Friends and family “kidnap” the bride, taking her to a secret location and then demanding a “ransom” from the groom. This ransom can be anything, but the intent seems to be to test the limits of what the groom would do to get his bride back. The “kidnappers” might ask for a few bottles of alcohol, or they might demand he sing and dance and front of the entire party.
5. Thailand: Honoring Ancestors
Many Thai wedding traditions center around Buddhism. In Buddhist tradition, the bride and groom come together the night before the wedding to honor the bride’s ancestors. Many American couples replicate this tradition by including photos of lost loved ones in the ceremony or reception decor.
6. India: Henna Art
Henna tattooing has become increasingly popular in the States, but the tradition began in India. Before an Indian wedding, the bride and her family and friends gather to have their skin painted with mehendi, a paint made from henna. The intricate designs stain the skin for about two weeks and make a memorable impression on wedding guests.
7. Russia: Live Like Royalty
Russia only recognizes civil ceremonies as legally binding, but religious ceremonies do take place to augment the civil ones. Traditional Orthodox Russian couples stand on a special carpet to recite their vows, and afterward they are both crowned King and Queen for the day.
8. Australia: Solid As Rocks
Australian wedding guests are each given a small stone to hold during the ceremony. Afterward, they place the stones into a “unity bowl” which the couple will take home with them and keep on display to remind them of the love and support of their guests. You could even have guests write well-wishes on their stones before they drop them in the bowl.
9. Germany: Sawing Logs
This one may not fit with most definitions of “elegant,” but it would certainly be memorable. German couples saw a log in half together in front of their guests. The act is said to demonstrate the couple’s ability to work together and overcome any obstacles that may arise. It’s not as romantic as releasing doves, but it would definitely unforgettable!
10. Peru: Charmed, I’m Sure
Peruvian wedding cakes are usually hiding little charms inside each piece, attached to ribbon so that the charm can be removed before eating the cake. One of the charms is a fake wedding ring, and the guest who is served the slice containing the ring is said to be the next to be married.
About author: Riya is an inspired writer. She loves traveling, cooking, crafting and yes! sipping a good coffee. Follow her on Twitter.