25 Enchanting Wedding Traditions From Around The World - Eternity

25 Enchanting Wedding Traditions From Around The World

1st May 2024

Love knows no borders or boundaries, and at Eternity, we celebrate every kind of ceremony. From the ceremonies to the rituals, each wedding tradition varies around the world; with customs that reflect the history, values & beliefs of each culture.

From wearing something old, new, borrowed & blue, to adorning your hands with red bangles ‘the choora’ placed on you by your maternal uncles; keep reading to learn about 25 of the most enchanting wedding traditions around the world.

1. German wedding tradition: Polterabend

Derived from the German words ‘Polten’ & ‘Abend’ which translate to ‘making a lot of noise and evening; the Polterabend is an exciting party that takes place the night before the wedding. The saying is ‘Scherben bringen Glück’ – shards bring good luck; which is why friends & family gather round to smash porcelain, clay pots and other forms of pottery.

The couple-to-be then spend the night, with brooms in hand, to clear up the mess! It symbolises their ability to work as a team throughout their married life. 

2. Irish wedding tradition: Handfasting

A ceremony that dates back over 2,000 years is the Handfasting ceremony in Ireland: an ancient Celtic tradition which symbolises the couple being bound together.

The chord itself is either a ribbon, robe or any long piece of fabric which is tied together by their celebrant or chosen friends & family members. As the knots are tied, couples can choose to recite their vows to one another.

After the ceremony, it’s a beautiful memorabilia and symbol of your union.

3. South Asian wedding tradition: Joota Chupai

‘Joota Chupai’ which literally translates to ‘hiding shoes’ is a beautiful custom that takes place at Indian wedding ceremonies; to highlight the love, acceptance and joy that both families which to continue throughout the new union.

Followed in Hindu & Muslim wedding ceremonies, it refers to the bride’s side of the family traditionally stealing shoes from the groom’s side of the family for ransom. The fun custom can lead to minutes (or hours!) of negotiation for the groom to receive his shoes back and pay up some money to the sisters & friends of the bride.

With a higher rate of beautiful LGBTQ+ weddings taking place over the world, the tradition is now up to the couple to ensure whose shoes are stolen (or if both should pay up!).

4. Norwegian wedding tradition: Crown

A beautiful Norwegian wedding tradition involves the bride wearing a delicate silver & gold crown, with charms dangling around the edges. It is said that the combination of metals and the sound that the dangles create are there to deflect evil spirits on the wedding day.

5. Russian wedding ceremony: Bread & salt ceremony

Hospitality is the utmost priority for Russian weddings. In Ancient Russian times, bread & salt symbolised prosperity, healthy & friendship. The tradition involves the families greeting their wedding guests with bread and salt; and sometimes even choosing to gift it to their loved ones.

6. Venezuelan wedding tradition: Leave the reception early

If you’re not one for late nights, then you may want to adopt this adorable Venezuelan wedding tradition. It’s good luck for the newlywed couple to leave their wedding reception early and sneak out before the event comes to an end.

7. Chinese wedding tradition: Hair combing ceremony

Performed the night before the wedding to symbolise the couple entering a new stage of adulthood, both partners will shower with pomelo leaves in their respective homes; to warn off bad spirits and change into new red clothes. 

Both parties will sit in front of a mirror or facing the inside of the house, whilst parents or guardians prepare red taper candles, scissors, incense, a wooden ruler, a comb and red yarn with cyprus leaves.

The couples hair is then combed through 4 times with the lit incense and candles to recite the following: 

May the first comb bring you a long-lasting union
May the second comb bring you a harmonious union
May the third comb bring you an abundance of descendants
May the fourth comb bring you prosperity and longevity

8. Philippines wedding tradition: Wedding doves

A beautiful tradition in the Philippines incorporates a pair of doves (usually male and female) that are released after the wedding ceremony to symbolise peace and harmony. They are often placed in a box which is opened by the wedding couple pulling on a cord together. 

Some even try to catch the doves after they are released, to keep them as pets!

9. Korean wedding tradition: Wedding ducks

On the note of animals, another unique wedding tradition in Korea involves wedding ducks. Back in the day, live ducks or geese were often gifted to the bride’s family to express the desire and intent to marry.

Nowadays wooden ducks are carved, by a close family or friend wishing good fortune on the couple, and wrapped in a colourful cloth before the wedding ceremony. The ducks are often tied with cloth around the mouths, which reminds couples to remain patient throughout their relationship – think before you speak!

Additionally, it is often said in a couples home that when the ducks face towards each other, the couple are working harmoniously; yet when they face apart, it is to symbolise some sort of a tiff.

10. Caucasian wedding tradition: Throwing the bouquet

A fun & commonly known wedding tradition is to ‘throw the bouquet’ after the wedding. The bride asks all her unmarried friends & family to line up behind her, as she throws the bouquet. It is said that whoever catches it is next in line to wed!

11. Turkish wedding tradition: Next in line

Similar to the ‘throwing the bouquet’ tradition is the Turkish wedding tradition where a bride’s unmarried friends all sign her wedding shoe. It is said that the first name to blur / rub off is next in line to marry!

12. South Asian wedding tradition: Kaleerey

Similar to the above, once again, the South Asian wedding tradition surrounds ‘kaleerey’. These are charms that are tied onto the red bangles ‘the choora’ worn by Hindu brides. The bride’s unmarried friends all sit in front of her as she shakes the bangles above their heads. The one whose heads the kaleerey land on are next in line.

13. Irish wedding tradition: One foot on the floor at all times

A unique wedding tradition in Ireland surrounds the bride keeping one foot on the floor at all times during her first dance: if she lifts both feet up at any point it is said to bring evil fairies.

14. German wedding tradition: Log sawing ceremony

One thing we’ve learnt is that German wedding traditions are all about teamwork! One playful wedding ceremony is the ‘log sawing ceremony’ after the wedding; where the couple must saw a log together to showcase their teamwork in married life.

14. Italian wedding tradition: Rice throwing ceremony

In traditional Italian wedding ceremonies, rice is often thrown at the couple as they leave their wedding. This is said to shower ‘fertility and luck’ onto the couple. In some places around Italy, wheat is also thrown to symbolise wealth in married life.

14. Romanian wedding tradition: Bride-napping!

Similar to the negotiations that take place in the ‘joota chupai’ for South Asians, the Romanians have a tradition called ‘bride-napping’!

Usually around midnight, the families will steal the bride away to an undisclosed location. The partner must then negotiate and agree a ‘ransom’ (usually a few bottles of wine!) to get their wife back. A fun and wholesome tradition.

15. South Korean wedding tradition: Falaka

The South Korean ‘Falaka’ ceremony is traditionally carried out by the groom’s friends. They tie him down and playfully hit his feet with sticks or fish; as they ask him many trivia questions.

This is said to strengthen his memory & quick wit – to prepare him for marriage!

16. Russian wedding tradition: Karavay

To determine who ‘wears the pants in the relationship’, a fun Russian wedding tradition involves the couple taking a bite out of a sweetbread interlocked with wheat and interlocking rings – for prosperity and faithfulness – called the Karavay. The one to take the biggest bite is the one who rules!

17. South Asian wedding tradition: Sitting down first

A common South Asian tradition, most commonly seen in Gujurati wedding ceremonies, refers to the happy couple standing around the mandap after their wedding. When the priest says so, the first one to sit on the chairs is said to ‘wear the pants’ – similar to the Karavay!

18. Spanish wedding tradition: Cutting the tie

To add some more funds to the honeymoon pot, a harmless Spanish wedding tradition involves the groom’s friends cutting up his tie post-marriage. They then ‘sell’ the pieces of the tie to wedding guests – and sometimes do the same with the bride’s garter!

20. Turkish wedding tradition: Planting the flag

An enchanting Turkish wedding tradition, often for good luck, involves the groom and his friends to plant a flag in the highest point of the newlyweds home; to kick off the wedding celebrations.

This takes place to traditional Turkish music, chosen by his friends.

21. Chinese wedding tradition: Tea ceremony

A beautiful Chinese tea ceremony often takes place before the official wedding ceremony; to symbolise the respect, gratitude and appreciation for their parents & grandparents love and support whilst raising them.

The couple kneels in front of each family member and asks them to “please drink tea”.

A red tea set with a double happiness symbol is used to symbolise prosperity and luck. They are then offered a red envelope filled with cash in return; as they begin their journey into their new union.

23. Welsh wedding tradition: Planting the myrtle

A Welsh bride always thinks of her bridesmaids! In his bridal bouquet, the bride includes myrtle which symbolises love; she then cuts it off and gives it to each of her bridesmaids who plant it in their gardens. The one that blooms first is the next to wed.

Kate Middleton did this in her bridal bouquet too!

24. South Asian wedding tradition: Haldi

A tradition which has many unique names in the South Asian culture is the haldi ceremony: which you can read more about here.

The ceremony involves the couple being lathered in a turmeric, oil, milk and sandalwood paste to remove evil eye and provide an inner glow for the happy couple.

25. Italian wedding tradition: La Seranata

Last, but definitely not least: the beautiful Italian wedding tradition of La Seranata is in place to literally ‘serenade’ the bride before the wedding.

The groom, with 50 of his closest friends, shows up in front of the bride’s home and serenades her (often with a live band!) with all their favourite love songs.